Bears

Bears Grades: Defense gets Colts QB Andrew Luck down but far from out in loss

Bears Grades: Defense gets Colts QB Andrew Luck down but far from out in loss

INDIANAPOLIS – Sacking Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck five times was supposed to be the starting point for a win over the Colts. It wasn’t. And when the Bears needed to stop him at pivotal points, they couldn’t, which is the stuff of which losses in which a team allows 29 points are made.

The Colts scored the first four times they had the football, and it didn’t really ultimately matter that three of those four times they were forced to settle for field goals. None of those possessions lasted fewer than six plays and the Colts netted 396 yards – the third time in five games that the Bears (1-4) have allowed 340 or more yards, and the fourth time in five games that they Bears have allowed 23 or more points.

Including last season, the Bears have allowed nine of their last 10 opponents to score 21 or more points.

“We just have to keep plugging away,” said linebacker Willie Young.

Defensive line: D

Against an Indianapolis offensive line that has struggled this season, the lack of pass rush was glaring in the first half but got a little pickup when Akiem Hicks collapsed the pocket for a takedown of Luck in the third quarter. But no one was anywhere near Luck a play later when he converted a third down with a 19-yard pitch-and-catch.

And while Mitch Unrein contributed four tackles, no defensive lineman was consistently a factor stopping the Colts, who averaged 4.7 yards on 21 rushing attempts.

Hicks had a tackle for loss among his three tackles. Jonathan Bullard produced his first NFL sack on an ensuing third down to force a fourth Indianapolis field goal. Pressure on Luck improved dramatically in the second half but the Bears were unable to finish plays with wins up front.

[MORE BEARS GRADES: Offense produces big numbers but commit errors at worst times in loss to Colts]

Linebacker: C

Young gave the defense a first-quarter sack in a series with the Bears sorely needing a stop, and added a second in the second half to force the Colts to settle for a field goal. Young finished with three sacks, the first three-sack day of his career.

Sam Acho and Christian Jones worked on the edges in nickel packages. Ex-Colt Jerrell Freeman, credited with seven tackles in initial statistics, hit and pressured Luck into a throwaway that was short of the line of scrimmage for a grounding penalty.

Danny Trevathan returned from thumb surgery wearing a plastic cast on his hand and totaled six tackles.

Secondary: D-

The Bears were beaten for a deciding touchdown in the fourth quarter when safety Chris Prosinski appeared to leave the deep middle open with no help for cornerback Jacoby Glenn on T.Y. Hilton’s 35-yard TD that broke the Bears back. But the Colts had schemed to draw Prosinski away and Glenn allowed Hilton an inside break that was virtually impossible to defend.

“[The Colts] drained the safety [Prosinski] with the ‘out’ route and left the corner singled up, and the quarterback made a great throw,” said coach John Fox.

Coverage was generally pretty good against a good Colts passing game but that was wasted because of absent pass rush. When the rush started getting to Luck in the second half, coverage had too many windows of Colts opportunity.

Prosinski was substituted in for Harold Jones-Quartey in nickel packages. “That was just on third down,” Fox said, “but it was performance-based.”

Prosinski finished with eight tackles. Cornerback Bryce Callahan was credited with six stops before leaving with a hamstring strain. Cre’Von LeBlanc was credited with two pass breakups.

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Special teams: D

Connor Barth was wide left from 49 yards, a crucial third-quarter kick when the Bears needed points to answer a Colts score, and he remains a significant concern with (2-4) field goals for a team that will be in close games all year. The miss left the Bears in the position of needing a touchdown at the end of the game rather than being able to get close enough for try at a tying field goal and getting into overtime.

Roy Robertson-Harris was flagged for running into the punter but the Bears were spared because the play still left them in fourth down. Deonte Thompson gave an early boost with a 32-yard runback of the opening kickoff to set up a possession that ended with Connor Barth’s 35-yard field goal.

Coverage allowed a 39-yard Colts kickoff return in the second quarter allowed a punt return of 20 yards. Colts kickoff returns averaged 24.3 yards.

John Fox says Bears had worst offseason in the NFL

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ESPN

John Fox says Bears had worst offseason in the NFL

John Fox is now more than a year removed from his tenure with the Chicago Bears, but he still has some strong opinions about the team.

Fox, now an NFL analyst for ESPN, fired a shot at the Bears during a segment of NFL Live on Monday. Fox was among a panel asked which team had the worst offseason in the NFL. Fox chose his former employer.

"I think when you're going to play defense, you're going to lean on your takeaways to help a young offense and you don't have a kicker, a reliable kicker that you're going to need those points from after some of those turnovers," Fox said. "I think the kicking question is really big right now in Chicago and I think that might be a problem going into the season."

That is sure to earn some eyerolls from skeptical Bears fans who weren't happy with Fox's 14-34 record with the Bears.

Fox wasn't the only one to pick the Bears. Damien Woody, who won two Super Bowls with the Patriots as part of his 12-year career, actually picked the Bears before Fox.

"I think losing Vic Fangio... is huge," Woody said. "That Chicago Bears defense, it literally fueled their offense. It's the identity of the Bears and when you lose a talented defensive coordinator like that, I think there's going to be some slippage there."

 

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Why 'Turbo' Taylor Gabriel fell in love with the slow-paced game of golf

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USA Today

Why 'Turbo' Taylor Gabriel fell in love with the slow-paced game of golf

Plenty of NFL players will use the league’s mandated five-week summer break to play a little golf as a way to relax and recharge for the grind of training camp and regular season. But you won’t find many players who take golf more seriously than Bears wide receiver Taylor Gabriel. 

Which is a little ironic on the surface, right? Gabriel’s nickname is “Turbo,” after all. 

“Yeah, that’s very weird when I think about it,” Gabriel laughed. “It’s not a sport to where you’re running and jumping, and I wouldn’t say not doing anything really athletic — it’s more mental than anything. 

“But I feel like it kind of helps me football-wise in the sense of kind of focus. Like dialing in on that swing, keeping that same swing rhythm pattern, not getting too frustrated after I just sliced a drive or go O.B. on the driver. So it’s helping me.”

Gabriel had played sporadically earlier in his life, and said his father golfs, but didn’t get hooked by the sport until last April while watching Tiger Woods win the Masters. He bought his first set of nice clubs after that remarkable weekend in Augusta and frequently posts videos of his swing to his Instagram account.  

So it’s become a serious hobby of his — “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t practice,” he said. It’s also something he and his wife do together. 

Though he admitted his wife is a better golfer than he is. 

“She’s not trying to crush the ball, she’s not trying to do too much, but she keeps that consistent same rhythm, same swing, same follow-through every time,” Gabriel said. “Me, I might see the hole is probably 180 (yards) out, I mean, I just want to crush it on the green. And that’s when everything goes wrong.”

Still, for someone who’s only been seriously golfing for about two months, that Gabriel said he can consistently hit his drives 240 yards is rather impressive (being an exceptional athlete, certainly, has to help). But this isn’t some casual love affair with golf — it’s a legitimate way for Gabriel to take his mind off football while staying sharp mentally and doing something he’s quickly grown to genuinely enjoy doing. 

“It’s relaxing, just playing 18 holes — I’m a walker, I like walking,” Gabriel said. “Eighteen holes kind of figuring out your swing, what you did wrong, you know what I mean, just being on the golf course, relaxing, the atmosphere. But at the end of the day I’ve been doing pretty good. I’ve been hitting them pretty straight, I’ve been putting them pretty good, so I guess I’m catching on quick. 

“But every time I ask a golfer, I mean, how long did it take for you guys to get a consistent swing, they say 20 years. I mean, I got that to look forward to.”