Bears

Adam Gase has these Bears on the run, in more ways than one

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Adam Gase has these Bears on the run, in more ways than one

The specifics aren’t really important as much as the overall. And while individual plays and schemes were generally vanilla, the underlying offensive philosophy wasn’t.

The ’15 Bears ran the football, just as offensive coordinator Adam Gase said they would. Interestingly, they did it in a hurry much of the time.

In Thursday’s first half the Bears went to the line of scrimmage without a huddle 16 times. Two of the snaps were nullified by penalties but that still had them running 14 of their 29 plays in the half without a huddle.

“I like it,” said quarterback Jay Cutler. “I like it a lot. It gives us a lot of time on the clock; if we want to change a play, want to go to something else, we can. I think it kind of wore the defense out as we progressed throughout the game. The way the game got going there toward the end, I think that was because we ran so many plays.”

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Gase, in line with the thinking of coach John Fox, said that the Bears will run the football. Without starting running back Matt Forte, the Bears rushed for 166 yards and two touchdowns, and, more important, did it with a balanced game plan that may be the template for 2015.

Gase stayed the course despite a spate of offensive penalties and gave the offensive line a chance to right itself. He called six run plays vs. three passes in a first quarter that saw the Bears manage just 49 yards. But the pattern was set: The first half ended with the Bears throwing on their last seven plays, in a hurry-up situation over 1:02. But prior to that, Gase sent in 11 running plays and exactly 11 pass plays.

The game planning may have been simple and intentionally non-revealing, but the overall was revealing: 33 runs, 34 pass plays, and the latter with those seven straight in the final hurry up minute of the first half.

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“All the running backs did great tonight,” said quarterback Jimmy Clausen, who played the majority of the game. “I thought they did a great job, as well as the offensive line up front, opening holes for those guys.”

Not that the past means anything, but in last year’s opening first half under Marc Trestman the Bears piled up 14 points and 197 yards but in what turned out to be an ominous foreshadowing, threw the ball 24 times and ran it just 12. Meaning: a 67-33 pass run ratio. For the Trestman regime, the ratio turned out to be 63-37.

That time, and not so much the football, is passed.

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

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NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

The great Ricky Bobby once said, “If you ain’t first, you’re last.” Talladega Nights hit a little too close to home for the Bears in Week 7.

They came into Sunday at 3-2 at the top of the NFC North. After a 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots, they dropped to the bottom of the division.

The Detroit Lions defeated the Miami Dolphins 32-21 to improve to 3-3, leaving them tied with the Bears in the cellar.

The Minnesota Vikings’ 37-17 victory over the New York Jets jumped them to 4-2-1 overall and first place in the division over the 3-2-1 Green Bay Packers, who were off for their bye week.

The NFC North remains the most tightly contested division in the NFL, the only one with no teams under .500 through seven weeks of the season.

The final standings may not be decided until Week 17, and the Bears have already blown the early season cushion they built for themselves while the Vikings and Packers were struggling.

The divisional action will pick up in November, and Chicago only has a pair of games left to put it all together before back-to-back-to-back games against the Lions, Vikings and Lions again.    

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

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USA TODAY

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

Matt Forte, Lance Briggs and Alex Brown join Laurence Holmes to break down the Bears 38-31 loss to the Patriots. What happened to the Bears defense over their bye week, and how did the special teams struggle so bad against New England? Plus – the guys debate Mitchell Trubisky’s decision making in the red zone and Matt weighs in on how the Bears should play his former team – the New York Jets – next week.

0:35– Special teams to blame for loss?

4:12– Where did the Bears pass rush go? 

5:27– Bad tackling followed Bears from Miami

7:25– Are the coaches to blame for the defense after the bye?

10:10– Evaluating Mitchell Trubisky’s game

11:55– Agree with Matt Nagy on Mitch’s “mental” game?

13:30– Trubisky’s red zone decision making

17:10– Are the Bears giving away games so Mitch can learn?

18:00– Bears need to run the ball more

21:04– Matt Forte scouts his former team, the New York Jets

Listen to the full podcast here or in the embedded player below.

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