Breakdowns were numerous and widespread, with another week without an interception by a defensive back and only two passes broken up, one of those by a backup.
Kyle Fuller continued his early season struggles to the point of being benched in Sunday’s second half after repeated big mistakes and poor play. “I still feel good,” Fuller said.
Where his situation is going forward, with a coaching veteran coaching staff with very clear grips on what makes a quality NFL cornerback, remains to play out. Fuller was named earlier in the offseason as potentially one of the building blocks of the defense; now…?
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“We’re still evaluating,” said coach John Fox. “We’ll evaluate every game as we march through the season. I just know we gave up 170 yards of penalties on downfield throws,” which wasn’t entirely accurate, since not all of the penalty yards came on opponent’s pass plays, but clearly that was how it felt to Fox.
Fuller failed to jam John Brown, being beaten off the line by the Arizona speed receiver, and then committed an obvious pass-interference penalty. Perhaps the measure of the degree to which Fuller had lost his compass was his then inexplicably complaining about the call. Fuller was later beaten on an inside move for a touchdown by Larry Fitzgerald when Fuller failed to keep his feet or get contact on the receiver.
Alan Ball, whose coverage work last week was actually respectable if coming up short on 50-50 balls, was called for a devastating 38-yard pass interference when he failed to attempt a look-back for the ball. The infraction set up Arizona’s third touchdown.
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Fitzgerald beat the Bears for a 28-yard touchdown where the closest Bear was linebacker Shea McClellin, who clearly was not assigned to cover one of the NFL’s elite wide receivers one-on-one in the deep secondary. Safety help from Adrian Amos appeared to be late in coming after the Fuller lost Fitzgerald on a flea-flicker that exploited a struggling secondary.
Fitzgerald got inside release on Fuller for a 23-yard third-down conversion in the third quarter that allowed another Arizona possession to continue. The problems branched into tackling basics in the third quarter when Terrance Mitchell and Sherrick McManis failed to get off blocks, allowing rookie David Johnson to pick through the Bears’ right side for a 13-yard touchdown.
Mitchell managed to break up one pass and is expected to be under real consideration now for a starting job.
Moon's Grade: F