Bears

Bears Grades: Fox, staff adjust during win over Chargers

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Bears Grades: Fox, staff adjust during win over Chargers

The line between execution problems and coaching issues is never easy, and the number of mistakes on offense in Monday’s first half was alarming. Penalties, seemingly poor communication, and mistakes at crucial times all came together to waste a constant stream of possessions into the San Diego end.

Adam Gase stayed on message without running back Matt Forte, with 16 runs vs. 17 pass plays in the first half, then necessarily tilting toward the run in the second half when the Bears were behind by two scores. The play design on the Bears’ first TD was superb, with Martellus Bennett run-blocking hard at the snap, then curling into a vacant area of the San Diego end zone.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

San Diego receivers were running uncharacteristically free early as Bears coverages appeared to be exploited by a passing offense that didn’t need any help. But in the fourth quarter the defense dialed up alignments with fresh personnel that enabled the Bears to sack Philip Rivers twice.

Special teams were efficient with the exception of two missed field goals. Both punt and kickoff returns improved field position while the Chargers were able to do no more than fair catch two punts.

Moon's Game Grade: B

 

Special teams has had their nightmares as players have failed to execute coverages in addition to committing too many penalties. But the overall has been a change of culture in all three phases and a team that has gone 3-2 since that opening stretch of Green Bay-Arizona-Seattle.

Adam Gase adhered to a run-based offensive philosophy without being a slave to it, coaching with an offensive line scrambled weekly and without wide-receiver continuity ever since Kevin White’s stress fracture.

[MORE: MNF win over Chargers a 'starting point' for Bears playoff run?]

Vic Fangio has had to make the change to the Bears’ 3-4 with myriad moving parts, losing linemen Jeremiah Ratliff and Ray McDonald to non-football issues and Ego Ferguson to injury. The pass rush is inadequate but the players have a very strong belief in the scheme and directives.

A team is what its record is and the Bears are 3-5. But they believe they should be 5-3, have bought into what the coaching staff is teaching, and that mark or better in the second half of the season is a very real possibility.

Moon's Mid-year Grade: A-

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

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USA TODAY

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.