A 'bad' offense finds ways to lose

959745.png

A 'bad' offense finds ways to lose

The offense started in a huge hole, partly its own making, and finished with perhaps the most meaningless 438 yards in recent memory. The output was the second-highest of the season; the 41 percent third-down conversions was strong; but the 14 points were the ultimate point and the Bears found ways to undo almost every bit of good they did.

It is now officially a bad offense, which is one where players take turns failing to execute. The shuffle on the offensive line may be a problem, for example, but the reason for most of the shuffling is because of poor performance, which is far from restricted to those five positions, either.

QUARTERBACK D

Jay Cutler had devastating accuracy issues that led to lost opportunities and Minnesota points. He finished with 22 of 44 for 260 yards and a touchdown, but in a game that needed the quarterback to make plays, he failed to in too many situations while the Vikings were being credited with just four quarterback hits for the game.

Two interceptions of Cutler were the difference in the game, both contributing to touchdowns for the Vikings. The first, on the Bears first possession, was not all his fault after Alshon Jeffery went down. But his overthrow of Marshall in the third quarter was a turning point when it was intercepted and returned 56 yards for a touchdown by rookie safety Harrison Smith.

Cutler forced too many throws to Marshall in coverage but the other options werent inspiring trust and he occasionally held the football too long, although receivers were at some fault for that. Cutler skipped a ball to a wide-open Devin Hester in the second quarter for a missed big gainer.

Jason Campbell was in at mop-up time after Cutler appeared dazed from a blow to the head and other hits.

RUNNING BACK B

Matt Forte was against a stout front but provided a solid all-around game. He finished with 85 rushing yards on 13 carries, including a run for 36 yards in the third quarter and had a 15-yard run for a second-quarter first down for a contribution on the scoring drive.

Forte also caught six of seven passes thrown to him for an additional 34 yards. Michael Bush and Armando Allen were used on just one carry each, Bush for six yards and Allen for three.

Forte also was active in pass protection, delivering frequent chips on his way out of the backfield and into his routes.

RECEIVERS AF

Brandon Marshall (the "A") was virtually the only offense in the first half when the game was getting away from the Bears. Marshall, who finished with 10 catches, 160 yards and a touchdown, got the Bears out of a huge hole in the second quarter with a 39-yard back-shoulder grab against double coverage.

Marshalls touchdown catch in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter brought the Bears back to near-life with a chance to recover an onsides kick and go for a tie.

After Marshall, however

Alshon Jeffery signaled his return from a second injury stint with a 22-yard TD catch with 1:52 in the first half, which was a major play at the moment.

But his slipping down contributed to a crushing interception on the Bears first series that set up Minnesotas second touchdown. Jeffery had a chance for a third-quarter TD on a broken play but failed to make the catch in the end zone.

Devin Hester dropped a touchdown pass at the Minnesota 13 with under five minutes to play and a chance to pull the Bears to within one score. The Bears still scored but needed several more plays to do that at a time when they didnt have time.

Tight end Kellen Davis was overthrown on several occasions but also failed to make catches in some crucial situations.

OFFENSIVE LINE D

The protection of Jay Cutler was spotty, not all the OLs fault. But the Bears were never able to gain consistent control at the point of attack on the running game. That part of the offense may have averaged 6.6 yards per carry (including quarterback scrambles) but never had any control of the game the way it did in the Vikings game two weeks ago.

The line had penalties assessed on four of the five positions JMarcus Webb cost the Bears with a holding penalty in the second quarter that was a net minus-20 yards by wiping out a big completion to Marshall. Roberto Garza was beaten for a sack on the next play and a promising drive was stopped. Gabe Carimi was flagged for a false start on a first-down play and Brown had a holding penalty of his own.

Left guard Edwin Williams was benched in favor of rookie undrafted free agent James Brown in the first half.

The Vikings swarmed around Cutler at times but the quarterback and receivers were frequently the reason as plays went on too long with the football still in Cutlers hands.

COACHING D-

The run game was marginally effective and coaches managed to use the run enough even with a 14-point deficit through most of the first quarter. But the final tally of 55 passing plays vs. 18 running plays (three by quarterbacks) was a recipe for disaster and with Cutlers accuracy problems, disaster happened.

The lack of discipline on the offensive line (four penalties) was a concern and is inexcusable in the 14th week of a season.

CSN to chronicle a dominant New Year's Day playoff performance on the next installment of Bears Classics

eclipsing_moon_2.jpg

CSN to chronicle a dominant New Year's Day playoff performance on the next installment of Bears Classics

‘Bears Classics’ presented by Xfinity to debut Monday, January 23 at 8:00 PM CT -- Exclusively on CSN

Narrated by Chicago Bears/Pro Football Hall of Fame legend DICK BUTKUS

Chicago, IL (January 18, 2017) – CSN Chicago and the Chicago Bears will debut a brand new installment of its partnered Bears Classics presented by Xfinity Emmy award-winning documentary series when the network will once again go back in time to highlight a dominant victory in team playoff history, one that pitted an initially-designated back-up QB…against a future Hall of Famer.     

Debuting Monday, January 23 at 8:00 PM CT exclusively on CSN, Bears Classics will turn back the clock to New Year’s Day 1995, the date of the NFC Wild Card game against the rival Minnesota Vikings at the Metrodome.  The 1994 season was a time of transition for the Bears with roster of new stars as more familiar names had left town.  Dave Wannstedt was in his second season as head coach, and working to establish a new identity for the Bears after being hired in 1993 to replace the legendary Mike Ditka.  From injury and inconsistent play, starting quarterback Erik Kramer was benched.  Backup Steve Walsh then took over and led the Bears to a winning season at 9-7, but the road to the playoffs went through Minnesota, home of the NFC Central champions.  The 10-6 Vikings were led by veteran quarterback and future Hall of Famer Warren Moon, and in ’94, Moon and his purple gang defeated the Bears in both regular season meetings, however, the Bears were determined to reverse that course.  This NFC Wild Card matchup on New Year’s Day 1995 was the first time--and to date, the only time--that the Bears and Vikings met in the playoffs. 

This hour-long installment of Bears Classics, subtitled Eclipsing Moon - Bears vs. Vikings, January 1st, 1995, takes an in-depth look at this critical game in Bears history featuring candid interviews with Bears players and coaches, Viking opponents, along with those who covered this massively-hyped battle. 

This edition of CSN’s Emmy-winning Bears Classics documentary series will once again be narrated by Chicago Bears legend/Pro Football Hall of Famer Dick Butkus.  Butkus played for the Bears from 1965-1973 and is credited for redefining the middle linebacker position.  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1979.  CSN’s Sarah Lauch is the Executive Producer of Bears Classics, Willie Parker is the Producer, and Kevin Cross is the network’s Senior Director of News & Original Content.

In addition to the documentary narration by Butkus, among the numerous players/media/execs interviewed in this edition of Bears Classics include exclusive interviews with the following individuals:

DAVE WANNSTEDT

Bears Head Coach (1993-98)

WARREN MOON

Vikings Quarterback (1994-96)

CURTIS CONWAY

Bears Wide Receiver (1993-99)

TOM WADDLE

Bears Wide Receiver (1989-94)

STEVE WALSH

Bears Quarterback (1994-95)

RAYMONT HARRIS

Bears Running Back (1994-97)

JAMES “BIG CAT” WILLIAMS

Bears Tackle (1991-2002)

Please note the following quotes from CSN’s premiere airing of Bears Classics: Eclipsing Moon - Bears vs. Vikings, January 1st, 1995, debuting Monday, January 23 at 8:00 PM CT:

DAVE WANNSTEDT (on the Bears’ mood as an underdog in the playoffs): “I think our guys had a hidden sense of confidence, a hidden sense of excitement…I remember when we went up there, our guys were excited about playing the football game.”

WARREN MOON (on facing the Bears three times during the ’94 season): “We get into the playoffs and have to play them a third time, to beat a team three times is kind of tough in the same year because they know you so well, especially being from your same division.”

TOM WADDLE (on the Bears’ playoff performance): “At no point did we ever feel we were blowing them out, because I don’t know if we had a capacity to blow anybody out that year, but we were in control.”

RAYMONT HARRIS (on Warren Moon): “(The Vikings) were so talented, Warren Moon was so good.  He had the ability to not just hone in on one receiver…because he could’ve done that.  He had one of the greatest receivers to ever play pro football in Cris Carter.”

STEVE WALSH (on gaining the confidence of teammates as backup QB): “If that locker room believes in that quarterback, generally that guy is going to be successful.  If they don’t, then they’re not…and I think in that year in ’94, there was some uncertainty.”

CSN will also re-air this episode of Bears Classics on Tuesday, January 31 at 7:00 PM.  In addition, fans can also get interactive prior and during every airing of Bears Classics with their thoughts, memories and comments by utilizing the Twitter hashtag #BearsClassics.  Plus, CSNChicago.com will provide additional, online exclusive interviews and commentary write-ups from CSN’s team of Bears experts. 

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks beat Avalanche; Bulls lose to Mavericks

Preview: Loyola faces Northern Iowa on CSN

Vinnie Hinostroza, rookies pace Blackhawks past Avalanche

Bulls can't answer Wesley Matthews' game-winner in loss to Mavericks

Jon Lester explains absence from Cubs' White House trip: 'Absolutely nothing political'

Five Things from Blackhawks-Avalanche: Great night for the rookies

White Sox prospect Michael Kopech fires a 110 mph max velocity throw

Bears challenged to replace coaches involved in three all-rookie selections

Fire draft two Charlotte 49ers to close out draft

White Sox Talk Podcast: Zack Collins discusses staying at catcher

Illini dominated in ugly blowout loss at Purdue