Chicago Bears

History Lesson: Bears will bounce back strong

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History Lesson: Bears will bounce back strong

Monday, Dec. 13, 2010
5:04 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Bears will need a rebound after Sundays debacle at the hands of the New England Patriots. History says they will quite possibly get it, because Lovie Smith has managed to pick his teams up after very bad losses.

Indeed, the worse the loss, usually the better the comeback.

Last year they were blown out by Baltimore on Dec. 20 and recovered to defeat Minnesota and Detroit in the next two games. After the Cincinnati Bengals destroyed them in late October, they came back the next week to beat Cleveland.

In 2008, a 37-3 loss to Green Bay, then in 2007, a 27-3 win over St. Louis. A 20-point loss to Minnesota, then three straight wins. A 19-point loss to end 2006, then two straight playoff wins to reach the Super Bowl.

The Bears need very much for a repeat of the things they do after bad losses.

I think the key is identifying some of the things you did wrong quickly with the video, Smith said. I dont believe in not watching the tape and all that. You learn from games like yesterday. We did that. You want to see exactly what happened.

At times its hard to know exactly what was going on, even seeing what was happening out there at times. We were able to see what was happening out there. Most of it we didnt like. But some of it we did.

Playoffs?! Youre talking about playoffs?!

The New England Patriots are behind them and the MinnesotaDetroit Vikings are a week off, albeit without a playing venue set yet. The Bears can take a big step toward clinching the NFC North with a win over Minnesota, and that does enter into their thinking this week.

We all know the numbers and where we stand, said center Olin Kreutz. Hopefully Sunday was a learning experience.

Getting defensive

Anytime an opponent rolls over a defense for record yardage and massive point totals, that scheme comes under question. Doubts about the preferred Cover-2 scheme of Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli will be flying around like Sunday snowflakes, even though the Bears were near the top of the NFL in fewest points allowed before Sunday.

That was a rare happening yesterday, Lovie Smith said. Theres nothing wrong with our scheme. We played a little Cover 2 yesterday. Normally, thats easy for a person to jump on, but yesterday we werent in an awful lot, to be truthful. So were not going to use that. The scheme is good; we didnt execute. The scheme has helped us get to 9-3, but yesterday, again, we didnt execute.

The bad thing.

about all the weather conditions Sunday is that they actually were perhaps more revealing about the Bears rather than less. The Chicago defense may have functioned better in better weather, for instance, but so might the New England offense, to be perfectly fair. The weather took some disguise and scheming out of play for both sides.

They outplayed us, said defensive tackle Tommie Harris. When you line up in those conditions theres not going to be much trickery.

Welkering down

Wes Welker did to the Bears about what hes been doing to lots of teams for a number of years now. Whats perhaps most remarkable is that hes, well, unremarkable as he goes about being one of the only players in NFL history to catch 100 passes in three straight seasons.

He works hard but its not like hes going to over-amaze you, said nickel back D.J. Moore. Hes just good. And combine him with that quarterback and its a pretty good combination.

Good guys

Chris Harris and Corey Graham may still be treating wounds from Sunday but theyre making time for kids on Tuesday as part of their After-School All-Stars Touchdown vs. Shutdown from 2-4 p.m. at J.Ward Middle School in Chicago. Harris and Graham donate on a per-tackle basis to after-school programs and activities for at-risk youths and will hang out with the kids Tuesday afternoon to answer questions and talk about issues.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider, and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Marcus Cooper, Bears move on from viral mistake: ‘We’re not firing him’

Marcus Cooper, Bears move on from viral mistake: ‘We’re not firing him’

Marcus Cooper’s viral mistake on Sunday was so blatantly embarrassing, did special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers even have to say anything to the Bears cornerback on the sideline after it?

“Sure,” Rodgers said. “Score."

That'll do from a brevity standpoint. Continued Rodgers: "I mean, there's not much to add. He knows he made a mistake and he obviously knows the rules.”

The Bears aren’t dwelling on what Cooper did at the end of the first half against the Pittsburgh Steelers, partly because it didn’t cost them a win. It very well could’ve, though, and is one of those things that never should’ve happened, to say the least. 

“With a loss, maybe it’d be a lot worse,” Cooper said. “But (I need to) just finish the play and make sure Thursday we come out and play (well).”

Cooper, for what it’s worth, responded well in the second half with a few pass-break ups. Even with Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara playing well, the Bears didn’t consider benching Cooper — or, drastically, eating $8 million in guaranteed money to cut him — after his gaffe. 

“I mean, we’re not firing him,” coach John Fox said. “He’s too much a part of our team.”

How the Bears' receivers helped beat Pittsburgh while only catching one pass

How the Bears' receivers helped beat Pittsburgh while only catching one pass

Mike Glennon didn’t complete a pass to a wide receiver until he found Deonte Thompson for a nine-yard gain with just under six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter on Sunday. That was the only of Glennon's 15 completions that went to a wide receiver in a 23-17 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

But the Bears’ receivers weren’t necessarily invisible on Sunday, frequently showing up on tape delivering solid blocks that helped spring second-level gains by running backs Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Most notably, Deonte Thompson was key in making a path for Howard to score his game-ending touchdown in overtime. 

“We got a rule in our room, make sure your guy doesn't make the tackle,” Thompson said. “… We take pride in it. Our coaches make sure we take pride in blocking. We just go what we gotta do to win. Whatever the job description is, we do.”

This isn’t to say that everything is fine with the Bears’ receivers because they can block. Their primary jobs are to get open and catch the football, and this unit hasn’t done enough of that through three games. In total, Bears receivers are averaging about 14 targets, nine receptions per game and 98 yards per game. Since the beginning of the 2016 season, 26 times has an individual wide receiver had at least 14 targets, nine receptions and 98 yards in a game (including Cameron Meredith last October). 

And being a productive receiver doesn’t have to mean that player isn’t a good blocker. SB Nation listed familiar names as its best blocking receivers: Tampa Bay’s Mike Evans, Los Angeles’ Robert Woods, Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Miami’s Jarvis Landry and New York’s Brandon Marshall. 

But for the Bears, if Sunday’s offensive plan — for a game in which the team was never losing — is what future wins could look like, this receiver unit will be asked to do quite a bit of blocking. 

“We haven’t won as much as we want to around here, and when you see that (blocking effort), you see these guys are fully invested and they care, and they care about the guy next to him,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said, “and not about their own individual stats because it would’ve been real easy to sit on the sideline and pout and say hey, I’m not getting the ball — like, one receiver caught a ball in the whole game out of 22 passes, 15 completions, one guy catches a ball. But you know what, they’re a huge part of those wins.”

Howard had seven carries of five or more yards that went toward the sideline, while Cohen had two explosive gains into the second level and beyond. Runs like those are where blocking from guys like Thompson, Bellamy, Kendall Wright and Marcus Wheaton are important. 

“Those are the blocks that spring us to the next level,” Cohen said. “Without the receiver blocks, there would be a lot of 10-yard gains, 9-yard gains, but the bigger gains are the receivers blocking down field.”

The Bears still need more out of their receivers, but their blocking success on Sunday was a contributing factor to beating one of the better teams in the AFC. And it didn’t go unnoticed inside Halas Hall, especially the block Thompson threw to end the game. 

“They know who we have in the backfield, they know who we’ve got up front,” offensive lineman Kyle Long said. “And they know that if we want to have success at an elite level running the ball they need to do their part too and that’s just what he was doing. He was doing his job.”