Bears

Must-win games ahead on Bears' schedule

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Must-win games ahead on Bears' schedule

Three straight losses have left the Bears decidedly on the outside of the playoffs looking in. They are not playing well enough of offense to offset bonehead mistakes and have gone from 7-3 and in control of a wild-card to a longshot. Only the 1979 team lost three in a row and still reached the postseason. This team will need a lot of losing help in Atlanta and Detroit.

Sept. 11, Atlanta Falcons (8-5) -- W 30-12

Jay Cutler puts up 107.8 passer rating to go with Matt Fortes 158 total yards. Defense holds Matt Ryan and Falcons O without a TD.
Sept. 18, @ New Orleans Saints (10-3) -- L 13-30

Forte nets 166 total yards but Mike Martz eschews the run, Cutler is sacked six times, five in the fourth quarter.
Sept. 25, Green Bay Packers (13-0) -- L 17-27

More Martz mystery: nine run calls for Forte net two yards, Aaron Rodgers controls the game and the ball for 37 minutes 29 seconds.
Oct. 2, Carolina Panthers (4-9) -- W 34-29
Forte runs for 205 yards, Cam Newton passes for 374 yards and Panthers rush for 169. Devin Hester punt return and D.J. Moore INT provide winning points.

Mon. Oct. 10, @ Detroit Lions (8-5) -- L 24-13

Big plays and poor plays get safeties Chris Harris and Brandon Meriweather benched. Defensive collapses overshadow dismal OL play.
Sun., Oct. 16, Minnesota Vikings (2-11) -- W 39-10

Cutler throws 48 yards for TD to Hester on third play from scrimmage and Hester goes 98 yards with a KOR while defense sacks Donovan McNabb five times, once for a safety.

Sun., Oct. 23, noon @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-9) -- W 24-18 (London)

Bears intercept four passes, get out to a 21-5 but then fade in the fourth quarter on both offense and defense, the latter against an offense missing both top RBs and others. But a W is a W.

Oct. 30, Off week

Mon., Nov. 7, 7:30 p.m. @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-8) -- W 30-24

A halftime lead, then a fall in the third quarter before 13 unanswered points in a statement win. Forte uncharacteristically loses 2 fumbles but rushes for 133 yards, Cutler throws two TD passes and defense makes stops to finish.

Sun., Nov. 13, 3:15 p.m. Detroit Lions (8-5) -- W 37-13

The offense scored seven, the defense 14 and special teams 16 and all three stood up to occasional thuggishness from assorted Lions. Pulls the Bears even with Detroit in the standings as Lions lose three of four and Bears now have four straight Ws.
Sun., Nov. 20, 3:15 p.m. San Diego Chargers (6-7) -- W 31-20

Cutler breaks the thumb on his throwing hand and long snapper Pat Mannelly lost for the season with torn ACL. Philip Rivers hands away fifth straight game as defense produces three turnovers in the second half and Bears win their fifth straight.
Sun., Nov. 27, 3:05 p.m. @ Oakland Raiders (7-6) -- L 25-20

Caleb Hanies first NFL start begins badly, with three first-half INTs and poor decisions. But 175 passing yards in the fourth quarter bring the Bears to within an onsides kickoff recovery of going for the win.

Sun., Dec., 4, noon Kansas City Chiefs (5-8) -- L 10-3

The loss of Forte to a knee injury lowlights one of the more dismal overall games of 2011 for a Bears team that had the playoffs within reach but has played its way into jeopardy.

Sun., Dec. 11, 3:05 p.m. @ Denver Broncos (8-5) -- L 13-10 OT

Marion Barber goes out of bounds to give Broncos time to tie at the end of regulation, then fumbles to cost Bears a chance at a winning FG, which Denver makes of his gift. Tim Tebow fourth-quarter passing stuns the defense.

Sun., Dec. 18, noon Seattle Seahawks (6-7) Next: BEARS

Seahawks have won four of their last five and are very much a threat, particularly with Marshawn Lynch one of the top rushers in the NFL over the last six games.

Sun., Dec. 25, 7:20 p.m. @ Green Bay Packers (13-0) Next: at Kansas City

Not even a knee injury to Greg Jennings saves the Raiders from a 30-point annihilation. Packers havent lost a game since Dec. 19 last year. Aaron Rodgers has offense in overdrive and if defense is even just slightly above average, perfection is within reach.

Sun., Jan. 1, noon @ Minnesota Vikings (2-11) Next: vs. New Orleans

Getting 28 points on Detroit without Adrian Peterson was impressive but Vikings have nothing left except start planning for next years draft. New Orleans coming in wont make life any easier.

Under Center Podcast: Chris Simms fixes the Bears

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USA Today

Under Center Podcast: Chris Simms fixes the Bears

Laurence Holmes is joined by NBC Sports NFL analyst Chris Simms live from radio row in Miami as they try to fix the Bears. They also discuss what the Bears can learn from the San Francisco 49ers and their head coach Kyle Shanahan.

(1:57) - How to fix the Bears/Trubisky

(6:54) - What would he tell Mitchell Trubisky

(9:24) - What people don't understand about Khalil Mack

(11:44) - Kyle Shanahan is a football genius

Listen here or in the embedded player below.

Under Center Podcast

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Bears' odds to sign Teddy Bridgewater just got better

Bears' odds to sign Teddy Bridgewater just got better

When Bears GM Ryan Pace selected quarterback Mitch Trubisky with the second overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, he referred to future Hall-of-Famer, Drew Brees, as the kind of passer he envisioned the former North Carolina product becoming. After three underwhelming seasons under center in Chicago, Trubisky's fallen way short of those expectations. It's unclear whether he can even become an average starter at this point.

The 2020 offseason is expected to bring competition for Trubisky and it's most likely to come via free agency. Pace will have an opportunity to tap into the Brees-led Saints quarterback room to find that competition, as all three passers (Brees, Taysom Hill and Teddy Bridgewater) are scheduled to hit the open market.

The reality, however, is that only one of the three will likely be available. According to Fox Sports' Jay Glazer, it'll be Bridgewater.

RELATED: Top 30 free agents of the 2020 NFL offseason

Brees will call his own shot; if he wants to return to New Orleans, he will. And while Bridgewater played well enough to warrant a starting opportunity in 2020, he'd also serve as the perfect starter-in-waiting for the Saints. But that player is Hill, who Glazer said New Orleans views as a legitimate franchise quarterback.

This is actually great news for the Bears. Of the three Saints quarterbacks, Bridgewater would make the most sense as a target for Chicago. He'll turn 27 next season and still has several years of high-level play remaining in his arm. In the 2019 regular season, Bridgewater started five games (he went 5-0), completed nearly 68% of his passes, and threw for 1,384 yards, nine touchdowns and just two interceptions. 

Is Bridgewater an elite player? No. Is he a franchise-changing quarterback? No; but that's not what the Bears are looking for. Instead, Pace needs to sign a veteran who is consistent and reliable enough to support an elite defense with enough points to win. Trubisky's failed mightily at that, and Bridgewater proved in relief of Brees in 2019 that he's not only capable of it, but he can thrive in that role.

Bridgewater's projected market value is a three-year, $60.1 million deal (or $20 million per season) per Spotrac. It may seem like a lot of money to pay to a quarterback whose signing wouldn't come along with a guaranteed starting job, but when combined with Trubisky's $9.3 million salary in 2020, as long as the Bears receive quality play from whoever their starting quarterback is, the cost will be in line with those teams that have respected starters on their payroll.

It's possible Bridgewater won't sign with a team that doesn't promise him the starting job. But is a promise even needed with Trubisky being the only roadblock in Bridgewater's way? It wouldn't take long for him to distance himself at the top of the depth chart, and maybe, once and for all, the Bears can enjoy some Saints-like quarterback play. 

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