If you’re still trying to get a grip on how and why the Chicago Bears lost a winnable game against a Green Bay Packers team that didn’t have Aaron Rodgers, just know you’re not alone.
Everything was lined up for the Bears to beat the Packers at Soldier Field for the first time since 2010 on Sunday … but then the game was played.
What the hell happened? Well …
- … The penalty problems that plagued the Bears early in the season popped up again against the Packers yesterday. Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes that the pile of first-half penalties helped dig the Bears a hole from which they were never able to emerge. Chicago was slammed with eight penalties that cost the team 78 yards, which doesn’t count a few others that were declined. With the margin of error being thin as it is for the Bears, they really can’t afford self-inflicted wounds and careless mistakes to pop up as often as they did. This isn’t the first time penalties have sent the Bears reeling, which isn’t a great sign for a John Fox led team that stresses the importance of discipline to be successful.
- A defense that forced eight turnovers over the last three games before the bye didn’t force any interceptions from Green Bay’s backup quarterback or fumbles from any of its opponents’ ball carriers. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune breaks down the Bears’ defensive breakdowns as Brett Hundley answered every challenge Vic Fangio’s group threw his way. Hundley posted a 110.8 quarterback rating, completed 72 percent of his passes, and – most importantly – played turnover-free ball.
- The Bears’ strength on the defensive side of the ball didn’t show up when the team needed it, and it turned out to be costly. Surely, the team missed inside linebacker Danny Trevathan and his presence in the middle of the defense. Chicago signed Trevathan before 2016 with the hope he would help solidify the softest part of the defense. When he’s been on the field, Trevathan has fit the bill and projected to be the most important piece of the Bears’ run defense. In the two games Trevathan has missed this season, the Bears’ rush defense allowed 159 yards to the Minnesota Vikings (5.1 yards per carry) and 160 rushing yards (4.3 yards per carry) to the Packers. Get well soon, Mr. Trevathan. It’s clear the Bears miss you.
- There was no play in which the Bears missed Trevathan more than on Ty Montgomery’s 37-yard rushing touchdown. Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune notes that it was cornerback Prince Amukamara who took full responsibility for allowing that run to happen. A blown assignment had Amukamara out of position, allowing Montgomery to blow through the line of scrimmage.
- But still, I don’t know how officials didn’t see Jordy Nelson hold safety Eddie Jackson here:
To the house!
— NFL (@NFL) November 12, 2017
- Benny Cunningham found himself shouldering the blame for the other big play of the game, writes JJ Stankevitz of NBC Sports Chicago. Cunningham took responsibility for what might have been the worst challenge in the history of football. If he could do it again, he would probably not try to extend for that extra yard and accept a 1st-and-goal opportunity inside the 5-yard-line. Still, Cunningham shouldn’t be at fault for aggressively trying to score on a play that could have put the Bears within an extra-point of tying the game in the second quarter. And seeing that the Bears lost by 7, they really could have used some points on that drive.
- The ugly irony here is that Fox initiated the challenge hoping to be rewarded with a score, only to be punished with a turnover and a loss of a scoring opportunity. Fox won the challenge, but lost at the same time. Now, that is a double whammy.
- Even though the Packers were without Rodgers, Sunday provided a reminder that Green Bay still had an edge at skill positions. Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune explains how Brett Hundley’s connection with Davante Adams provided the late-game dagger that ultimately put the Bears away. Adams, who will be a free agent after this season, caught five passes for 90 yards. And you wonder if he can be successful with Hundley, could he do something similar with another quarterback? Perhaps one in the NFC North that resides a few hundred miles south of Green Bay?
- Sometimes you simply have to give credit where it’s due. The Packers won a game without their starting quarterback and with their third-string running back getting a bulk of the carries. Montgomery, who scored the game’s first touchdown, left Sunday’s game early and joined starter Aaron Jones as missing in action. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Jones suffered an injured MCL and will miss 3-6 weeks. It could have been worse, but it’s still a significant blow to Green Bay’s offense.
- The Bears’ run as favorites in the eyes of oddsmakers didn’t last long:
— Brad Biggs (@BradBiggs) November 13, 2017