Coaches for the first time did not commit to the run at least 25 times this year, in part because the Bears ran their second-fewest plays (56) of 2015 and for a chunk of the game the offense needed to overcome a two-score deficit. And for too much of the game the offensive line was unable to establish a consistent edge against the Washington front.
[MORE GRADES: Quarterback ¦ Special teams ¦ Coaching]
Matt Forte tied his lowest number of carries (10) for the season but managed to average 4.5 yards per rush, with no run longer than 10 yards. Forte scored the Bears’ tying touchdown on a seven-yard burst inside and added eight yards on his one catch while dropping the other ball thrown to him by Jay Cutler.
Penalties (four) on the offensive line and one on wideout Marc Mariani contributed to too many second- and third-and-long situations that forced the Bears out of their plan to run at the Washington defense.
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“It’s a team sport and there are a lot of factors that go into it,” Forte said. “Whether it’s penalties that keep us behind, we get into a position where you’re second-and-20-something, there’s no play call for that situation.”
Jeremy Langford was given more carries (11) than Forte and netted 37 yards, the 3.4 yards per carry being his second lowest when carrying at least 10 times.
Moon's Grade: B
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.
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.