Bears

NFL Power Rankings - Week 10: 'Muscle Hamster' leading Bucs

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NFL Power Rankings - Week 10: 'Muscle Hamster' leading Bucs

Every Tuesday throughout the regular season, we'll beranking all 32 NFL teams.

Take a look and offer up yourthoughts in the comment box below or to us on Twitter @BearsTalkCSN.

Previousrankings: Week1 Week2 Week3 Week4 Week5 Week6 Week7 Week8 Week9

SK JFComments 1 SK: Another less-than impressivevictory, but until someone beats them, ATL sits at No. 1.
JF: Still have problems stopping the run, but didn't matter vs. Cowboys. 2 SK: Possible Super Bowl preview onSNF?
JF: Still clearly the top team in the AFC.
3 SK: The defense is playing at a levelthat nobody in Chicago has seen since 1985.
JF: Most impressive win of the season is followed by toughest game vs. Texans.
4 SK: Despite string of injuries, AaronRodgers and Co. continue to get the job done.
JF: Off last week now back in action at home against St. Louis.
5 SK: Well restedand now face a tough divisional foe in the Rams.
JF: Continue to dominate their division. Can't afford to look past Raiders.
6 SK: Manning is playing at an MVPlevel, can't avoid a letdown in Carolina.
JF: Rodgers is discount double checking at a staggering rate the last few weeks.
7 SK:Should have no problem against a Bills team in a downward spiral.
JF: Did enough on offense and shut down Manning on defense to top Giants.
8 SK: It's about time theydecided Ray Rice is their best offense.
JF: Manning looked terrible in loss to Steelers.
9 SK:Arguably the most impressive victory in Week 9; ground game has beenlethal.
JF: Come back from BYE week for home matchup with Buffalo.
10 SK: Don't know which Giants team willshow up each week.
JF: The other Manning (Peyton) continues to shine for 5-3 Broncos.
11 SK: If ChuckStrong speech didn't giveyou chills, you don't have a soul.
JF:When Wilson is on and the defense is locked in, the Seahawks are a good team.
12 SK:I can't say enough good things about Russell Wilson, very underrated.
JF: Still can't believe the Colts are 5-3 heading into Week 10.
13 SK:Beat up on the lowly Jaguars. Run game was clicking Sunday.
JF: Defense was impressive with win over Chiefs. Are the Bolts back on track?
14 SK:After hot start, Ponder has been brutal. A plus is how healthy"All Day" looks.
JF: Without Harvin the Vikings will have a tough task vs. Detroit.
15 SK:Philbin for Coach of the Year?
JF:Huge opportunity for Lions vs. Minnesota in Week 10.
16 SK:Move over RG3, you've got competition for ROY in Dougie"Fresh" Martin.
JF: Need to win at home vs. Titans to stay in the playoff picture.
17 SK:Defense poured it on in a much-need victory over the Chiefs.
JF: Can't fault them for loss to Packers. Need to get healthy during BYE week.
18 SK:Look out NFC, the Saints may be back in the playoff hunt.
JF: Rookie RB Martin gives Bucs an added punch. Face fellow 4-4 Chargers.
19 SK: Mike Shanahan seems to havealready given up on the season.
JF:Can get the season back on track with home win over Giants.
20 SK:Sunday's battle in Philly could cost the losing coach his job.
JF: Brees has Saints believing in an even longer winning streak.
21 SK:Bye couldn't come at a better time for a team in the midst of afive-game losing streak.
JF: Continue to turn the ball over and can't give Vick any time.
22 SK:Major problems in Philadelphia. Time for a rebuild on both sides ofthe ball?
JF: Will they ever find a way to win again?
23 SK: Playoffs?!? Playoffs?!? Bengalscan't even win a game.
JF: See previous comment above.
24 SK:I know DMC got hurt, but why on earth is Palmer throwing the ball 61times???
JF: After getting embarrassed by Pats in London, need upset vs. 49ers following BYE.
25 SK:Amendola's return to the offense should provide spark.
JF: Looking better the last few weeks. Still have a big hole to dig out of.
26 SK:A loss to Seattle and they can kiss their playoff chances goodbye.
JF: Would have been 4-4 if they could have stopped one man (Martin) in loss to Bucs.
27 SK:Most lopsided loss of All-Time at LP Field in Nashville.
JF: Must win at extremely hostile environment in Seattle. You never know.
28
SK:Where was that Panthers defense allseason?
JF: Are better than their record indicates. But it's a win-now league.
29 SK:Almost pulled out a win over the first place Ravens.
JF:Not getting blown out, but not winning either.
30 SK:This team has no identity...
JF:Looked about as bad as any team could look vs. Bears.
31 SK:On the bright side, Justin Blackmon caught his first NFL touchdownpass.
JF: Can't run the ball on offense and unable to stop the run on defense.
32 SK:Hey Scott Pioli, your days of being an NFL GM may be over soon.
JF: Just awful.

View from the Moon: Bears 'siestas' continue, leaving progress difficult to find, but it’s there ... somewhat

View from the Moon: Bears 'siestas' continue, leaving progress difficult to find, but it’s there ... somewhat

Consider this a connect-the-dots exercise, with the end game being to figure out what the overall picture is. Because the Bears’ 27-24 loss to the Detroit Lions was many things, a couple actually very good, but too many of them kinda-to-very bad...

The overarching point of the 2017 season, per senior Bears management, is progress. Not just on the part of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who had a fourth solid performance in six NFL starts; but on the Bears as a whole. A week after showing anything but, the Bears showed something that could masquerade as progress.

How real is it? The Bears in the past eight days have given few reasons to trust it.

Because while coming close against a respectable Lions (6-4) team counts for something, the Bears are still 3-7 at the end of the day and 3-13 under John Fox against the NFC North – a division winning percentage of .188, which would be lower than that of the Marc Trestman Bears (.250), who managed to win their three NFC North games in two seasons vs. Fox’s three.

As concerning perhaps, the loss left the Bears 3-9 under Fox in games decided by three or fewer points, the hallmark of what simplistically can be ID’d as “losing” teams.

“We’ve had a lot of close games, and it’s just finding a way to close those out,” Trubisky said. “We’re going to work towards that, and figure it out for sure.”

What makes “progress” difficult to see, though, is that the Bears do not play like a team either coached to be or with the proven ability to play at a professional level all the time. Teams with that problem typically make coaching changes at the ends of seasons, since the conclusion usually is that the talent can be there, just that the coach in hand, fair or not, can’t get it out of the roster.

“We’ve shown spurts and moments, like we have for some time now,” Fox summarized. “But we have lulls. We have siestas. We just don’t do it for 60 minutes. ... People have ups and downs. Well, we’re in a stage as a football team where we have those moments in games. We have to do a better job of coaching it and we have to do a better job of executing it in games.”

The Green Bay Packers were one kind of measuring standard last week, and the 3-7 Bears were embarrassed against a foundering team that had been soundly beaten by the Lions the week before the Bears faced them, and buried 23-0 at home Sunday by the Baltimore Ravens.

The Lions were a different kind of quiz, a real offense putting up more than 27 points per game. The Bears allowed the Lions their requisite 27 points (seven of those coming on a touchdown return of a Trubisky fumble), but put up nearly 400 yards and 24 points of their own in a game that ended on a Connor Barth missed field goal from 46 yards, Barth’s fifth miss in 11 attempts from beyond 40 yards.

(Barth’s miss may have been particularly bitter for Fox, after watching Detroit’s Matt Prater win the game from 52 yards – the same Matt Prater who kicked for Fox in Denver in 2011 when Fox’s Broncos beat the Bears in the Marion Barber Game with Prater field goals from 59 yards to tie with 3 seconds left, and from 51 yards to win in OT.)

“All these games in the NFL – they’re hard games – but when you have a game like this that you should win, you just have to win those games,” said wide receiver Kendall Wright. “I think with us, when we win one of those close games, it will help us get over the edge and we’ll start stacking them up on top of each other.”

Then again...

The Bears seemed to lose their compass in the third quarter, with one rushing yard on four attempts. But they finished with 222 yards and the way they amassed them mattered: 125 and a touchdown for Jordan Howard; 53 for Trubisky, a number of them on designed runs; and 44 plus a TD for Tarik Cohen – all combining to average 7.4 yards per carry.

Bigger picture, the Bears were in the position of having at least a chance to tie because Trubisky managed to drive the Bears 55 yards in the final 1:32 from the Chicago 17 to the Detroit 28. This would constitute something shiny lying there in the mud, and make no mistake: This is a big deal.

To put Trubisky in some kind of context: Rookie quarterback Nathan Peterman, the fifth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills, replaced Tyrod Taylor in the Bills starting lineup Sunday, against a Los Angeles Chargers defense allowing opponents to complete more than 64 percent of their passes. Peterman completed 11 of 14 in the first half, about 79 percent. But – five of the Peterman “completions” were to Chargers.

DeShone Kizer has been in and out and back in the starting lineup for the Cleveland Browns, suffering through a rookie season with one of the worst teams arguably in NFL history. But – Kizer, with 12 interceptions vs. four TD passes, is one of the reasons the Browns are in various “worst ever” discussions.

Trubisky threw 30 passes without an interception on Sunday, and 65 without a pick over his past two games. He’s thrown 145 NFL passes with just two interceptions, an INT rate of 1.4 percent that ranks ahead of Aaron Rodgers, Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan and a list of others. Critics of his development can have their points, but the kid has learned ball security at an early NFL age even while averaging 32.4 pass plays per game.

The next step is getting his team over the top, because he is still completing just 53.1 percent of his passes and was missed badly on a number of throws on Sunday. His deft TD pass to tight end Adam Shaheen in the first half was NFL-perfect (where his guy or nobody catches it), but his throw low and behind running back Benny Cunningham at the goal line in the first quarter forced the Bears to settle for a field goal in a game decided ultimately by three points.

Trubisky clearly gets the big picture, too, pointing the thumb and not any fingers. He paused before answering a question about his rookie learning curve:

“I think adversity is a great teacher,” he said. “Overcoming the struggle is a great teacher. There’s no rookie excuse. You don’t get a freebie because you’re a rookie.

“My teammates trust me and they have confidence in me, so I’m preparing as I should. Coaches have me prepared and my teammates have my back. New situations are going to arise every time, but there are no excuses. I’m just looking at these opportunities as chances to overcome, and not dwell on it.”

Under Center Podcast: Alex Brown goes off on Connor Barth

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Alex Brown goes off on Connor Barth

On the latest Under Center Podcast, Laurence Holmes, Alex Brown and Jim Miller break down the Bears loss to the Lions on Sunday following Conner Barth’s missed field goal in the last seconds of the game and debate whether or not Tarik Cohen should be a part of the Bears two-minute offensive packages.

Plus, if the Bears hope to keep Vic Fangio past 2017, does he need to finish out the season as the Bears interim head coach?

Listen to the full Under Center Podcast right here: