Bears could play well and lose next three games to undo season 'rally'


Bears could play well and lose next three games to undo season 'rally'

ST. LOUIS – The 2015 season began badly for the Bears, with losses to three good teams (Green Bay, Arizona, Seattle), all 2014 playoff participants. Since then the Bears have righted themselves with three wins in their last five games and begun seeing results for believing that they were capable of winning.

And the 2015 season winds down with five games against teams that are a combined 16-25 with the 6-2 Minnesota Vikings among those.

“Well, we have an opportunity to be 11-5,” said tackle Kyle Long. “That's where we are right now.”

[MORE: Three Bears necessities to a win over the Rams]

But now the very real possibility exists that the Bears could go from winning three of their last five to losing their next three, even if they play well, beginning with the St. Louis Rams.

Here’s the problem:

The Bears rank 25th in points scored. They’ve scored more than 23 points just twice in the last 18 games, and only once this season, against the doormat Detroit Lions with their No. 32-ranked scoring defense.

In the next three games they face the Rams, sixth in fewest points allowed; the Denver Broncos are first; and the Packers are 10th in points scored, averaging nearly a touchdown a game more than the Bears’ 20.3 points per game.

“[The Rams are] probably one of the top two [defenses] we’ve faced so far, if not the best one we’ve seen,” said offensive coordinator Adam Gase. “Very tough front, linebackers are about as good as you can get even with (Alec) Ogletree missing time. The secondary is very challenging, match up very well with us. From the front to the back end, this’ll probably be one of our toughest tests.”

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

The problem with points production is coupled with points-avoidance, and the Rams under defense-based coach Jeff Fisher follow the template of John Fox: run the football, avoid turnovers.

But the Rams simply have done a better job executing the template. They have been out-rushed in six of eight games and before last Monday night in San Diego had gone five straight games failing to rush for 100 total yards.

St. Louis, on the other hand, are third in yards per rush (4.9) and fourth in ground yards per game (135.5), with an offense based on rookie running back Todd Gurley, standing 10th in yards from scrimmage and the only running back averaging 100 yards per game (110.7).

“You've got to be in your gaps, you got to do a good job of gang-tackling; not leave it up to one guy,” Fox said. “Team defense. Anytime you play a pretty impact player, really at any position.”

ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history


ICYMI: The Bears lose in OT, the Bulls season nears, the Blackhawks make history

The Bears suffered a heartbreaking defeat (that makes two of those), but the Bulls are days away from the start of a new season and the Blackhawks did something that has never happened before in sports history.


The Bears had a slow first half, failing to score against the shorthanded Dolphins, but picked things up in the third quarter. It all fell apart late in the fourth quarter and then again in overtime in a 31-28 defeat. Miami went up against the Bears without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, but Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three touchdowns. What does that say about the Bears' defense?

Matt Nagy was a bit chippy with the media after the game, but there were still positive signs from the offense.

Plus, Dwyane Wade was there and repped the Bears on the road.


The Bulls wrapped up the preseason Friday with a 98-93 loss to the Nuggets. Wendell Carter Jr. and Bobby Portis both showed well in the preseason finale and Jabari Parker flashed his potential as well.

With the preseason complete, Mark Strotman graded each player on the Bulls roster. You may not want to calculate the team GPA.

The roster is being finalized as well, with Ryan Arcidiacono making the team and local product Tyler Ulis getting picked up off waivers.


Saturday was an eventful day for the Blackhawks. First, it marked the 1,000th career game for Duncan Keith. Keith talked about the emotional night after the game.

As for the game itself, the Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-3 in overtime. That was the second time the Hawks beat the Blues in OT this season, adding to a 5-4 OT win in St. Louis on Oct. 6.

Unbelievably, that was the fifth straight OT game for the Blackhawks. Every game has gone to overtime this season, and not one of those has even gone to a shootout. No NHL team has done that since the league introduced a regular-season overtime period in 1983-84, per the Elias Sports Bureau. Overtimes are more rare in other sports, but that also holds true for the NBA, NFL and MLB.

The Hawks don't play against until Thursday, when the host Arizona.

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

Bears notes: Was Trey Burton’s penalty justified?

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — In a game full of pivotal moments, one seemed to irk the Bears in particular following Sunday’s 31-28 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium.

Driving on the Dolphins three-yard line, the Bears lined up in a T formation with Jordan Howard, Trey Burton and Tarik Cohen lined up left to right in the backfield behind Mitch Trubisky, who was under center. Burton motioned out of the backfield and to the right, and ran his route into linebacker Kiko Alonso.

Trubisky threw a short pass to a wide open Cohen for a touchdown, with Alonso late getting to the running back after being hit by Burton. But that score was taken off the board for offensive pass interference, with officials ruling what Burton did amounted to an illegal pick play.

“Trey did everything I asked him to do,” Matt Nagy said, sharply.

On the next play, Trubisky forced a pass into double coverage in the end zone, which was easily picked off by Dolphins safety T.J. McDonald. Miami turned that interception into eight points on Albert Wilson’s 43-yard touchdown and an ensuing two-point conversion.

The way Burton understood the rule was that offensive pass interference was only assessed on a pick play if he intentionally ran into a defender without running a true route. That’s what Burton felt he did; the officiating crew disagreed.

“I thought I ran a route and the guy ran into me,” Burton said. “I thought they changed the rule this year or last year — if you run the route, it doesn’t matter if you pick the guy or not, you’re good. Obviously they called it.”

A Rough Return

The conversations surrounding the Bears Sunday into Monday would be awfully different had a number of things happened — Trubisky doesn’t throw that interception, the Bears’ defense gets a stop, Tarik Cohen doesn’t fumble near midfield, etc. In that same group: If Cody Parkey hits what would’ve been a game-winning 53-yard field goal in overtime.

Parkey, instead, missed that kick wide right. His career long is 54 yards, which he hit last year while with the Miami Dolphins (and that was a game-winner with about a minute left against the Los Angeles Chargers).

“I had the distance, I just didn’t kick it straight enough, bottom line,” Parkey said. “But you’ve got to move on. I’ve made game winners, I’ve missed game winners. As long as I keep playing, I’m just going to keep trying to kick my best.

“… I control what I can control, and unfortunately I missed a field goal. I’d like to have that one back, but it is what it is and I’m just going to focus on the next game. That’s all I can do.”