Even with Marshall and Cutler, Bears' offense isn't good enough


Even with Marshall and Cutler, Bears' offense isn't good enough

Sometimes numbers tell the story and sometimes they don't. The Bears outgained the Vikings 438 to 248, had 22 first downs to Minnesota's 17 and held a struggling Christian Ponder to a paltry 91 yards passing.

However, the number that explains the Bears problems is seven, as in the seven touchdowns they have scored over five games, four of which they have lost. It's the anchor that is keeping this team from moving forward and perhaps will be the reason they miss the playoffs and are in the market for a new head coach -- a head coach that clearly doesn't have the ability to choose an offensive coordinator capable of simply making the Bears' offense average.

Everybody sees that this offense is one of the worst in the NFL. Time and time again they kill themselves. Sunday it was penalties, dropped balls and turnovers. Despite that, they still couldn't manage more than two touchdowns. After 13 games there is no identity and nothing that says they can turn it around.

It has been a one-man offense of Brandon Marshall and a whole bunch of spectators. Marshall has been putting up all-world type numbers like his franchise record 101 receptions, but it's almost as if nobody else in the offense is a part of the game plan.

If the offense continues this path of less that 14 points per game, the Bears will not be in the playoffs and major changes will follow in the offseason. Defense may win championships, but defenses are not supposed to score touchdowns every week in order for teams to win. There are too many good offenses in the NFL for the Bears to continually keep coming up with the short end of the stick. It's their history and one that needs to change.

If scoring less than two touchdowns a contest was acceptable, there would be no need to have Jay Cutler or Marshall on the team. These players were brought here to help put up points, but football is a team sport and it takes all 11 guys on one side of the ball to do their part. And as long as the Bears offense doesn't pull it's weight, the story will not change.

The numbers won't add up to championship caliber football.

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

Morning Update: Cubs tie up World Series with Game 2 win; Bulls begin season against Celtics

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Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

Cubs offense settling into World Series groove

CLEVELAND - It doesn't take long for the 2016 Cubs to rebound.

Their American League-style lineup is just simply too talented to keep down for an extended period of time, especially with Kyle Schwarber now added back into the fold.

They Cubs hitters are so confident, they even left Progressive Field feeling good about themselves despite being shut out in Game 1 of the World Series.

The Cubs got on the board early Wednesday night, plating a run on the third batter of the game as Anthony Rizzo doubled home Kris Bryant.

"Take the momentum away. Take the crowd out of it," Bryant said. "It's nice to score first. Especially when you're the visiting team, to get out there and score within the first three batters is huge."

The early lead helped the lineup settle in and keep their foot on the gas for a 5-1 victory to take the series back to Wrigley Field tied one game apiece.

"Especially with a young lineup, I think when you see a few guys go up there and take some good quality at-bats, one happens after the other and the other guys seem to do the same thing," Ben Zobrist said. "It takes a lot of pressure off. When you see other guys having good, quality at-bats, you don't feel like you have to take pitches and you can be aggressive early on. 

"Oftentimes when you're aggressive in the zone is when you take the tough ones. We did a good job tonight laying off some good pitches. When they made mistakes in the zone, we really hit the ball hard. Even though we scored five runs, obviously we had a lot of baserunners on and we could've scored a lot more."

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Zobrist has a point.

The night after leaving nine runners on base and going 1-for-11 with runners in scoring position, the Cubs left 13 runners on base and tallied just three hits in 12 tries with runners in scoring position.

Between nine hits and eight walks, there were Cubs on base all game. Indians pitchers didn't retire Cubs hitters in order in an inning until the seventh.

The Cubs also forced the Indians to throw 196 pitches in nine innings and worked starter Trevor Bauer to 51 pitches through the first two frames.

"That was good for us," Bryant said. "We saw a lot of their bullpen, so we have a lot of information to learn from and hopefully use in the next game."

Anthony Rizzo summed up the lineup's mentality simply:

"Grind out at-bats, work the pitcher's pitch count up and get the next guy up," he said.

That "pass the baton" mentality is what drives this offense and after a brief lull in that regard in Los Angeles when they were shut out in back-to-back games in the NLCS, the Cubs leave Cleveland feeling pretty good.

"When we're able to [get pitch counts up], you can kinda feel it - our offense really feeds off of that," Zobrist said. "We believe that we're going to break through eventually."