Bears' Unraveling Season Is A Struggle For Everyone Involved

Bears' Unraveling Season Is A Struggle For Everyone Involved
Martellus Bennett runs off the field after losing to the Patriots. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune)

It's hard to understand how the 2014 Bears are currently sitting at 3-5 heading into their Week 9 bye.

Fresh off their embarassing 51-23 loss to Tom Brady and the Patriots things look very bleak for this Bears team at the moment.

Prior to the season, the expectations were very high in Marc Trestman's second season running the show in Chicago. The Bears' offense scored the second most points behind only Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos a season ago.

Through eight games this season, the offense is greatly underachieving with Jay Cutler combining for 12 turnovers (8 INT's, 4 lost fumbles). Also, the offensive line health has been an issue week in and week out which hasn't the cause.

Cutler's been sacked 20 times and that number could increase as the season progresses with the news Monday that left guard Matt Slauson is out for the season with torn right pectoral.

Cutler is under the microscope after signing a seven-year, $126.7 million deal with $50 million guaranteed this off-season. Let's just say tha the entire offense is failing to get any sort of consistency going each week.

The Bears haven't scored in the first quarter in any of their last three games, hence the 1-2 record. Currently, the Bears' offense ranks 20th in the NFL in points per game (22.5) slightly ahead of mediocre offenses like Buffalo, the New York Giants and Washington.

Trestman stood by his starting quarterback alongside general manager Phil Emery in Monday's press conference with the media. However as much as Trestman knows how talented Cutler is he also realizes he needs to improve much like the rest of his offense.

"His leadership has been at a premium through all of this on a consistent basis throughout the season," Trestman said. "We have to help him more in terms of playing better complementary football, giving him more of a run game, and that goes to complementary football again. That means everybody working together to get that done. But I think there are a lot of positives here, and we're going to try and negate some of the negatives that we do see, that we want him to get better at."

According to Kevin Fishbain of Shaw Media, the Bears have finished 8-8 or better following a 3-5 (or worse) start only two times (1979, 1983). That's since the NFL expanded to a 16 game season in 1978.

Yes, the season may seem doomed for the Bears with eight regular season games left, but this is an important time for guys to step up and prove themselves.

The offense still has all the talent in the world to turn things around. Trestman's play-calling has been too cute or too predictable much too often this season.

That needs to change especially on first-down, so the Bears can work their way into more manageable second and third downs.

The only things resembling consistency on the offense has been Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett. Forte has totaled 100 yards from scrimmage in six of eight games, with six touchdowns and an absurd 58 receptions leading the entire league.

Bennett has 47 receptions for 517 yards and a career-high five touchdown grabs. He's hauled in 50 or more receiving yards in all but two games.

The most stable member of the offense has been right guard Kyle Long, whose played every snap (536) to this point. Long is the only guy on the Bears to do so.

Second-year receiver Marquess Wilson is eligible to return in Week 10 against Green Bay. His presence as the No. 3 receiver would be a big lift for the Bears' offense.

The defense has been hit hard with injuries at linebacker and it has shown as of late. Lance Briggs and Jon Bostic are expected to return after the bye and that should help some middle of the field struggles a bit.

The secondary was thin coming into the season and now it's even thinner. Al Louis-Jean was thrown into Sunday's game at cornerback with Kyle Fuller (hip) out. Louis-Jean was beat often by Brandon LaFell.

The defensive line additions haven't all panned out at this point. Jared Allen has been fine in run support, but in terms of getting after the quarterback, he has just 1.5 sacks on the season. Willie Young, who was the cheapest of the off-season signings has a team-high seven sacks.

Lamarr Houston's ridiculous injury on his first sack of the season put him on injured reserve. He tore his ACL on a second-half sack celebration while the Bears trailed by 25 points.

I've applauded Emery in the past for his signings and draft picks, but right now Houston is looking like a complete waste of cap space. Houston signed a five-year, $35 million deal with $15 million guaranteed on the first day of free agency this past May.

"We've let the fans down," Emery said on Monday. "We're responsible for our current record, and that starts with me."

Can the Bears turn their season around?

The wise one would say no, but you never know what can happen in the NFL these days.

The least they can do is take this time off to regroup and take the second half of the season more seriously.

Faster starts in games, better decision making and more consistency from week to week has to be the three main areas the Bears should be looking to improve as they assess all things football this week.

Final Thought

You can blame Cutler. You can blame Trestman. You can blame Emery and you can also blame Mel Tucker. But right now it's a total team demise as all three phases are not doing each other any favors.

Thoughts on the Bears chances at 3-5?

 

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