Saturday, April 20, 2024

15 Thoughts On The Bears’ Agonizing Collapse Against The Browns


CLEVELAND — The Chicago Bears breathed legitimate life back into their season last Sunday, when they dominated the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Getting close to a statement win in Detroit about a month ago left them feeling confident they could compete with some of the better teams in the league. And they finished the job in Chicago. At 5-8, the Bears were “In the Hunt” coming into today’s clash with the Cleveland Browns.

The site of Justin Fields’ disastrous first career start, a win would squarely put the Bears in position to run the table and see what happens. A loss, and the questions would arise again.

In the end, the Bears blew a 10-point lead to the beaten down Browns and choked their season away.

Thoughts and Observations

1. (PREGAME) — At full strength (but with Joe Flacco at QB, not Deshaun Watson), the Browns are a nightmare matchup for the Bears. But this current roster comes in depleted and banged up like no other. Despite losing Yannick Ngakoue this week, the Bears caught Cleveland at the perfect time. Not winning feels almost inexcusable for the way the Bears have been playing.

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2. One quarter in and this game is exactly what we expected: two very good defenses forcing punts. Both run defenses have been stout, and the passing game has been stuck in neutral.

The bummer for the Bears: Justin Fields threw an absolute beauty downfield to a wide open Robert Tonyan, who dropped what should’ve been a touchdown. No one near him for at least five yards. A horrific drop in a game where field position and points are at a premium right now.

The Bears’ defensive front, however, are taking it to the Browns’ beaten up OL and Joe Flacco. Montez Sweat with another sack/fumble that rolled out of bounds. But overall, the defense is playing excellent football in tough weather conditions.

3. I’m not quite sure what I’m witnessing here… it might be football, or it might not be. A sequence for the ages:

– Eddie Jackson INT returned to the 1-yard line (he lives!)
– Bears lose three yards on 1st and Goal on a Foreman run
– DPI vs. Moore in the end zone — another 1st and Goal
– Browns called for too many men several times
– Bears lose five yards on a false start
– 3rd and Goal and Fields escapes a sure-fire Myles Garrett sack and finds Cole Kmet with a beauty of a bullet in the left-corner of the end zone.

Bears finally take advantage of the INT and go up 7-0, which feels huge in this game. But good lord that was an incredible, ugly sequence. All-timer over there.

4. Man, the Bears’ defense got hosed on that drive. TJ Edwards had a pass go right through his arms for a catch. Jaylon Johnson had a pick he broke on wrestled out by the WR (good defense from him) on the next play. And then on 3rd down, Flacco escaped and found Amari Cooper somehow downfield with a step on Tyrique Stevenson for a huge 40-yard catch. Finally, on a 4th and 2, a missed holding call on Jaylon led to a conversion, en route to a touchdown.

7-7 game. Bears definitely should feel like they ran into bad luck there.

5. One of the worst possible injury bugs has reared its ugly head — Teven Jenkins was down and in a lot of pain on the ensuing drive. It’s not completely clear what the injury was, but he returned to the sideline with a lot of help and then was carted back to the locker room. Not good. He’s one of the Bears’ best OL and that’s just bad news against this Browns defense. Hope he’s okay long term…

6. Quite an impressive drive orchestrated by Justin Fields at the end of the first half. A Roschon Johnson 22-yard run from inside their own 10-yard line changed the complexion of how they would handle that drive. A DART to DJ Moore, coupled with some impressive releases and efforts from Cole Kmet and Roschon Johnson got the Bears down to the 37-yard line of Cleveland.

I understand the decision to try the Hail Mary vs. the 55-yard FG attempt. A 15mph wind (head-wind) is a tough obstacle for a kicker known for his accuracy (though not his range). In the rain, too, you risk a lot of possible “oopsies.”

7. Huge turn of events here! After an UGLY opening series by the Bears resulted in a three-and-out, TJ Edwards hit Cedric Tillman just enough to jar the ball directly to Tremaine Edmunds, and he rumbled to the house for a pick-six. These LBs are absolutely flying after a slow start to the year and that’s a HUGE play the Bears desperately needed with offense at a premium. Edmunds has become extremely opportunistic lately — great to see an impact play there.

8. After forcing another 3 and out on the ensuing drive, the Bears turned to some neat creativity to secure a field goal to go up 17-7. Two positive Velus Jones Jr. (!!!) runs and a couple catches from Tyler Scott allowed Cairo Santos to connect from 41-yards out. Still a while to go in this game, but the Bears have to feel good about having a two-score lead in a game like this…….. right?

9. I think Montez Sweat might be underpaid.

10. Madness in Cleveland. A DeMarcus Walker sack on third down forced another punt, and then Trent Taylor muffed it at the Bears’ 20-yard line to set the Browns up with a real threatening pulse. And on the first play, Tyrique Stevenson left his man while reading Joe Flacco’s eyes to make an outstanding diving INT on the ball. Incredible play. Saves the Bears’ bacon yet again.

11. Oh boy… a good play call on 4th and 1 at the Browns’ 33 led to a poor blocking effort from Darnell Mooney and Justin Fields being stuffed short of the line to gain. And the Browns converted a 57-yard gain on the first play of the next drive. The swings in this game are wild.

Bears thankfully held for a FG to make it 17-10.

And then the offense went three-and-out. The defense is really going to have to do it themselves today.

12. Well, the Bears’ offense has truly been a cluster in this game. Completely in disarray. And the Browns got the ball back with ~5 minutes left to try to tie the game…

And Joe Flacco hit Amari Cooper for a 51-yard touchdown. Unreal. A beauty of a throw towards the sideline and Cooper kept his balance and ran the rest of the way. 17-all. Bears should’ve closed this out long ago. This is not on the defense.

And the offense responded with a three-and-out. Browns with a chance to win it. The defense has every right to be pissed off today.

13. 3rd and 15 near mid-field for the Browns and a screen pass goes all the way to the Bears’ 20. Absolute back-breaker. Dustin Hopkins’ 34-yard FG attempt was good and the Browns went ahead 20-17 with 32 seconds left.

14. Not to be outdone, Tyler Scott somehow tip-toed on a big gain to set up a Hail Mary (though there was a real chance for a FG attempt at one point). And the Hail Mary was tipped…. to Darnell Mooney…. who couldn’t hang on. That’s how the Bears’ season likely ends. Awful, awful game for Mooney.

14. That’s about as disheartening a loss as I’ve ever seen… even with the offense not doing their job. Just falling apart again at the worst possible time. And against a Browns team that was missing so much of its starting units. Awful.

15. Well, the “In the Hunt” graphics were fun for a week. The season is now almost entirely over. Next up: The Bears host the Arizona Cardinals at Soldier Field on Christmas Eve. The luster sure is lost after that one.

Early prediction: Bears 20, Cardinals 16.


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Dec 18, 2023 10:29 am

Durr durr drool. Twaddle is nothing but an angry troll.

Dec 18, 2023 7:18 am

Key plays… 2 dropped TD passes by Tonyan and Mooney. Both shoulld be released now. They won’t be here in 2024 anyway. There were other dropped passes not as noteworthy. Once again the coaches crawled into their shell allowing Cleaveland to do what they wanted. And as for Getsy…his play calling was abysmal. Blame Fields all you want. This loss was not on him.

Dec 17, 2023 10:42 pm

Tom waddles, durer durrr durrr durrr. Is that your new work this month? Take your pimple faced, teenage butt out of mom and dad’s basement and join the rest of your fudge Packer fans up north! I’m tired of hearing from you.

Dec 17, 2023 8:25 pm

Waddle, DUH! Bagent had 8 TOs in 3 games! He would’ve been sacked by Garrett on Fields’ TD pass to Kmet. Fields threw several dimes against the #1 pass defense. That perfect pass to Tonyan has to be caught! A TD lost. Mooney has to catch that Hail Mary. It’s up to the receivers to make a play. Rodgers always got credit for those last second scores but his WRs made a play. Fields did not lose this game. Coaching did. Play calling was bizarre at times. Quit the cute crap on short yardage! And why not do the Philly… Read more »

Dec 17, 2023 5:47 pm

We’d have been an 11 win team this year with Gardner Minshew as our QB. Execution needs to improve. Again, I’d consider a change at WR coach.

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