Bears

Loss to Broncos leaves a bitter sting as Bears repeat deadly pattern

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Loss to Broncos leaves a bitter sting as Bears repeat deadly pattern

The NFL cliché is that all games are must-win and there is no such thing as a bad win.

But there are indeed “bad” losses and Sunday’s 17-15 loss to the Denver Broncos was very much one of those, a strangely inept performance, at home, after two road games, and “this one really stings,” said guard Patrick Omameh.

The sting was intensified because it came on a day when the Bears’ two primary rivals – Green Bay and Minnesota – were playing each other, meaning that either way, if the Bears won, they were going to gain ground on one and keep pace with the other.

It stings because since starting 0-3 with losses to good teams while they were still in a molten state themselves, the Bears have now lost three games that were theirs for taking with a play in a fourth quarter – which they failed to make against Detroit, Minnesota and now Denver. A team that had begun to pride itself on its identity as fighters and finishers did not do enough of either on Sunday.

[MORE: Cutler, Bears come up just short against Osweiler, Broncos]

“[The Broncos] are a good team but we let it get away from us,” said quarterback Jay Cutler, who checked out of the initial call to the run play that failed to punch in the tying two-point conversion with 24 seconds to play. “There have been a few games where we lost the fourth quarter and we have felt like we were right there.

“We put this game in the same box as those.”

Instead, the Bears are in a box now, despite sacking five times an opposing quarterback in Brock Osweiler making his first NFL start, and not being flagged for a single penalty, while being given 118 yards in walk-off’s by the Broncos.

Instead of putting themselves back at .500 and possibly even a game within Green Bay (the Packers and Vikings played after the Bears), they effectively took a giant step toward rendering extinct any real chance of winning their division and a playoff berth with it.

“We got a game in four days,” tackle Kyle Long said of playoff chances now. “Talk to me after that.”

Some focus will be on the decision of coach John Fox to eschew a field goal at fourth-and-goal from the Denver 4-yard line with 10 minutes to play. The play missed when running back Jeremy Langford was unable to get his feet under him for a leap at a high Cutler pass.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Some focus will be on Cutler checking out of that initial call on the two-point conversion, with tight end Martellus Bennett appearing to run a pass route while safety T.J. Ward streaked around the Bears’ left side to bring down Langford short of the goal line. Some will be on a Bears defense giving up 170 rushing yards to a team averaging 86 coming in.

All of the second-guess’able specifics, however, don’t obscure the bigger, more dire reality.

“We needed to win today,” Tracy Porter said. “That just heightens the game for Thursday. We have to win that one as well just to keep our name in the hat. We're gonna need some help, but we can only take it one game at a time.

“This was one game that we didn't do the things that we needed to do."

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

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USA TODAY

Trey Burton, Adrian Amos earn Bears’ top grades from Pro Football Focus for Week 7

The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.

It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.

Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.

Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.

Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.

On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.

Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.

Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

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USA Today

NFL Power Rankings Week 8: Jags, Eagles, Bears all see stock fall

Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams. 

Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs? 

The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD. 

Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week? 

You can take a look here and see where they landed.