Bears Grades: Another OK first half, dismal second for struggling defense

Bears Grades: Another OK first half, dismal second for struggling defense

For the second week in a row, what was supposed to be a revamped and beefed-up Bears defense failed to stifle a generally mediocre offense, getting no help from a moribund offense but in the end doing itself in with inept tackling and a lack of impact plays at pivotal times in a 29-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

“I feel like we started good,” said defensive lineman Akiem Hicks, as the Bears forced Philadelphia to settle for three field goals on deep drives in the first 30 minutes. “We had a great first half. Similar to last week [vs. Houston], we didn’t play to our capability in the second half.”

The Philadelphia offense was able to move the football with relative ease on those three scoring drives in the first half, all of which ended in field goals but each revealing vulnerability and a continuing inability to deliver stops in critical situations early in drives. To wit: The Eagles completed second-down passes for 14 and 18 yards in the final minute to ease into position for a go-ahead field goal at the end of the half.

The Eagles set something of a tone when Wentz and the offense methodically rolled off an opening drive that lasted 13 plays and 7 minutes 26 seconds, ending in a field goal because of a diving pass deflection by nickel back Bryce Callahan and a coverage sack by Sam Acho.

[RELATED: Check out the grades for the Bears offense]

Defensive line: D+

Willie Young, forced into playing primarily as an end as the Eagles schemed to keep the Bears in nickel, was a force, getting a sack early in the third quarter to force a third-and-long that the Eagles could not convert. The sack came off pressure from nose tackle Eddie Goldman. Young finished with seven tackles, two for losses.

Akiem Hicks broke up a pass to force a third-and-long that the Eagles could not convert in the third quarter. The Bears limited the Eagles to 3.1 yards per rush but could not get sufficient pressure on rookie quarterback Carson Wentz to make any impact.

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Linebacker: D

Sam Acho worked his way into more playing time last week against the Texans and was involved in impact plays Monday. He pursued Carson Wentz for a sack in the first quarter and combined with Willie Young for a key third-down stop in the second.

Jerrell Freeman delivered a massive hit on Carson Wentz off a blitz, then drew a facemask flag on the Eagles on the next play while forcing an incompletion with an open-field hit against a screen pass. Freeman was initially credited with five tackles, three for losses.

Lamarr Houston suffered a knee injury in the second quarter and was out for the game.

But Danny Trevathan struggled badly in pass coverage, allowing completions for first-down conversions and not able to get home with blitzes on Wentz.

Secondary: C-

Bryce Callahan’s diving deflection of a Wentz pass in the end zone saved the Bears from a first-possession touchdown. Deiondre Hall broke up a second-quarter toss in the end zone with a textbook break on the ball.

Cornerback Jacoby Glenn was beaten deep by wideout Nelson Agholor but recovered to break up a potential TD catch. Glenn was credited with seven solo tackles and two passes deflected.

Special teams: C

The touchdown punt return by Eddie Royal was a major positive, but the overall performance of the unit otherwise was poor.

Kickoff coverage allowed the Eagles a 30-yard return after the Bears first score while the Bears saw Deonte Thompson field a kickoff five yards deep in the end zone and bring it out only to the 14. The Bears returned four kickoffs and brought none of them as far out as the 25-yard line.

Connor Barth’s first kick as a Bear was a disaster, clanking off the left upright from 31 yards to net nothing from a positive answering Bears drive after Philadelphia was stopped and forced to settle for a field goal the possession before.

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


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


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.