Sunday serves as proof Bears schedule gets tougher

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Sunday serves as proof Bears schedule gets tougher

Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010
6:25 PM

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com

The Philadelphia Eagles are the immediate concern for the Bears but what was happening a little further down the schedule was startling. General manager Jerry Angelo said last Thursday that he thought the Bears didnt necessarily have to get any better this season to be successful, just be as good as they are now but do it consistently.

But the Bears themselves might concede that theyll have to keep their game at its highest level in the face of whats coming in the next six weeks after Michael Vick and the Eagles:

New England (Dec. 12)

New England scored touchdowns on each of its first three possessions against the Indianapolis Colts and very methodically was doing business at the Colts expense. Then Peyton Manning began doing what Peyton Manning does.

Missing receivers and running backs and working with a patchwork offensive unit, Manning brought the Colts virtually back from a three-score deficit before throwing his third interception with Indianapolis nearly within range of kicking a tying field goal (sound vaguely familiar?).

The Patriots have won seven of their last eight, with only that head-scratcher in Cleveland cluttering up the run. Nasty observation: New England has scored no fewer than 23 points in any game this year and put up 30 or more in six of their 10 games.

New York Jets (Dec. 26)

New York blew a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter against Houston, then scored a winning TD to down the Texans 30-27 in what longtime Houston Chronicle NFL guru John McClain called the second-worst collapse ever (the first being Houstons vs. Buffalo a long time ago in a playoff nightmare bad enough to get D-coordinator Buddy Ryan to take a sideline swing at offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride).

Mark Sanchez continues toward elite status among NFL quarterbacks, engineering the Jets final TD drive with precision throws and finishing with 315 passing yards and 3 TDs vs. just one INT.

The Bears last shutout before the one Thursday in Miami was against the Jets in 2006. Just a guess, but Im not seeing another shutout when the Jets show up in Soldier Field the day after Christmas.

Green Bay (Jan. 2)

Green Bay spotted the Minnesota Vikings a 3-0 lead in the first quarter, then obliterated Brett Favre and the rest of that spiraling team, 31-3. The drama playing out with Favre and Brad Childress may be interesting copy, but what the Packers have done since losing consecutive OT games a month ago is significant.

Since edging by the Vikings 28-24, the Packers have beaten the Jets, Dallas and now Minnesota again, allowing 0, 7 and 3 points. Aaron Rodgers is making the highlight films; the defense is officially becoming scary.

The Packers have allowed 146 total points. Same as the Bears. The Bears-Packers difference? Green Bay has scored 252 to the Bears 191.
Missing Moss

Is anybody charting Randy Moss impact on the Tennessee Titans offense? The guy that some observers thought the Bears simply could not prosper without has caught exactly one (1) pass for Tennessee and it did not come in Sundays overtime loss to the Washington Redskins.

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.

Complete Bears-49ers coverage on CSN

Complete Bears-49ers coverage on CSN

The Bears try to get a third win in 2016 when they host the 49ers, and CSN has you covered.

Check out a schedule of Sunday's events:

— Meijer Bears Pregame Live with Lance Briggs, Alex Brown, Jim Miller and Chris Boden airs at 11 a.m. on CSN.

— Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Bears Halftime Live streaming live on CSNChicago.com and ChicagoBears.com.

— State Farm Bears Postgame Live airing immediately after the game on CSN.

Important Twitter follows:

— John "Moon" Mullin (@CSNMoonMullin), CSNChicago

— Bears Talk (@CSNBears), CSNChicago

— Kip Lewis (@CSNKipLewis), CSNChicago

— Chris Boden (@CSNBoden), CSNChicago

The 3 Bears necessities for win No. 3

The 3 Bears necessities for win No. 3

Insert title of this "Bowl" game here...

Two teams. Three wins combined. December. So much for holiday cheer. The snow may provide a certain Christmas element on the lakefront Sunday. But something different has to happen for the Bears defensively. In their spirit of giving, the 49ers have allowed a league-high 76 points off their turnovers. Problem is, the Bears have just eight of them in eleven games. If that San Francisco generosity doesn't change – either by Vic Fangio's defense finally making plays despite the core of their defense missing, or by the visitors finding a way to protect the ball in those conditions after practicing in Orlando all week – it's a golden chance for the Bears to gain a smidge of momentum before becoming a factor in the division race (because they face all three other NFC North contenders in their final four games).

1. Read zone read

Colin Kaepernick has grown much more comfortable with time in Chip Kelly's offense. He had the Dolphins hanging on for dear life until the clock struck zero last week. He became just the sixth quarterback in league history to pass for three touchdowns in a game while rushing for over 100 (no, Bobby Douglass isn't one). The challenge becomes greater minus the talented inside linebacker tandem of Danny Trevathan (injury) and Jerrell Freeman (suspension). It becomes even greater if Leonard Floyd's quickness and speed is taken away as a shadowing option as he recovers from being carried off the field on a flat board two weeks ago. He's listed as questionable. So that makes it imperative for inside replacements John Timu and Nick Kwiatkowski to find a way to be instinctive while remaining disciplined enough to contain the league's best rushing quarterback by yards per attempt (8.1).

2. Don't stray from the run

Give this Niners defense without NoVorro Bowman and Eric Reid enough opportunities to be gashed, and they'll let you. Too many times the pregame formula has been for Jordan Howard to get the ball, only to find reasons not to – whether it's looking at the clock while trailing by double digits, too much traffic at the line of scrimmage or panic after injuries up front (to name a few). The 172 rushing yards per game allowed by San Francisco is the worst in eight years (Detroit).  Howard's 5.14 average gain per attempt is fifth in the NFL. Enough said.

3. Catch the ball!!!

Okay, Marquess, Josh and Deonte. Okay, Cam, Jordan and Jeremy. Okay Daniel (and/or Eddie?). We know conditions might be a little slick if it's snowing/sleeting/raining. You're supposed to be among the best in the world at what you do, even if you're down the original depth chart. Can you get your mitts on the football and hang on to it this week? Help your guy Matt out a little bit? After all, if you cut last week's nightmare in half, and maybe you're shooting for (oooh!) a fourth win Sunday, not a third.

Get set for Sunday's noon kickoff at 11 a.m. on CSN as ex-Bears Jim Miller, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Chris on "Bears Preagme Live." Then as soon as the second quarter ends, come back here to CSNChicago.com, where Jim and Chris break down the first 30 minutes and go over second half adjustments. And finally, when the game goes final on Fox, switch immediately back to CSN as Chris and the three former Bears give you 90 minutes of reaction, analysis, live press conferences and locker room interviews on "Bears Postgame Live."