Bears Grades: Linebackers strong but worn out thanks to offense


Bears Grades: Linebackers strong but worn out thanks to offense

Another area that wore down being left on the field by a Bears offense that managed just nine minutes and 23 seconds of possession time in the second half.

Pernell McPhee registered his first two sacks, both in the third quarter, at a key momentum tipping point. McPhee also got to Marshawn Lynch in the Seattle backfield on a crucial third down in the first quarter, blowing up a short-yardage play and allowing pursuit time to get to Lynch for a stop.

McPhee finished with seven tackles, six of them solo, two for losses and four additional hits on Russell Wilson in addition to the sacks.

“I just turned it loose,” McPhee said. “Our DBs did a great job of making him hold the ball and allowed me to turn it loose and make plays.”

Jared Allen got pressure on Wilson out of a speed rush, forcing a dump-off that failed to convert Seattle’s first third down. He, McPhee and Lamarr Houston also harassed Wilson on a third-quarter third down with a hit and near-sack to save field position for the offense. But Allen was pinned inside on a third-down cutback by rookie running back Thomas Rawls for a 21-yard run when the Bears desperately needed a stop.

[MORE BEARS: Jimmy Clausen can't trigger offense in shutout loss]

Shea McClellin delivered a one-on-one, open-field stop of tight end Jimmy Graham in the first quarter, contributing to a stopped drive when the Bears needed momentum. McClellin and Christian Jones each were credited with six tackles.

Eventually the linebackers and the rest of the defense simply wore down as the offense was able to stay on the field for only 16 plays in the second half. Rawls, after one carry for six yards in the first half, had 15 carries for 98 yards in the second.

One surprise came pregame when the Bears placed Willie Young on the inactive list in favor of Sam Acho, who contributes on all special teams while Young has delivered little in his specialty, pass rushing.

“I thought our defense hung in there,” said coach John Fox. “We fought hard in the first half.”

Moon's Grade: B

NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots


NFC North standings: Bears fall to last in division with Week 7 loss to Patriots

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.    

Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots


Under Center Podcast: Bears lose 38-31 to the Patriots

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.