Why did Bears abandon the run in second half?


Why did Bears abandon the run in second half?

Monday, Sept. 19, 2011
Posted: 10:22 a.m. Posted: 4:00 p.m.

By John Mullin Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
Missing two of its top three wide receivers (Earl Bennett, Roy Williams) and two starting offensive linemen (Gabe Carimi, Lance Louis) and playing in one of the NFLs most difficult venues against an accomplished blitzing defense, the Bears and Mike Martzs offense ran the ball not just badly, but barely, and with what are now becoming predictable results.

The 12 rushing attempts by the Bears tied the second-lowest total in franchise history, a mark the Bears have reached on four previous occasions. The head-shaker here is that the Bears ran exactly twice in the entire second half, Matt Forte once, Kahlil Bell once, while calling 29 pass plays over the final two quarters.

The rationale will be: The escalating deficit on the scoreboard dictated that the Bears throw in hopes of quick scores. But the inexplicable fact is that the score was 16-13 after one Bears possession in the third quarter. At that point Martz had called 23 pass plays (one resulting in a 12-yard Jay Cutler scramble) and nine Forte runs.

The New Orleans edge jumped to 23-13, still not out of reach or cause for abandoning a game plan, after the next Chicago possession.

That was the one on which Cutler was sacked and stripped of the ball, setting up the Saints offense at the Chicago 29, from where the Saints scored five plays later.

Three of those five New Orleans plays were runs.

Second-guessing is always easy. But the Bears trailed by 10 points with half of the third quarter and all of the fourth in front of them. Yet a shaky offensive line missing two starters was put in a position of trying to hear as well as trying to pass-protect, and the Bears could have lost far more than the game.

Blocking it out

All of the sacks of Cutler came after right tackle Carimi had left the game with a knee injury, suffered in the late moments of the second quarter when he was rolled up on during a play. The Bears one significant run, Fortes 42-yard rush in the first quarter, came around the right side.

Exact responsibility for sacks is often difficult to determine, without knowing protection calls or assignments. Not all of the six sacks of Cutler came over Carimi replacement Frank Omiyale, or over Chris Spencer, filling in for injured right guard Lance Louis.

Indeed, the most devastating blow to Cutler came when defensive end Turk McBride effectively sprinted right past tight end Kellen Davis to hit Cutler from behind and force a fumble that was the turning point of the game.

Davis also turned Atlantas Lawrence Sidbury loose virtually untouched last week and the Falcons defensive end delivered a blow from behind as Cutler released the ball, leaving Cutler momentarily stunned.

Talkin' Bears

We'll make our usual Monday visit with my Springfield boys on WFMB-AMSportsRadio 1450 at 4:40 p.m. And Tuesday morning I'll check in withDave Eanet on WGN-AM 720 for some more Bears happnin's. BTW, it'salways an honor to spend time with a Hall of Famer, and Dave is - hisplay-by-play work for Northwestern is a Chicago gem.

Duly noted

The coverage breakdown by Major Wright that cost the Bears a 79-yard TD pass to Devery Henderson on a third-and-12 situation could cost the young safety his starting job. Wright was beaten deep, something that is supposed to never happen in the Lovie SmithRod Marinelli Cover-2 scheme.

The immediate decision on Wright may in fact make itself. Wright was forced to leave the game with a head injury, did not return, and likely will be held out at least a week, as is becoming more of a policy in the NFL after head injuries.

Brandon Meriweather was out of the game at that point and veteran Chris Harris was inactive with a hamstring injury. Rookie Chris Conte arrived too late to attempt anything other than a diving tackle, which missed, but the fate of Wright will have to play out following what will not be pleasant film session.

John "Moon" Mullin is's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Mike Trout says Browns will win more games than Bears in 2018

Mike Trout says Browns will win more games than Bears in 2018

Los Angeles Angels superstar Mike Trout is quickly becoming an icon in American sports. The two-time American League MVP is enjoying another dominant season batting .335 with 23 home runs and 48 RBI.

On Tuesday, he took a swing at what Bears fans may consider a shocking NFL prediction.

“I’ve got the Browns having a better record than the Bears,” Trout told a radio reporter, according to the Los Angeles Times. Trout's comments were made in response the reporter "talking up" Chicago.

Both the Browns and Bears have had productive offseasons that involved headline-grabbing acquisitions on offense. Cleveland drafted QB Baker Mayfield with the No. 1 overall pick, traded for WR Jarvis Landry, signed RB Carlos Hyde and drafted a backfield mate for him in Georgia's Nick Chubb. They added potential lockdown corner Denzel Ward with the fourth overall pick, too. Add all that to a motivated Josh Gordon ready to contribute for a full season, and there's good reason to be excited in Cleveland.

Still, it's hard imagining Trout can be that confident in a team that's won only one game over the last two seasons. And let's not forget what GM Ryan Pace has done this offseason, one that's been praised by analysts from all corners of the NFL universe. From new coach Matt Nagy to free-agent WR Allen Robinson and all the skill players in between, the Bears are ready to make a legitimate run in the NFC North.

Trout doesn't strike out much in the major leagues, but this prediction feels like it could be a back-straining whiff.

Is Matt Forte pushing for a coaching job with the Bears?

Is Matt Forte pushing for a coaching job with the Bears?

Is former Bears star Matt Forte going to be the team’s new running backs coach?

For now, that’s Charles London’s job, who was hired to head coach Matt Nagy’s staff earlier this year.

But on Tuesday night, Forte tweeted that he would like a coaching spot with Chicago sometime in the near future.

Serving as evidence, the now-retired running back responded to a tweet from ESPN’s Adam Schefter, which announced the Broncos’ hiring of former linebacker Demarcus Ware as a “pass-rush consultant on a part-time basis.” Forte tweeted at the Bears, saying that he is “available” to take on a similar role to Ware’s new Denver gig.

Forte’s tweet was relatively cryptic, and he never specified exactly what type of job he would want with the Bears. After finishing up a storied career this past season and solidifying his name as a Bears legend, Forte has proven that he could easily coach young running backs or even wide receivers at some point.

But isn’t this all just a joke?

Forte silenced the doubters by tweeting “I wasn’t joking” as a response to an article saying that his desire for a new occupation with the Bears was simply a gag. The former workhorse was also intrigued by a fan’s tweet asking “Coach Forte??”

The mere thought of having Forte back in Chicago with the Bears’ coaching staff sent fans on Twitter into a frenzy. In April, Forte came back to Halas Hall to ink his name on a one-day contract, successfully allowing him to retire as a Bear. Now, Forte wants a lengthier stay in the Windy City.

Ware’s role with Denver is not extensive by any means and, according to Schefter, he will work a pretty scattered schedule with Broncos players. What Forte’s role would look like with the Bears is completely unknown if his plan to coach becomes a reality.

Forte has the running back credentials to take on a coaching position. In eight seasons with the Bears, Forte racked up a combined 8,602 rushing yards, second to only the great Walter Payton. Forte’s 4,116 receiving yards as a running back, 12,718 yards from scrimmage, 24 games with 100 rushing yards and 25 games with at least 150 yards from scrimmage also ranks second behind Payton.

Maybe this will be a new development in Chicago’s offseason plans, but there is no real talk of bringing one of the team’s all-time leading rushers back to the team as of right now.

Last month, NBC Sports Chicago announced Forte will be joining the network as a Bears game day studio analyst for the upcoming 2018 NFL season. And we're not joking about that.