Bears

Presented By Mullin
Bears

It probably shouldn’t have come down to the fourth quarter on Sunday, when the Bears offense failed to put the Jacksonville Jaguars away on numerous early chances. But it did, and the Bears’ defense finally gave way and allowed the Jaguars 17 points over the final 15 minutes for a 17-16 win over the reeling Bears.

The Bears had thoroughly controlled Jacksonville through three quarters, allowing just nine completions in 19 attempts by quarterback Blake Bortles, 2.5 yards per rush attempt and zero points. Then came the fourth quarter, in which Jacksonville scored 17 points, posted 10 first downs and piled up nearly 150 yards on a unit that could be excused for feeling abandoned by its offense.

“Our job is to keep playing defense,” said end/linebacker Willie Young. “That’s what we’ll continue to do. I’m sure the offense will continue to play offense. And, when we get the consistency down, I think we’ll be in good shape.”

No hint at when that consistency may be showing up, because after six games in which the Bears have held no opponent to fewer than 17 points, you at some point really are what your record says you are.

Jacksonville utilized two tight ends frequently, allowing the Bears to work in their preferred 3-4 base defense, and the Bears responded by holding the Jaguars to 97 yards in the first half, aided by a consistently inconsistent and inaccurate Bortles.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

 

But with the offense failing to convert third downs in the second half (none of four in the fourth quarter), the defense eventually cracked just enough for the Jaguars to slip by.

“It just seems like we just have to put things together,” said safety Harold Jones-Quartey. “We have to finish. We have to put a whole game together on offense, defense, special teams. We just all have to come together as a team and finish games out.”

Defensive line: B     

Young is listed as a linebacker but was effectively a defensive end again in both base and nickel personnel, and delivered his fourth sack in the last two games in the first half. He added a second with a strip-sack in the third quarter, forcing a fumble that Akiem Hicks recovered. The offense, however, settled for a field goal.

Linebacker: B-    

Jerrell Freeman contributed five tackles and a forced fumble while Danny Trevathan added four stops and were keys to Jacksonville backs netting just 53 yards on 17 carries.

The status of Leonard Floyd remains a franchise concern as the rookie No. 1 pick was again inactive with an injury (calf), leaving the depth chart thin with Sam Acho and Christian Jones starting outside in the 3-4 base. Neither delivered sufficient pass-rush impact, although Jones was able to block a third-quarter pass and Acho had a tackle for loss and one hit on Bortles.

Secondary: C+

The secondary was solid through most of the game but for a couple of late breakdowns. Tracy Porter gathered in a ball mishandled by Jags wideout Allen Robinson in the end zone, Porter’s second interception of the season and double his total of 2015.

But Porter slipped while covering wideout Arrelious Benn late in the fourth quarter, allowing the former Illinois receiver to score the game-winner on a 51-yard completion. Porter injured his ankle and had to be helped into the locker room by two Bears staffers.

“When I came out of my break, I knew he had slid a little bit, and I had to get down and catch the ball,” Benn said. “I got up and knew he was behind me. I knew he didn’t touch me.”

Bryce Callahan led the Bears with six solo tackles before leaving with a hamstring strain. Jacoby Glenn was called twice for pass interference and added a block-in-the-back infraction on special teams.

Special teams: C     

Connor Barth pushed the wolves a step back from his door with a 36-yard field goal for the game’s first points.

The Bears allowed another long punt with shaky return handling, with a Jacksonville punt landing un-caught and taking a huge forward bounce, ultimately covering 59 yards in the third quarter.

 

Pat O’Donnell was solid with six punts average 43 yards net. Eddie Royal managed a nine-yard punt return but the Bears lost an 11-yard Royal return because of the Glenn infraction.