Bears

Bears hit a new low with record-setting case of the drops

Bears hit a new low with record-setting case of the drops

The 2016 Bears are finding different ways each week to hit a new low.

They flipped the script on what appeared to be a blowout loss to the Tennessee Titans at Soldier Field Sunday, but a serious case of the drops by the receivers helped turn this one into another gut-wrenching loss.

Trailing 27-7 in the fourth quarter, Matt Barkley led the Bears on a major comeback, bringing the team seven yards away from a game-tying score and a successful extra point away from a victory.

Barkley threw for 210 yards in the fourth quarter alone, but he couldn't get those final seven yards, thanks to a devastating drop by a wide-open Josh Bellamy in the endzone with less than a minute remaining in the game.

"I just missed the opportunity," Bellamy said. "I beat myself up because I expect more out of myself and I know I should have made that play."

Bellamy stood at his locker after the game and answered question after question about his costly drop. He said he apologized to Barkley after the gaffe.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Barkley's fourth-quarter line is even more impressive given the Bears receivers were slapped with five drops in the final period.

As a whole, a Bears receiving corps missing Alshon Jeffery (suspension), Kevin White (injury) and Zach Miller (injury) had 10 drops — the most recorded in a game over the last decade:

"We're all upset at ourselves," said receiver Marquess Wilson. "We just gotta work at it and get better."

Wilson finished with 125 yards on eight catches and a touchdown, but he dropped another easy score in the back of the endzone in the fourth quarter. 

Barkley later threw a touchdown pass to Deonte Thompson on that drive, so ultimately there was no harm done, but Wilson admitted he should catch that ball 10 out of 10 times.

Wilson and Bellamy pointed to a lack of focus as an issue among the receiving corps.

Making his first NFL start, Barkley refused to throw any of his receivers under the bus, pointing to his own mistakes as contributing to the loss and taking the blame off Bellamy's shoulders.

"We win as a team and we'll lose as a team," said Barkley, who insisted he never got frustrated with all the drops. "During the game, I don't get wrapped up in the emotions of all that negativity. I'm trying to keep guys going, keep the tempo pressed and one play at a time."

The Bears are in the midst of one of their toughest seasons in franchise history and it's more than just the 2-9 record — it's the injuries and the suspensions adding up to an overwhelming amount of adversity.

But the NFL season is not like a boxing match. There are no refs to call it early on account of knockout.

There are still five games left and the Bears receiving corps will be without Jeffery for two more contests before he returns from suspension and won't see White or Miller stepping out on the gridiron again this year.

"Hey, the sun's gonna come up tomorrow," Bellamy said. "Just gotta keep doing it."

How ‘spatula hands’ Adrian Amos is a perfect representation of the Bears’ defense 

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USA Today

How ‘spatula hands’ Adrian Amos is a perfect representation of the Bears’ defense 

Adrian Amos grew up a Ravens fan, and would go play football with his dad on a field in the shadow of M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. So what was the best game of his career on Sunday — eight tackles and a 90-yard pick six — carried more meaning for the Bears’ safety. 

“This was a dream come true coming back to play in this stadium,” Amos said. “That’s a blessing in itself. Not a lot of people from Baltimore get the chance to do that, to be in this stadium.”

Amos played nearly 2,000 career snaps before recording his first NFL interception on Sunday, when he was in the right place to snag a ball Kyle Fuller — another Baltimore native who was outstanding against the Ravens — tipped pass. Amos always was regarded as a sure tackler who could be counted on to stick to his assignments, but for whatever reason he never was able to get himself an interception. 

“Sometimes, I call him ‘spatula hands’ because he doesn’t catch a lot of balls,” defensive end Akiem Hicks said. 

“Akiem’s always got the jokes,” Amos said. Hicks never actually called Amos “spatula hands” to his face, and after dropping that line to the media, he told Amos what he said (“He’s got jokes for everybody,” Amos added). 

Homecomings and jokes aside, Amos is playing his best football right now, and that’s been huge for a Bears defense that’s needed to replace plenty of key players before the halfway point of the season. Amos, who lost his job when the Bears added Quintin Demps and Eddie Jackson in the offseason, is starting in place of Demps, who broke his arm Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

“At that time, there was a guy playing better than him,” coach John Fox said of Amos losing his starting job in training camp. “And, at this time, he’s playing the best in the group. And that’s why he’s playing out there.”

Amos played a grand total of one defensive snap in Weeks 1 and 2, but has played every single defensive snap — as well as 26 special teams snaps — in the last two weeks. He had eight tackles against both Minnesota and Baltimore, and against the Ravens, he notched a tackle for a loss and two pass break-ups. 

This Bears defense showed in the first five weeks of the season to be a “fine” group, one that wouldn’t make many mistakes, but also wouldn’t make a lot of plays. That changed on Sunday, with Bryce Callahan picking off a pass, Christian Jones forcing a fumble and Amos notching an interception. 

Like the Bears defense this year, Amos was a solid player who hadn’t made a lot of big plays in his career. And like the Bears’ defense on Sunday, Amos finally made a critical play when it counted. 

“It’s just a mindset thing,” Amos said. “Just staying focused. Stay confident in my ability. Just keep working, being aggressive, just put my head down and work, that’s all I know.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times), Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000) and Jordan Cornette (The U/ESPN 1000) join Kap on the panel. Justin Turner hits a walk-off 3-run HR off of John Lackey to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the NLCS. So why was Lackey even in the game? How much blame should Joe Maddon get for the loss?

The Bears run the ball over and over and over again to beat the Ravens in overtime, but should they have let Mitch Trubisky throw the ball more?