Bears

Bears O-line struggles continue with penalties, breakdowns

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Bears O-line struggles continue with penalties, breakdowns

One initial overarching specific issue is that the 2015 Bears have not solved their issues at right tackle, and Saturday’s performances only appeared to amplify rather than clarify the situation. And it wasn't just at right tackle.

The unit had holding penalties called on three of the five starters, effectively stopping drives with long-yardage situations the Bears could not convert. Costly penalties remain a concern on top of poor play at right tackle after three preseason games for an offense with nearly zero margin for error without its projected top four wide receivers.

“We made it hard on Adam [Gase, offensive coordinator],” said quarterback Jay Cutler. “We’ve got a lot of stuff to clean up inside. I know the offensive line’s not happy with their performance. Anytime we seemed to get a little rhythm going, seemed like we pushed ourselves back, so it makes it hard.”

[MORE: The good (and bad) standouts from the Bears' loss to the Bengals]

Charles Leno Jr. was beaten badly on an inside counter move by defensive end Carlos Dunlap for a 10-yard sack in the second quarter. Leno was flagged for holding in the second quarter, effectively ending the offense’s chances for something productive out of that possession as well. Jordan Mills was inserted in the third quarter with the No. 2 offense and was beaten easily for a sack of Jimmy Clausen on an outside rush by linebacker Chris Carter. Adding to the problems, Mills was called for holding in the fourth quarter. Michael Ola, who started at four different positions along the line in 2014, moved in at left tackle with the No. 2 and managed to get out in front of a sweep-left with an efficient cut block. It would not be a long stretch to envision Ola getting a sustained look at right tackle when the Bears conclude the preseason next Thursday at home against the Browns.

The offense was on something of a drive late in the first quarter but a holding penalty on left tackle Jermon Bushrod stalled the possession. Bushrod, bothered by a back problem this week, did not appear to be completely over whatever the condition was, being overrun on bull-rushes on both a run play and pass protection that blew up plays… Kyle Long added to the hold-fest with one of his own in the third quarter.

The line broke down in multiple spots to allow a seven-yard sack of Jay Cutler in the second quarter, a loss that ultimately led to the Bears settling for a field goal in the closing seconds of the half, their only offensive points for the game.

“We gave Leno a good shot with the 1’s tonight,” said coach John Fox. “So we’ll evaluate it and make whatever decisions we deem best moving forward.”

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

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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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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.