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Bears write new sequel to Dumb and Dumber in loss to Packers

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Brad Palmer

Covered sports for 40 years at WGN, WBBM Newradio 78, and WLS-TV (CH 7)

The Bears put up a pretty good fight against Green Bay (9-4). They were 2-for-2 in the red zone and held the Packers to 13 points in their three trips inside the red zone.

But that wasn't enough to overcome 13 penalties for 109 yards, a lot of miscommunication on pass routes, and another major gaffe by Lovie Smith.

With the Bears trailing 21-14 in the fourth quarter, Greg Olsen caught a 25-yard pass on third-and-22, only to drop it when he hit the ground. Instead of challenging the call, Lovie called timeout and then decided to drop the challenge flag, costing the Bears a second timeout. It made no sense, but then we've come to expect that from this organization.

It looked like the Bears would get blown out in the first quarter. Nobody layed a hand on Ryan Grant as he ran for 62 yards on the Packers first play from scrimmage.

On their next possession, Greg Jennings caught a pass in the end zone and took three steps before Charles Tillman punched it out. The Bears got a break when the officials ruled it incomplete. The Packers had to settle for a field goal.

The first of Jay Cutler's interceptions resulted in another field goal and may have been the result of a busted pass route. 

But then Cutler showed his stuff, completing three consective passes on third-and-long for gains of 28, 20, and 19 yards, the last one to Johnny Knox for a touchdown.

The Bears took a 14-13 lead in the third quarter on a 10-yard TD pass to Devin Aromashodu. He started in place of the injured Devin Hester and caught 8 passes for 76 yards. That's one more catch than he had in his career. So where's he been? Earl Bennett had one catch and Greg Olsen just two.

The Packers winning drive came on the heels of a Nick Collins interception. Cutler threw down the middle, but Johnny Knox stopped instead of cutting to the middle. Knox and Cutler were on different pages on the next possession, as well. Cutler passed one way, Knox cut the other way. It's a little late in the season for that kind of miscommunication.

Once again, the Bears had no running game (59 yards on 17 running plays). So, it was Cutler or bust against the Packer's 4th-ranked pass defense (5.4 yds/pass play) and other than Aromashodu and Knox (5 catches for 83 yards), he didn't have much support. Cutler averaged just 5.0 yards/pass play, well below the league average of 6.2. Aaron Rodgers averaged 6.5 yards a pass play. Teams that win that stat have won 79% of the time this season.

Ron Turner showed me something when called a shotgun formation on third-and-one with the Bears nursing a one-point lead late in the third quarter. It was the percentage move. The Bears convert 75% on third and less than two-to-go; 57% when they run it. The pass play went for a first down. But when the Bears faced another third-and-one a few plays later, Turner ran Kahlil Bell. He got stuffed. Nothing like sticking with what works.

This marked the first time in Lovie's tenure that he has gotten swept by Green Bay. Next week doesn't bode very well for the Bears either. They play at Baltimore. Not only have the Bears (5-8) not beaten a team with a winning record, they are 7 and 34 on the road in December. That dates back to 1987.

 

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3 Comments

Big Bob in SC said:

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The word you should have used is spelled "gaffe".

Brad Palmer said:

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Thanks for the correction, Bob. That's a "gaffe" on me.

ktsmith2557 said:

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Dear Chicago Bears..

You have three games left. Please take each one in-stride and focus on the big picture. That is; go onto the field, lay down and die!
I apologize for giving away your game plan in-advance. But, no majors changes are in store for you guys or for your "leadership."
And, no matter how you improve your draft position, your leaders will either pick losers, trade-away performers or fail to develop talent. (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?)
At any rate, enjoy (watching) the upcoming playoff season. There really are professional teams out there and you'll get to see many old friends like Benson, Berrian, Jones, et al. Pray only that the Rams, Lions and Browns fail to wake up. Oh yeah, beware of any long term contract offers from Bears - you don't want to miss an opportunity to move ahead in your career!

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