Gameday notebook: Chicago Bears rammed on the road

Gameday notebook: Chicago Bears rammed on the road
Chicago Tribune

The Chicago Bears fall to 6-5 on the season following a 42-21 battering in St. Louis. And was it ever ugly …

The Bears owned time of possession by a 60% margin and out gained the Rams by 18 total yards of offense. But Chicago’s defense was obliterated in the run game and gave up an average of 8.9 yards per carry on each of 29 carries.

Think about that.

Despite another solid performance from their backup quarterback, Josh McCown, who went 36 of 47 (77%) for 352 yards, two TDs and one INT for a 102.4 passer rate, the Bears’ defense couldn’t keep it within reach and gave up three rushing touchdowns to three different ball carriers, in addition to one passing TD.

The offense gave up one defensive TD.

The Bears were down 14 to zip before three minutes of play were even up, and this baby seemed doomed from the start.

Truth be told, it was only a matter of time before a defense missing four Pro Bowlers (Briggs, Tillman, Peppers, Melton), in addition to starters in D.J. Williams, Kelvin Hayden and Nate Collins, imploded.

I get that every team in the league has to deal with injuries, and fans should expect a team to be built to withstand it to one degree or another. But it’s hard for any one unit on a team to withstand the kind of barrage Chicago has had to deal with this season — particularly on defense — and it makes their effort up to this point commendable.

None of those defensive struggles, however, account for the 10 penalties — most of which came on offense — for a loss of 84 total yards. Wow …

Having said that, and because this was such a stinker, I’m going to move right in to my notes and observations. There’s a lot to cover!

  • Khaseem Greene is not ready and has a lot to learn. We knew this, mind you. I’m not exploring uncharted territory here, but he was lost vs. the run in this one to a notable degree. Hence the note.
  • The battered Bears’ D began its implosion with the over-pursuit of Tavon Austin less than three minutes in, leaving Chris Conte to make the tackle (LB Greene could have been in on it, too, but it was Conte’s ultimate responsibility). But the Rams did a nice job blocking downfield, and Conte found himself contained at the tail end of his poor pursuit angle.
  • Speaking of Conte: lay off, Bears fans. The guy has played some bad football, but I’m talking death-threat type stuff being spewed on Twitter. It’s football … relax.
  • Remaining on the Conte train for a sec., we are seeing teams specifically pick on him and scheme to take advantage of his struggles thus far — the ultimate indictment. Okay, moving on from Chris …
  • Just a suggestion to Marc Trestman: You probably want to stop deferring to the second half now.
  • Despite all the issues, the Bears’ offense continued to play respectable. Most notable for me being their ability to march nearly the length of the field early in the game to put the score at 14-7. We saw some brilliant play calling on that drive.
  • All the characteristics of a second-string defense showed up Sunday, including poor gap discipline and backside contain that saw Zac Stacy to a 35-yard gain early in the first.
  • The Bears’ linebacking corps — led by Jon Bostic, mind you — looked frickin’ lost! (Sorry for the vagueness. In-game note, and all … )
  • Okay, time to talk about the Kyle Long incident that the NFL may fine him for later this week. I’m still not even sure of the chain of events that caused the skirmish, but Long found himself apparently so keyed up that he attempted to kick a Rams’ defender while he was down on the turf. He’s lucky his big brother Chris — in addition to other teammates — pulled him away before the kick could land. I think if it had, he would have been ejected from the game. Not smart to let your emotions get the better of you, Kyle, but if I’m being honest, I get it. Sometimes you act stupid in the heat of the moment. Just don’t make it a habit, and we’ll be okay.
  • Has every modern NFL playbook abandoned the QB sneak??? Just sayin.
  • AND … wait , that’s it? Oh yeah, I gave up taking notes somewhere early in the third quarter. Oh well. On to the next!
  • You can get the full gamebook here.

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