The Chicago Bears season is winding down and with the playoffs out of sight, there’s still some things to focus on as they head into 2016.
On Sunday, the Bears went into Tampa Bay and won one on the road against former coach Lovie Smith. It was their second-consecutive win over Smith who was fired after the 2012 season.
The Bears overcame a special teams mistake early in the game and used a solid offensive attack using short passes and a run game that saw Matt Forte, Ka’Deem Carey and Jeremy Langford all split carries. That seems to be the trend for the Bears offense and it was even more pivotal due to an injury to Forte. It was a win that had you looking forward to the future and what the Bears could do under John Fox and his coaching staff. It was refreshing to say the least.
Here’s how the Bears graded in the victory:
The gameplan was to put Cutler in manageable downs for him to succeed. It worked.
Cutler started the game 11-of-12 and ended up throwing a touchdown pass with 156 yards. He finished 20-of-27 on the game and didn’t make that key mistake.
As previously mentioned, the Bears gave all three running backs some time on Sunday and they all took advantage. Carey had two touchdowns, Langford rushed for 89 yards and Forte finished with 54. All were very serviceable in the receiving game as well.
Wide receivers/tight ends
The Bears receiving core has struggled throughout the season and can’t seem to stay healthy at all. On Sunday, the Bears didn’t have much of a deep threat, but did execute the short passing attack.
Zach Miller continued to impress, catching seven passes for 69 yards and is showing his worth for next season.
The past few weeks have been a disaster for the Bears offensive line. On Sunday it they didn’t show major improvement but they did play well enough to help the Bears win. They did continue to commit holds and false starts, which is still alarming.
The rookie Goldman now has 5.5 sacks on the season. #Bears
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) December 27, 2015
While the Bears offensive line struggles, the defensive line has been the complete opposite. The brightest spot comes from rookie nose tackle Eddie Goldman who recorded another sack, giving him 5.5 on the season.
The linebacking core played well on Sunday, led by John Timu who recorded a takeaway that led to points by the offense. He also tied Christian Jones for the team lead in tackles. Pernell McPhee also turned in a good
Chicago’s secondary had the task of going up against one of the league’s better young receivers in Mike Evans, and they did a pretty good job containing him. Evans only had four receptions and did minimal damage as the secondary played well. One highlight was rookie safety Adrian Amos who made a few nice plays on the ball in the air.
Corner back Kyle Fuller continues to play better and had a few key plays.
The Bears just can’t seem to put together that perfect special teams day. While Robbie Gould connected on all four of his field goal attempts, the unit as a whole struggled. A blocked punt early in the game led to a Buccaneers touchdown.
This was one of the best coached games all season long. John Fox and Adam Gase had a gameplan to run the ball and put Cutler in manageable downs with short passes and it worked. The Bears held the ball for 37 minutes and did to Lovie Smith, what he used to like doing to opposing teams: get off the bus running.