Falling Just Short
Do I sound like a broken record yet?
This is not the first time the Chicago Bears have fallen just short this season. Since the Week 6 loss against Detroit, the Bears total point difference is only 17 points in all their losses combined.
What is that credited to?
Well, it depends on the week. Against Detroit, Minnesota and San Francisco, it was the defense that coughed up the loss. In Week 11 against Denver, and for this last loss against Washington you could blame the offense for not putting up enough points when it was called upon.
Even if you wanted to, you could switch all those combinations around to whatever suits your fancy. Both sides of the ball had opportunities slip by them in all these losses to make a difference in the game. Frankly, no one player or side of the ball should be blamed fully.
So What Now?
Here’s the situation:
There are three weeks left and the Bears have two road games against Minnesota and Tampa Bay before they round out the season at home against Detroit. The Bears could make things interesting by beating Minnesota and Tampa Bay as both of those teams are fighting to get the best playoff spots available. Currently, Lovie’s Bucs are still standing outside looking in.
The playoffs have now faded away. Just a couple weeks ago it seemed like this team was going to shatter our expectations as all they had to do was win throughout arguably the easiest part of the schedule.
For some reason, they just could not get off the struggle bus. Both of those losses were games against teams that have struggled on the road. However, it seems the December Curse is here to stay unless they can pull out two W’s on the road.
If the team is not going to make the playoffs, what do we expect? I don’t think that John Fox is going to just roll over. He is going to expect the best effort from his team.
As fans, we should do the same. You’ll see some guys start to play a little harder and have a more individual focus. That’s just because they see their job might be in jeopardy. I’m sure at least once you’ll ask yourself, “Where was that earlier this year?”
Taking a Look-Ahead
Next week the Bears travel to the Twin Cities to take on the Vikings. Last time these two teams played, it came down the wire. Charles Johnson outjumped Antrel Rolle on the deep ball thrown by Teddy Bridgewater that ultimately led to the Bears demise in Week 8. So the second time around, you bet there’s going to be at least two wide receivers that the Bears cover well — Charles Johnson and Stefon Diggs.
Diggs finished the game with six receptions for 95 yards and was visibly Bridgewater’s favorite target all afternoon. Johnson finished the game with a lone reception for 35 yards.
The Bears don’t want to get burned twice by the same guy, right?
The Bears run defense is going to need to stiffen up as they face Adrian Peterson, who had 20 carries for 103 yards, and the Vikings who rushed for 147 yards as a team the last time these two faced off.
It seems like, especially recently, the Bears have been letting opposing offenses run the ball and take control of the clock.
In their last game, the Bears let Matt Jones and Alfred Morris run for a combined 86 yards, plus tack on Kirk Cousins’ 13 yards of contribution and they rushed for a total of 99 yards.
If you tuned into our latest post game show, you’ll notice that I was the only one that predicted a Bears victory.
Well, the Bears have just played better on the road. Now that the Bears don’t really have much to play for I don’t know how much motivation will come out of the team. Will they play tough and hang in there like they have all season? Or is the team just mentally deflated going into this game after suffering two losses that should have been victories at home?
Frankly, it’s tough to tell.
If the Bears don’t come out taking shots down the field early in the game I think that means they are mentally checked out. This team has had slow starts and have gone through some long scoring droughts that are hard to fathom sometimes. Like Aldo said on the postgame show, something has to change with their routine or something to make these guys want to play a little harder to start the game.
Just to keep the optimism boat afloat, I’m still going to keep my prediction of a Bears victory.
The Chicago Bears will go to Minnesota and steal one 22-21.