Bears

Three Bears necessities to a season finale win over Lions

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Three Bears necessities to a season finale win over Lions

FORTE & QUARTEY

As much as we wonder whether Matt Forte's playing his last game with the Bears, Harold Jones-Quartey could give himself the opportunity at being in John Fox's future safety mix. The head coach praised the way the Sept. 6 waiver claim put in the practice work after benching following the first meeting with the Lions, when Calvin Johnson soared over him for the 57-yard reception that set up the game-winning overtime field goal. It capped off a six-catch, 166-yard day for Megatron, who has only 11 receptions for 146 yards the past four games. And after a goal-line interception and a forced fumble last week in Tampa Bay, Jones-Quartey reiterated Friday at Halas Hall he'd looking forward to better things this time around versus Johnson.

Fox has consistent words of praise as well for Forte, one of the members of the leadership committee he meets with on a weekly basis. Forte has 1,135 career rushing yards vs. the Lions, his most against any opponent, with an average of just below 4.4 yards per carry. But only 163 of those yards have come in the last four meetings against Detroit, on 65 carries (a 2.5 average). Contrary to perception, Forte and Jeremy Langford have the exact same number of carries the past five games (65). If Forte and the offensive line can't get unleashed together against the Lions' 19th-ranked run defense, the carries may shift to Langford. There shouldn't be a reason that after churning up 174 yards on the ground last week against a top 10 "D" against the run, they can't do it again, especially behind likely center Matt Slauson and to the right, with Vlad Ducasse and Kyle Long leading the way.

[MORE: Bears-Lions - And the winner is...]

LET'S GET HORIZONTAL

No Alshon Jeffery. No Marquess Wilson. No Martellus Bennett. And don't hold your breath on Eddie Royal and Zach Miller, neither of whom practiced all week. So yes, wide receiver screens will probably still need to be in fashion and Jay Cutler had better be ready to get his timing down with Marc Mariani, Josh Bellamy, Deonte Thompson and Cameron Meredith (hey, wait, how about Rob Housler?!). Downfield shots will be minimal, if not impossible. All the more reason for the big boys to get down and dirty, get a win in the trenches for Forte, Langford, and Ka'Deem Carey, and control the clock to keep it out of the red-hot Matthew Stafford's hands, who's completing a remarkable 82.3 percent of his passes the last two games.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]

NO HOMERS FOR THE DOMERS

If the Bears have more guys on defense ready to battle through their "questionable" status than the offense's injury outlook, it'll help. And that's not just against Megatron, but the former Notre Dame teammates who've turned into deadly weapons for Stafford. Golden Tate's 86 receptions are ninth in the NFL, and Theo Riddick's 76 catches out of the backfield leads all running backs this season (a year after Forte set the single-season league record of 102). Then there's T.J. Jones, who, as mentioned in our In-Foe piece earlier this week, has snuck up on opponents in recent weeks.

** Set yourself up, one last time, for Sunday's noon kickoff by joining ex-Bears Dan Jiggetts, Lance Briggs, and Jim Miller with Chris at 11 a.m. on Comcast SportsNet for "Bears Pregame Live, brought to you by Meijer." As soon as the second quarter ends, log on here at CSNChicago.com as Jim and Chris break down the first 30 minutes and go over adjustments on "Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois Bears Halftime Live." Finally, as soon as the game goes final, flip back to Comcast SportsNet for the three former Bears and Chris with reaction, analysis, live postgame press conferences and locker room interviews on "Nissan Bears Postgame Live."

The guys will spend a good portion of the Pre- and Postgame shows giving out position grades, discuss personnel decisions with the Bears' own free agents and those available throughout the league, and analyze what this team's accomplished under the new regime over the past year. **

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

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USA TODAY

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

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USA TODAY

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.

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