JACKSONVILLE JAGUARSRECORD: 2-3
DIVISION RECORD: 1-0
NEXT OPPONENT: Oakland Raiders
LOCATION: Soldier Field, Chicago, IL
BETTING LINE: CHI -2.5
DIVISION RECORD: 1-0
NEXT OPPONENT: Green Bay Packers
FINAL LINE SCORE
|Top Passer||Blake Bortles||20/33, 271 Yds, TD, INT, FUM|
|Top Rusher||Chris Ivory||11 Car, 32 Yds, TD|
|Top Reciever||Allen Hurns||5 Rec, 74 Yds|
|Top Defensive Player||Paul Posluszny||10 Solo Tackles, 1 AST|
PLAYER OF THE GAME
PAUL POSLUSZNY (MLB – #51)
PLAYER STATS: 10 Solo Tackles, 1 Assisted Tackle, 1 TFL
While neither offense really posed a daunting challenge to the opposing defense, Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny was exceptional in containing Chicago. He was dominant in the middle of the field, preventing Chicago’s speedy receivers from picking up yards after the catch. The run game was stifled, too, thanks in large part to Posluszny. Bears rookie RB Jordan Howard averaged just 2.3 yards per carry on 15 attempts, his lowest of the season. While Chicago dug themselves a hole on offense, Paul Posluszny did a great job of making sure they didn’t climb out of it.
|Top Passer||Brian Hoyer||30/49, 302 Yds|
|Top Rusher||Ka’Deem Carey||9 Car, 50 Yds|
|Top Reciever||Cam Meredith||11 Rec, 113 Yds|
|Top Defensive Player||Willie Young||3 Solo Tackles, 2 Sacks|
JACKSONVILLE POSITION GROUP RATINGS
OFFENSIVE LINE: 4/10
The gameplan was likely not designed to survive off of the run, as it shouldn’t with the likes of Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns out wide. Nonetheless, the run game opens up the air, and Jacksonville’s run blocking was atrocious. Bortles was quick to get the ball out when passing, as he likely knew he didn’t have much time.
Blake Bortles struggled at times to paint the corners. He didn’t take many shots down the field, so his completion percentage fared well. Before the weekend, Bortles had expressed his desire to play more freely. He displayed his comfort level when it counted, moving the ball well when his coaches put the game in his hands and allowed him to work.
The return of Aaron Colvin provided Jacksonville with just enough quickness to contain the Bears talented receiving corps. DB Jalen Ramsey was under heavy fire from Alshon Jeffrey in the first half, but rebounded out of the locker room for a spectacular second half. WR Cam Meredith was able to continue his good form, but not enough to damage Jacksonville.
For the fourth time this year, Chicago failed to put four quarters of decent football together. Last week against Indianapolis, the offense was mostly successful, apart from giving up points in the red zone. Penalties drained the momentum from drives, ultimately leaving a one-score deficit at the end of regulation. This week, the defense maintained a shutout for about two and a half quarters. Jacksonville drove deep into Chicago territory as the 3rd quarter expired, which began their 17-3 fourth quarter run. In a fast paced league wanting for defense, Chicago’s 30th ranked scoring ability just won’t win many games.
Jacksonville has a lot of negatives awaiting them in the film room as well, but they got the W. Offensively, Blake Bortles missed some makeable throws and his receivers dropped some catchable balls. The run game was largely ineffective, though credit is due to Chicago’s front 7. Defensively, the Jaguars resemble the Bears, with much of the talent residing in the run-stopping big men. Both secondaries sat back, hoping to force the quarterback to hold the ball just a second too long. Chicago was able to get to Bortles on multiple occasions, forcing a fumble from a scrambling QB. Jacksonville was unable to get to Hoyer consistently, ultimately saved by 10 Chicago penalties.
I predicted the game to finish 23-10 to Chicago. One touchdown swing puts Jacksonville on top 16-17. Both teams have room for improvement, but Chicago has little time for it. Division rival Green Bay, provoked by a loss at home to Dallas today, awaits at Lambeau on Thursday.
CHICAGO POSITION GROUP RATINGS
OFFENSIVE LINE: 6/10
Hoyer was well protected from a talented Jacksonville defensive line. Rookie Cody Whitehair was the only lineman designated by the referee, though the holding call was highly questionable. Detrimental to the offense, however, was the death of the run for Chicago. RB Jordan Howard has exhibited great vision and strength, but there were too few holes to see and too many tackles to break through.
FRONT SEVEN: 8/10
Even in the absence of starting DT Eddie Goldman and 9th overall pick DE Leonard Floyd, the Bears run defense continues to thrive. Jerrell Freeman and Willie Young bottled up rushing attempts from T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory for most of the night. Forcing Jacksonville to be one-dimensional was likely a major focal point for defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
SPECIAL TEAMS: 8/10
Not to be overlooked, specialists Pat O’Donnell and Connor Barth did their jobs on Sunday afternoon. O’Donnell downed 4 of 6 punts inside the 20, averaging 43.5 per. Barth was true on all three field goals and an extra point, inching his way towards relieving fans of the bad taste left by the Robbie Gould situation.
Back-to-back weeks with 10 penalties (and more yards lost from them than any other game) is frustrating. The mental errors are weeded out by the great coaches, and I’m just not seeing that level of discipline. Perhaps it’s a bit harsh for a staff working with such a young roster, but between the flags and poor game management, the coaches are as much to blame as the numbered roster.