The Bears run game has averaged more than 4 yards per carry over the consecutive losses to San Francisco, Washington and Minnesota. But for all of the commitment to running the football under coach John Fox and coordinator Adam Gase, the Bears have failed to establish that part of the game as a signature for the 2015 offense.
Sometimes there’s just no simple logic to it all. The Bears averaged just 3.3 yards per carry in Green Bay, tied for second-lowest average this season, yet won. They piled up 170 yards and averaged 170 against San Francisco, yet lost.
Sometimes it is a matter of imposing your will on an opponent, and the Bears simply have not done that running the football.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
Defensive lineman Mitch Unrein has been used in short-yardage and goal-line situations, but exclusively as a blocker. And the Bears have been generally successful with him as lead blocker for Ka’Deem Carey, Matt Forte or Jeremy Langford, just as they were once successful with defensive lineman William Perry lining him up as a lead blocker.
The Mike Ditka Bears occasionally handed or threw the football to Perry. Would the John Fox Bears consider Unrein catch or run with the football in an offense that doesn’t have a fullback on the roster?
He’d be on the list,” Fox deadpanned, “but I don’t know about how high up the list.”
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.
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.