The Chicago Bears wasted a golden opportunity to start the 2014 season on the right foot by losing to the Buffalo Bills 23-20 (OT) on Sunday. Overall the Bears looked shaky on both sides of the ball, with the defense giving up a total of 193 rushing yards to the upstart Bills running game and offense looking out-of-sync at times and turning the ball over three times (two interceptions and one fumble).
Throughout last season and into this one, Bears head coach Marc Trestman has routinely discussed the “correctable mistakes” which seen to be continually haunting the Bears defense, whether it be poor run fits, gap assignments, lack of quarterback pressure, and tackling. Sunday brought on the same results defensively, with the Bears front seven getting little pressure on Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel and like stated earlier giving up a total of 193 yards rushing. I don’t have any doubt that these are all correctable mistakes, but when can we expect to actually see some corrections? Even with general manager Phil Emery retooling the front seven in the offseason and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker employing a new scheme, the same problems remain. It shouldn’t take too many more poor defensive performances for some seats to get hot on that side of the ball.
Already Injuries An Issue
One of the biggest strengths the Bears offense possessed in 2013 was health. With the exception of quarterback Jay Cutler missing significant time, no other starter on offense did, with the offensive line unbelievably starting all five players for all 16 games. Now already after week one, injuries to key personnel like wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey (hamstring), center Roberto Garza (ankle), and guard Matt Slauson (ankle) look to inhibit an offense that has already gotten off to a poor start. Emery has worked hard to provide as much quality depth as possible, so it’ll be interesting to see if the offense can still carry a team with lingering defensive troubles.
Bad Jay Makes An Appearance
Perhaps I didn’t get as upset about quarterback Jay Cutler’s two interceptions because I may just be numb to it by now, but his second interception on 3rd and one in Buffalo territory following a timeout simply can’t happen from your franchise quarterback. Cutler left the pocket on a roll out, and with few options available he elected to force a ball back across the middle which was picked off by Bills defensive lineman Kyle Williams. At this point in Cutler’s career we all know what he is: an incredibly talented quarterback who is also prone to make mistakes. And for all the great throws and plays Cutler makes, as we say sometimes it only takes one mistake to erase a bunch of atta boys.
Unfortunately for Cutler Sunday, a whole bunch of lofty stats (349 yards and two touchdowns) will be forgotten because of two interceptions, including one, crucial mistake.
You never want to overreact about one game, but this was a game that the Bears must win if they want to seriously complete in the NFCN division. With a road game on tap next with the formidable San Francisco 49ers, and four of the next five games on the road with the lone home game against rival Green Bay, the Bears are really going to have to dig deep and get some things sorted out on both sides of the ball or risk losing a season before it even really gets started.