Very few people expected to see the dismal performance displayed at Soldier Field last week. Despite playing a competitive first half, the Bears were crushed by the Packers in the second half, losing badly AGAIN to the Green Bay Packers. They have now lost nine straight games to the Packers. It was also the 11th straight defeat overall. Their last taste of victory was October 24th when they dismantled the Patriots 33-14 last season.
Penalties hindered the offense. The offensive line lacked cohesiveness due to injuries and a lack of meaningful reps in the preseason. Unexpicably, the defense totally collapsed in the second half. D J Moore, Chase Claypool, and Tyler Scott were each targeted twice. Robert Tonyan was on the field for only four plays and was not targeted.
Day in and day out during OTA practices, mini-camp and the summer, we were bombarded with reports indicating Justin Fields was now reading defenses better, going through his progressions faster. None of that was on display last weekend.
Discord At Halas Hall
According to reports, upper management was not pleased with the outcome last Sunday. The mood in the lockerroom was eerily quiet on Monday. The tension was so thick, it could be cut with a knife. Tremaine Edmunds, Justin Fields, and Eddie Jackson were targeted by reporters and podcasters for their poor performances. Chase Claypool felt the brunt of the most criticism. Film from the Packers game showing a total lack of the H.I.T.S. mantra, was hard to watch.
A Must Win In Week 2?
Foregoing any mention of a winning season, this week’s game is now a must win game for a team trying to find a winning identity. It is equally important for both the players and the coaching staff. With upcoming games against Kansas City, Denver, Washington, and Minnasota on the near horizon, the winning culture needs to start now.
Winning at Tampa will be no easy task. The Bears were throttled by the Bucs in Chicago’s last game there in 2021. Tampa jumped all over the Bears early, 14-0 and never looked back. Tom Brady tossed four TD passes and the final score was 38-3.
Tampa head coach Todd Bowles was the defensive coordinator for Tampa in 2021. His defense blitzed Justin on more than 30% of his dropbacks. Fields ended the day throwing three interceptions and was sacked four times in the loss. The last time the Bears defeated the Bucs in FLorida was back in 2015.
What Do The Bears Need?
First and foremost, the offense needs to be more dynamic. Targeting Moore, Claypool, Scott and Tonyan only six times last week was a huge blunder. Expect to see more plays with 2 tight ends, 2 WRs and one RB. The running game needs to flourish for a team that led the league in rushing last year.
Justin Fields MUST take shots downfield. His receivers can all do well on 50-50 throws. Let them make plays. Lastly, they must hang onto the ball. Tampa forced three turnovers in their opening week upset in Minnesota. The offense cannot give Baker Mayfield a short field.
Defensively, they must pressure Baker Mayfield. The interior linemen need to collapse the pocket. Press man coverage must be utilzed. Mayfield is an experienced QB and will pick apart a soft zone.
The entire team should be focused. The OL must do a better job in all phases. The defense must not fold in the second half. This should be a tightly fought contest, with the game ending on a last second field goal. Bears 20, Tampa 17.
News and Notes
Cornerback Kyler Gordon was placed on IR with a broken hand. The earliest he can return to the active roster is week six, when the Bears host Minnesota.
Teven Jenkins continues his rehab, He has been designated for return and can be elevated to the active roster after the Bears game against Denver.