The Bears dropped their third-straight game in a 24-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. The defeat leaves them just a game above .500 with one more remaining until their Week 11 bye.
You knew things were not going to transpire well when an offensive line already beset by injuries and poor play was hit by cases of COVID-19. The Bears trotted out Arlington Hambright at left guard, Alex Bars at center, and Rashaad Coward at right tackle, with just Charles Leno at left tackle and Germain Ifedi at right guard as the constants.
The Bears managed a pitiful 56 rushing yards with an average of 2.8 yards per carry, and the line gave up three sacks. Nick Foles finished with 335 passing yards, but slung the ball 52 times as the team was playing catch-up the entire game. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that the offense got anything going. But by that time, the Titans defense called off the attack dogs and played to protect the lead.
Defense showed up, but wasn’t enough to make a difference
You can win ball games with a defense as good as the Bears’, but only with an efficient quarterback and a strong run game. The Bears are learning the hard way that they don’t quite have that formula in place.
The Bears defense, by almost all measures, played fine against the Titans. Sure, you can nitpick and point to a big play or two that they gave up, such as the 40-yard touchdown bomb they allowed to A.J. Brown that put them in a 10-0 hole.
But they gave up just 17 points, with the other touchdown coming from the Titans’ defense. They also held Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill to 158 yards passing, they sacked him three times, and they held Derrick Henry — the league’s No. 2 leading rusher — to just 68 yards on the ground with a 3.2 yard average.
Once again, the offense gave them zero help. That’s an all-too-familiar recurring theme this season.
The Bears are presently No. 7 in points allowed with 21.1 per game. Offensively, they’re fifth-worst, scoring just 19.8.
It is inexplicable how their offense is letting this good defense go to waste.
Bears meeting expectations with schedule
Yes, the Bears have dropped three in a row and have temporarily fallen out of the playoff picture with a 5-4 record.
But that was expected. When the schedule was released in the spring, I had them marked down as losing these games against the Rams, Saints and Titans. So, by schedule alone, it’s not unexpected that they’re in the midst of a losing streak.
What’s more disconcerting, though, is how pathetic the offense has been. If they can’t average more points than their defense allows, how are they going to win any more games?
The Bears have a very winnable game, albeit not a gimme, next Monday night against the Vikings. A week after facing Henry, the Bears face the league’s leading rusher in Dalvin Cook. The Vikings do allow a lot of points, giving up an average of 29.3 points per game. The Bears could do themselves well beating another division opponent and heading into their bye with a 6-4 record.
But if they extend their losing streak to four games, they’ll limp into the bye at .500, with a looming battle against the Packers in Week 12. It could go downhill in a hurry from there.