Chicago Bears (2-9) finish 5 yards from chance at game-winning extra point against Tennessee Titans (6-6)
- First Downs: Bears 25 , Titans 18
- 11 dropped passes by Bears receivers
- DeMarco Murray: 17 CAR, 43 Yards Marcus Mariota: 15/23, 226 Yards, 2 TDs, 126.4 QBR
Everyone but the Chicago Bears have given up on their season. 19% of ticket buyers aren’t bothering with even coming to the game, according to the Chicago Sun Times. All their biggest names on offense are sidelined with one ailment or another; Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery, Zach Miller, Kyle Long, Josh Sitton, Leonard Floyd, and Jerrell Freeman were all out of the team sheet for the Sunday afternoon matchup. This was the Bears’ first home game since the Halloween victory over Minnesota. Tennessee, meanwhile, has alternated wins and losses for the last 5 weeks, struggling to mount a challenge for the AFC South. The offense has been on fire, scoring 31.3 points per game since Week 5, but their defense has let them down in some of their losses. A trip to Chicago should help them get back on track, considering the Bears are the only team that hasn’t scored 24+ points in any game this season. The Midway Monsters are missing many men on defense as well, which should leave DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry wide eyed and rearing.
While Chicago has managed to bring the penalties down, they are still dreadful to watch. The stat sheet reads like a Chicago football eulogy. 2 giveaways, 0 takeaways, 0 sacks, 11 dropped passes, by my count. As a fan, it was misery, but as a coach, it was a one possession game! Considering the injuries, John Fox couldn’t have asked for a better opportunity to put away a 20 point comeback. Early in the game, Jordan Howard foreshadowed the finish by dropping a check-down pass with no one between him and the goal line. As usual, Chicago only played one half well and, going into the locker room down 21-7, that half had to be the final one. The fourth quarter arrived and the Titans had failed to get in the end zone on two red zone trips, increasing the lead to 27-7 in the process. After two excellent drives that combined for 28 plays and 8:51 of game clock time, Matt Barkley marched the blundering Bears right down into the red zone with under a minute to play. Barkley then made some of the best throws of his career, under pressure from the defensive line. First, Josh Bellamy dropped the game-tying touchdown, then Deonte Thompson repeated it three snaps later. That’s just football. Sometimes nothing goes your way. Sometimes enough goes your way to give you a chance, but then you accidentally drop the ball in the end zone twice in a row. It happens.
Positive Takeaways from Titans @ Bears
Matt Barkley wasn’t a total disaster. He didn’t face a stingy defense, and while he did make some poor decisions, I thought he made some really high-level throws.
The offensive line kept him upright for nearly 60 minutes. He was hit after the release a couple times, but Tennessee was unable to sack Barkley. Aboard the receiving carousel is Marquess Wilson. The fourth-year wideout from Washington State returned from injury last week to make his first catch of the season. This week he was a favorite target of Matt Barkley, catching 125 yards worth of passes and landing in the end zone on one of his 8 catches. The Titans did rack up almost 150 rushing yards, but some of that is a result of the dual-threat presented by Mariota. On 17 carries, DeMarco Murray was held to just 43 yards against a tenacious front seven.
Negative Takeaways from Titans @ Bears
Obviously, the epidemic that debilitated the hands of Chicago’s receivers is extremely costly. After the game, Coach John Fox said, “Those guys fought hard and did a lot of good things. There were some good catches, as well as drops.” For a team that has little hope left in terms of results, Fox doesn’t seem to be bothered by the fact that two opportunities to win the game slipped through their hands. Confusion in the secondary allowed for success over the middle for Mariota. There are a number of injuries as well as a few really young guys in the secondary, so chemistry and adaptability was lacking for Tracy Porter’s supporting cast. Danny Trevathan’s injury was certainly another negative. He limped off in the fourth quarter during a key defensive stop with a knee injury that has been revealed to be a ruptured patella tendon. The Bears have placed him on the injured reserve, adding yet another starter to the list.
What’s next for Chicago? A funeral?
Somber tones resonate over the calendar for a winless November, but hope is on the horizon. For the first time all year, Chicago will face a team with a lower win percentage than themselves. The San Francisco 49ers are next for Chicago, though the matchup does have its quirks. Chicago failed to contain Marcus Mariota on multiple occasions, and next week they face another mobile quarterback in Colin Kaepernick. Roster moves will continue to flow from Halas Hall, too, so this week of practice will likely have some position competitions taking place. After Week 13, NFC North members will get last pickings of Chicago with a visit from the Washington Redskins along the way.