Bears

Against Lions, can Bears count on a three-peat from Matt Barkley?

Against Lions, can Bears count on a three-peat from Matt Barkley?

The axiomatic foundation of being a professional in any line of work is consistency, delivering a top-level performance time after time after time regardless of your mood, what’s going on at home or celestial alignments. Matt Barkley is at the point of establishing whether he indeed can qualify as a “professional NFL quarterback.”

Barkley shook off early interceptions to put the Bears in position to win late vs. Tennessee. He played a strong game last week against the San Francisco 49ers. Now?

As Ian Fleming’s James Bond once declared, “Once is chance. Twice is coincidence. Three times is enemy action.”

Barkley was given a second chance at an NFL career with the injuries to Jay Cutler and Brian Hoyer. He’s had two successful starts (the Bears would've beat the Titans if Bears receivers had only dropped five passes instead of 10). Now Barkley at age 26 starts his first game on the road, his first game against a team with a winning record and his first game with game tape that opposing defenses can study.

“You go on the road and it's a different experience for a quarterback,” offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said. “He's starting a road game. He did play a little bit in Green Bay, but he was coming off the bench and he didn't take one practice rep. Now he's got a chance to own this game plan, have a full knowledge of it, what's going into it. We're excited to see how he goes out and plays.”

He’s not the only one.

The organization’s quarterback depth chart is in a molten state. Some decisions have been made but not all of them and certainly not all of them regarding Barkley, who is in a prove-it situation after failed stops in Philadelphia and Arizona under head coaches from the offensive side of the football.

Barkley took those experiences as motivation, not failures.

“I think it made me hungry,” Barkley said. “Seeing Carson (Palmer in Arizona) work gave me a new perspective on what it means to be an NFL quarterback. Coming from a vet with his experience and how he still works his butt off every day, harder than anyone else on the team, gave me a new perspective on the position and made me hungry to want to play.”

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And the winner is ...

Few Bears seasons have been more difficult to assess than 2016, in no small part because of the personnel carousel that has started with three different starting quarterbacks. The Bears have won games with each of the three but have proved capable of unexpected highs (Minnesota) and jaw-dropping lows (at Tampa Bay).

View from the Moon operatives predicted the Bears would win the first Detroit game, which they did. The Lions have been the NFL’s best comeback team of 2016, playing 60-minute games and winning them in the final quarter. But it has been difficult to trust the Lions and quarterback Matthew Stafford late in seasons. The Lions are tied for fewest giveaways in the NFL; the Bears are No. 31 with just eight takeaways, which bodes ill for the Bears.

“That’s probably our weak link right now,” coach John Fox said. “I think it affects our scoring offense. I think it affects scoring in general. Yards are important. There’s things you look at, the indicators. But ultimately, it’s points, whether it’s on offense or defense. But it’s something that we’ve preached. It’s going to be critical in this game just like it is in all games.”

The Lions are favored. View from the Moon will stay with its early prediction, anticipate a Stafford issue (he has thrown zero interceptions in seven of his last eight games — he’s due) and call for the upset.

Bears 20, Lions 19

View from the Moon 2016 record: 7-5

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

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USA TODAY

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

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USA Today

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams. 

Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs? 

The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD. 

Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week? 

You can take a look here and see where they landed.