Cleat Geeks

Bear Down: The Positives and Negatives from Sunday’s loss in Houston

It was a tale of two halfs on Sunday in Houston as the Chicago Bears only generated 71 yards yards in the second half after being up 14-10 when heading into the locker room.  

chicago-bears-vs-houston-texans-9-11The Bears came out in the first half like something we really did not see last year. First, Tracy Porter jumped the curl route ran by Hopkins and picked it off, a category the Bears struggled in last season. Then, the Bears punch it in. Langford runs it in from the one and gives the Bears their first points of the season.

But the Bears fell apart in the second half, and the spark was Jay Cutler’s interception intended for Kevin White. White, who missed some practice time this week with a hamstring injury, stopped short on the out route leading to Cutler’s throw right into the hands of Andre Hal.

From their on, the Texans offense attacked the Bears secondary. Texans QB Brock Oseweiler finished with 231 yards and 2 TDs. Rookie Will Fuller had 106 yards and a touchdown. The Bears secondary is raw but was even more scarce without Kyle Fuller who was sidelined Sunday with knee issues.

wattcutlerThe Bears offensive line had trouble all day protecting Cutler who was sacked five times and a total of thirteen QB hits. Yes this group has only had a few practices together, but Bobby Massie and Charles Leno were getting beat all day. For the interior, Cody Whitehair was not outstanding but was not horrible. He now has Kyle Long and Josh Sitton, two pro bowl lineman not only to play inside of but to continue to learn from.  He will get better, but it has to be quick.

 

For this column, I will address three positives and three negatives from Sunday’s game in Houston.  

 

Positives

 

  1. Alshon Jeffery had a monster day– Yes Alshon Jeffery did not have a touchdown or get the ball like he did in the first half, but it was alshonjeffery3great to see from a coach and fan standpoint that Jeffery looked healthy and came ready to play. Jeffery finished the day with only four receptions but did have 105 yards, one catch being fifty-four yards.  Jeffery is Cutler’s favorite target and we saw that today. The Texans were getting to Cutler in the second half, limiting Cutler’s chance to get Jeffery the ball. Once the protection gets fixed, Jeffery is a major threat, especially on the fade route.  Overall, it was good to see  moments of healthy Jeffery and hope to see a lot of that this season.

 

  1.  Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan played a great game– Jerrell Freeman showed Sunday why he was second on the team in tackles last season for the Colts. Freeman had 17 tackles in his Bears defense. He was all over the field. And the guy next to him, captain Danny Trevathan tallied 11. These two are going to be special and Sunday proved that they are the real deal. Now, the defensive line has to play better.  Lamar Miller ran for 106  yards.  The Bears inside linebackers were keeping them in this game. Eddie Goldman did have six tackles but Akiem Hicks…had three. And Mitch Unrein…zero. Trevathan and Freeman were on their game all day which is going to put opponents in a tough spot.  It was awesome to see these two play like they did and are the best inside linebackers the Bears have had since Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs. These guys are players.

 

  1. Leonard Floyd impressed– Missing so much time in camp and not a very good preseason, Floyd came out to play on Sunday. The rookie from Georgia tallied six tackles and was credited with half a sack in his first pro game.  While there was times where he wa getting manhandled being undersized. Floyd was fast off the edge, just what the Bears drafted him to do.  He was getting to Oseweiler and earned more snaps in Sunday’s ballgame.  Floyd is lucky when you think about it. If OLB Pernell McPhee was healthy, Floyd would have  had limited reps. But Sunday, the rookie saw the field a lot and played well. He needs to continue to work on his pass rush and his moves.  But overall, I liked what I saw from Floyd on Sunday.

 

Negatives  

 

  1. The Bears offensive line– The Bears starting offensive did not take shape until the first week of practice. The Bears were able to sign pro bowl guard and former Packer Josh Sitton on the waiver wire, giving them an instant upgrade from rookie Cody Whitehair. But then Whitehair was put at center, a position he is getting better at but no where near perfect.  Then, fans learn that Kyle Long has a torn labrum in his left shoulder, but he will play with it the whole season. That is a lot of pain to deal with.  Thus, the bears Oline looked to be what it has been in recent seasons, unreliable.   Now, this group just started to work together. There is somewhat of a break to be given, but when its pass protection and Massie and Leno can not block the guy in front of them, then the criticizing can go into full effect. The run blocking was not there either.  Starting running back  Jeremy Langford only had 57 yards on the ground.  John Fox wants to run the ball…and when the offensive line puts forth this kind of showing, it is not going to be a happy week of practice. This group does need more time together but the first showing of the season was horrific.

    Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

    Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images

 

  1. Kevin White missing practice showed on Sunday– Kevin White, who missed all of last season and who was dealing with injuries all of camp this season, made his NFL regular season debut Sunday. White finished the game with three receptions and 34 yards in the Bears loss. But the one thing that sticks out about White on Sunday was the miscommunication between him and his QB.  Cutler threw an interception on the first drive of the third quarter which was intended for White.  After the play, Cutler was motioning his arm to continue the out route, something White failed to do. This mistake happens to the best of players, but was on sign that missing camp really hurts your development as a player.  White needs to stay healthy because the Bears drafted him in the first round for a reason. He’s a playmaker and an important part of the Bears future. One positive from Sunday was White has some good blocking on the edge, but those mental mistakes on route running running need to get fixed if he wants to be a big part of this offense.  

 

  1. Ka’Deem Carey and Jordan Howard had no impact on Sunday– The Bears are strong believers in running the football and while Jeremy Langford had 17 carries, Carey only had one while Howard never got the ball in his hands.  When you have three very skilled athletes at your disposal with all different skill sets, they need to see the field.  Carey and Howard are both physical runners and good blockers, and should see some third down carries.  I was expecting to see them a lot as I would have thought game one would be a tryout for each of them to see who gets more time….guess not.  The Texans run defense is superb so passing the ball more may have been the game-plan, but not  seeing those guys at all was shocking.  Lanford is one hell of a running back but not an every  down back just yet. Next week, the Bears host the Philadelphia Eagles at Soldier Field on Monday night. The Eagles were last in the league in run defense last year so I’d expect the Bears offense to  run the ball…a lot. Not saying they will totally abandon the run game, but for a team that gave up  more than 2000 yards on the ground to opposing backs, the Bears backfield should have a field  day this week.

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