Bears

What you need to know from Bears-Packers: Mike Glennon can’t get out of his own way, again

What you need to know from Bears-Packers: Mike Glennon can’t get out of his own way, again

GREEN BAY, Wisc. — For the second time this year, Mike Glennon committed three turnovers in a half. And for the second time this year, the Bears were blown out on the road.

Glennon lost two fumbles and was picked off by Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix in the first half, setting the tone for a 35-14 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in front of a national Thursday night audience. Clay Matthews’ sack-strip of Glennon on the Bears’ first offensive play of the game — Glennon held on to the ball far too long — quickly handed the Packers a 14-0 lead, and miscommunication between Glennon and center Cody Whitehair caused a comical botched snap that Green Bay easily recovered. And on the interception, Glennon seemed to have Markus Wheaton open, but overthrew the speedy wideout.

Yes, Glennon successfully led a scoring drive inside the two-minute warning, finding Kendall Wright for a pretty five-yard touchdown in the back corner of the end zone.

But Glennon is supposed to excel in operating the Bears offense. He didn’t do that well beyond the botched snap — the Bears had to burn a timeout late in the first quarter when the offense couldn’t get lined up correctly. Those are the kind of errors that may be expected if Mitch Trubisky were in the game, not Glennon.

The Bears now have 10 days to evaluate if Glennon should still be their quarterback before welcoming the Minnesota Vikings to Soldier Field for Monday Night Football Oct. 9. The tape isn’t pretty for Glennon. But has Trubisky done enough behind the scenes to warrant supplanting Glennon as the starting quarterback? Or, even if he hasn’t, does the coaching staff pull the rip cord and play him anyway because they can’t trust Glennon anymore and need to win games to keep their jobs?

The Bears are 1-3 and, outside of a fourth quarter spurt in Week 1, haven’t had good quarterback play this year. Will that change when the calendar flips to October, and will it be because Trubisky is the starter?

Stay tuned.

A mixed bag on defense

Green Bay scythed through the Bears’ defense on its first possession, making its 10-play, 75-yard scoring drive look easy. After Glennon’s fumble, the Packers needed two plays to get the three yards necessary to make the score 14-0. But on their next 13 plays, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense only gained 18 yards.

That, seemingly, gave the Bears’ offense an opportunity to get back into the game. It didn’t happen, and then after Glennon and Whitehair botched that snap, Rodgers escaped pressure and fired one of his signature heaves to Jordy Nelson, a 58-yard gain that set up Aaron Jones’ two-yard touchdown.

But facing a Packers offense missing its two starting tackles and, as the game went on, running backs Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams, the Bears defense didn’t do enough. As the game went on, Rodgers was easily able to pick this group apart, leading to such a lopsided scoreline.

And Danny Trevathan’s brutal, unnecessary hit on Davante Adams — leading straight into Adams’ helmet with his helmet — in the third quarter put a stain on the rest of the game. It was surprising Trevathan wasn’t ejected for that hit, and he’ll likely receive a fine (if not more) for it from the league.

Bears grades: The return of D's and F's, except for the linebackers

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USA Today

Bears grades: The return of D's and F's, except for the linebackers

QUARTERBACKS: D

Mitchell Trubisky threw three interceptions, with two of them particularly deflating: His first pick came on the second play of the third quarter when he overthrew Kendall Wright while rolling to his left; his second came in the end zone on third down. The last one came late in the fourth quarter when he and tight end Daniel Brown weren’t on the same page. Those mistakes were disappointing for a guy who hadn’t thrown an interception since Week 12, and now has as many interceptions as touchdowns (seven). But Trubisky did make a number of good throws, like when he stared down a blitz and found Markus Wheaton for a 22-yard gain. He also appeared to be the reason why the Lions to jump offsides twice, a good sign for his development with his cadence. But while he threw for over 300 yards for the first time in his career, the turnovers are the most important thing here. 

RUNNING BACKS: D

While some of the Bears’ running issues on Saturday were the product of some shaky run blocking from an offensive line that lost its two starting guards (Tom Compton and Josh Sitton) to injury, Jordan Howard wasn’t able to do much, either. According to Pro Football Focus, he didn’t break a tackle, and Howard finished with only 37 yards on 10 rushing attempts. Tarik Cohen didn’t get on the field much, playing only 25 of the Bears’ 63 offensive snaps and gaining one yard on two rushing attempts. The good news, perhaps, for this group: Howard caught all four targets he received for 26 yards, and he, Cohen and Benny Cunningham combined for 12 catches on 15 targets for 75 yards with the Bears’ only touchdown (which went to Cunningham). 

WIDE RECEIVERS: D

The stats for this group are inflated by the Bears’ having to try to pass their way back into the game in the second half, but while Kendall Wright (seven catches, 81 yards), Josh Bellamy (five catches, 70 yards) and Markus Wheaton (two catches, 42 yards) seemed to be productive, that trio only caught 14 of their 24 targets. Trubisky’s accuracy issues had something to do with that, but there were some poor plays in there too, like when Wright couldn’t hang on to a pass on the Bears’ first drive that was dislodged by safety Quandre Diggs. Also concerning here: Dontrelle Inman was invisible for the second straight week, only catching one of two targets for five yards six days after Trubisky didn’t look his way at all in the Bears’ blowout win over Cincinnati. Bellamy was also whistled for two penalties. 

TIGHT ENDS: D

Not having Adam Shaheen (chest) on Saturday was a blow to this group, especially after it functioned so well with the rookie in there last weekend in Cincinnati. Dion Sims caught his only target for nine yards, while Daniel Brown caught three of four targets for 32 yards — but that one target he didn’t catch was intercepted. That the Bears struggled to run the ball falls some on the tight ends, too: Only three of the nine plays with Sims and Brown on the field at the same time were runs, and those went for a meager nine yards. 

OFFENSIVE LINE: D

Four penalties were assessed to the Bears’ offensive line: Holding and a false start for Charles Leno, holding for Hroniss Grasu and illegal hands to the face for Cody Whitehair. Losing Sitton and Compton stretched this group to its max, and the Teryl Austin’s Lions defense had some success run blitzing the Bears. But it’s hard to find positives when the production from the Bears’ running game wasn’t there, especially a week after this offensive line dominated the Bengals’ front seven. 

DEFENSIVE LINE: C-

Akiem Hicks hit home on a sack for the first time since Week 8 and added a tackle for a loss, but he whiffed dropping Matt Stafford on that 58-yard heave to Marvin Jones in the second quarter. The Lions averaged 4.6 yards per carry, over a yard higher than their season average (3.4, 31st in the NFL). Eddie Goldman returned to the defense and only got on the stat sheet because of a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty he committed on the first play of the game. 

LINEBACKERS: A-

Sam Acho (one sack, one TFL, one hurry and a forced fumble) and Lamarr Houston (two sacks, two hurries, two tackles for a loss) each had huge games, while Nick Kwiatkoski had a solid game (eight tackles) as well. Pernell McPhee, prior to suffering a shoulder injury, had a few decent pressures and sniffed out a screen to Ameer Abdullah for a loss of six (he was injured on that play). This unit was not the problem with the Bears on Saturday, to say the least. 

DEFENISVE BACKS: D-

Eddie Jackson did some good things in the open field, but allowing Jones to catch that 58-yard jump ball in the second quarter — which was on a third-and-18 play and set up Detroit’s first touchdown of the game — was rough. Kyle Fuller struggled, too, allowing catches all five times Stafford threw his way for 61 yards, according to Pro Football Focus. Fuller was flagged once, while Prince Amukamara had two penalties assessed on him. Stafford has been kryptonite for this group, with passer ratings of 120.2 and 115.3 and no interceptions against the Bears in 2017. 

SPECIAL TEAMS: D-

There were two bad penalties assessed to the Bears on special teams on Saturday: First, DeAndre Houston-Carson was flagged for holding on what was otherwise a 90-yard kickoff return by Cohen. And John Timu was whistled for holding on a shanked punt that only went 24 yards, leading to the Bears beginning a third quarter possession at their own 36 instead of own 46. 

COACHING: F

Another week of undisciplined play (13 penalties) doesn’t reflect well on the coaching staff. John Fox’s decision to punt on fourth-and-one from the Bears’ own 45-yard line in first half was head-scratching for a team without anything to lose. Not kicking an onside kick down 10 with about two and a half minutes left was odd, but made more confusing by Mike Nugent kicking a pooch kick instead of going deep. This postgame quote from Wright about why the Bears played so poorly six days after playing so well wasn’t necessarily meant as a criticism of the coaching staff, but can be read as sort of an inadvertent one:

“I have no idea,” Wright said. “I have no idea. That’s a question I can’t even answer. I would say we came out flat, but I don’t really think so. I think everybody was ready to play and everybody had the energy to play. It’s not anything I can put on that.”

Under Center Podcast: What’s the game plan!?! Bears lose 10th game to Lions

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: What’s the game plan!?! Bears lose 10th game to Lions

Laurence Holmes, Alex Brown and Jim Miller break down the Bears 20-10 loss to the Lions on Saturday.

Why didn’t the game plan include more runs for Jordan Howard? How did Mitchell Trubisky play so poorly despite a career-high in pass yards? And where is the leadership on this team? Plus – could the Bears actually lose to the Browns and hit rock bottom?

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below: