To sum up Sunday’s game for the Bears with one word, that would be – brutal.
A match up with NFC foe Tampa Bay came after the Bears had 12 days between their last game, a win over Minnesota and a bye week. The 4-5 Buccaneers soundly beat the Bears, 36-10 despite two fill-ins along their offensive line.
The Bears had to use two replacements on their offensive line as well with right guard Kyle Long (ankle) being carted off and right tackle Bobby Massie (concussion) both going down in the first half.
Jay Cutler looked poised on the opening drive, but the Bears punted it away. After that seven-play drive, Cutler had back-to-back picks.
The first came on a third down pass that was short for Alshon Jeffery. Just over a minute later, the Bears ran play action and Cutler threw off his back foot to Logan Paulsen, instead former teammate Chris Conte picked him off and went into the endzone for a 20-yard touchdown.
Connor Barth booted a 54-yard field goal on their next drive, but two straight fumbles, one in the redzone by Cutler and the other a Jordan Howard mishap, things unraveled further.
The Bucs led 17-10 at the half with 14 points coming off turnovers. Two more points came in the second half on a fumble by Cutler that rolled out of the back of the endzone for a safety.
Yeah, it is hard to even remember all the bad things the Bears did in this game. This was supposed to be a match up on paper that boded well for the Bears. The Bucs came in allowing 1,000 plus yards over their last two games and seemed to be dysfunctional.
All the talk of momentum following the upset win over Minnesota on Halloween night are gone again. At 2-7, the Bears have seven more games. There isn’t much to prove anymore. The offense is poor and undisciplined and the untalented secondary is simply too easy to beat.
Tracy Porter is not a No. 1 cornerback at his age. Cre’Von LeBlanc is not a starter and after that the Bears have nearly nothing to be proud about at cornerback. Kyle Fuller and Deiondre’ Hall are both out and those are two guys that we need to see more of on the field.
Leonard Floyd showed flashes but struggled to wrap on apparent sacks. He had one sack while Pernell McPhee, Willie Young and Eddie Goldman did the same.
Offensively, Cutler had an afternoon to forget. For the haters, they’ll say this is the old Jay that we’ve always known. For Cutler, this is just another game that will hurt his chances of a return next season.
His throws were short much too often. With the exception of the 50-yard touchdown to Cameron Meredith on a hail mary heave before the half, Cutler completed 15-of-29 passes for 132 yards, two interceptions and two fumbles.
The NFC may be weak, but the Bears are not a team that is even close to ready to turn things around. They’ve shown some glimpses here and there. But this young team plays down to lesser opponents and the lack of discipline is concerning.
The coaches can only do so much, but at the same time, the team plays to their tone. The tone right now is confusing with John Fox at the helm in Year 2.
Too many issues are happening right now. The Bears are healthier than ever. Obviously, the secondary is thin and was before the season started so that’s a glaring issue and Cutler is playing badly. But the excuses are over. I’ve defended Cutler and many other Bears a lot, but I can’t anymore.
From here on and out, I get it if Bears fans don’t care about this team. But to find out who is going to be future assets is important.
General manager Ryan Pace has to be graded on his two draft classes and his free agent additions. Yet another off-season is on the horizon and this could be the most prevalent draft for Pace and his staff.
Throw this game tape out and never look back. Jordan Howard had 100 rushing yards on 16 carries and the top pass rushers (McPhee, Young, Floyd and Goldman) combined for four sacks. But this is one that should never be watched again, by fans or players.
It’s time to assess, assess and assess some more as the Bears continue to rebuild and try to figure this mess out.