The line between execution problems and coaching issues is never easy, and the number of mistakes on offense in Monday’s first half was alarming. Penalties, seemingly poor communication, and mistakes at crucial times all came together to waste a constant stream of possessions into the San Diego end.
Adam Gase stayed on message without running back Matt Forte, with 16 runs vs. 17 pass plays in the first half, then necessarily tilting toward the run in the second half when the Bears were behind by two scores. The play design on the Bears’ first TD was superb, with Martellus Bennett run-blocking hard at the snap, then curling into a vacant area of the San Diego end zone.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
San Diego receivers were running uncharacteristically free early as Bears coverages appeared to be exploited by a passing offense that didn’t need any help. But in the fourth quarter the defense dialed up alignments with fresh personnel that enabled the Bears to sack Philip Rivers twice.
Special teams were efficient with the exception of two missed field goals. Both punt and kickoff returns improved field position while the Chargers were able to do no more than fair catch two punts.
Moon's Game Grade: B
Special teams has had their nightmares as players have failed to execute coverages in addition to committing too many penalties. But the overall has been a change of culture in all three phases and a team that has gone 3-2 since that opening stretch of Green Bay-Arizona-Seattle.
Adam Gase adhered to a run-based offensive philosophy without being a slave to it, coaching with an offensive line scrambled weekly and without wide-receiver continuity ever since Kevin White’s stress fracture.
Vic Fangio has had to make the change to the Bears’ 3-4 with myriad moving parts, losing linemen Jeremiah Ratliff and Ray McDonald to non-football issues and Ego Ferguson to injury. The pass rush is inadequate but the players have a very strong belief in the scheme and directives.
A team is what its record is and the Bears are 3-5. But they believe they should be 5-3, have bought into what the coaching staff is teaching, and that mark or better in the second half of the season is a very real possibility.
Moon's Mid-year Grade: A-