As many fans feared, the Bears suffered another prime time embarrassment on national television at the hands of the rival Green Bay Packers. The cheeseheads shredded the Bears defense while the offense continued its ineptitude en route to a 41-25 shellacking on Sunday Night Football.
From the opening drive of the game, this was a one-sided affair. Aaron Rodgers led the Packers offense on a 14-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up half of the first quarter and concluded with a Davante Adams touchdown reception in soft coverage. The lone bright spot on the drive was that kicker Mason Crosby missed the extra point.
The Bears followed that drive with a successful one of their own. Mitch Trubisky, in his first start since Week 3, led the Bears on a 6-play, 59-yard drive that culminated with a field goal. David Montgomery earned 57 of those yards on one play. However, in fairness to Trubisky, he tossed two pretty good balls to Cole Kmet and Allen Robinson, both of which had a chance to record a touchdown, but neither of which came to fruition.
The 6-3 score was the closest the Bears would get the rest of the game.
Bears defense gets pantsed by Rodgers
We know the Bears offense is inept. That is nothing new, and nothing good or bad happened Sunday night to change the public perception of that unit.
What happened on the other side of the ball, though, was sheer incompetence. On the next two Packers drives, Rodgers led his offense to two more touchdowns. The second drive went 75 yards on 9 plays in 5:19 while the third one lasted 13 plays and gained 80 yards in 7:50.
The Packers simply dominated the time of possession in the first half and left the Bears offense with next to nothing.
Allowing long drives and chunk plays has been a staple of this Bears defense for much of the season. But they’ve always seemed to hold opponents around 20 points or less.
On Sunday, however, the defense let the Packers hit the scoreboard early and often.
The Packers racked up 393 total yards including 182 on the ground. They had 28 first downs, 0 turnovers, and a whopping 37:44 to 22:16 edge in time of possession. Rodgers only attempted 29 passes, but he completed 72% of those and finished with a strong 132.3 passer rating.
At one point in the game, former Colts coach and NBC color commentator Tony Dungy said the Bears defense had essentially given up. It takes a lot for a coach, even a former one, to lay that claim. But I think he was right.
Trubisky lays an egg in return
I don’t think players should ever give up on a game or a season. It’s their job to play through whatever feelings they might be exhibiting. But I wouldn’t blame the defense for being tired and frustrated given the offense’s continued ineptitude.
Trubisky picked up right where he left off earlier in the season with continued erratic play. He made a few nice throws, including passes his receivers should have caught. But then he also forced a number of other throws, was picked off twice and lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.
Trubisky finished with 242 yards passing, three scores plus the two interceptions. His numbers were inflated during the second half when the Packers defense played soft coverage. Still, despite the padded stats, he finished with a lowly 74.7 passer rating.
Trubisky’s legs came in handy on a number of plays when he evaded the Packers’ pass rush and picked up some yards on the ground. But his lack of awareness reared its ugly head as well, most notably the interceptions but also on a play when he was flushed from the pocket and chose to step out of bounds for a loss instead of throwing the ball away.
In all likelihood, Trubisky will remain the Bears starter moving forward. At 5-6, it doesn’t make sense to switch back to Nick Foles when he gets healthy. I’d like to say that this gives Trubisky the opportunity to play through his mistakes and learn from them. But if he hasn’t learned from them in Year 4 of his career, will he ever?
Bears will limp into December for a stretch run
I’ll admit that I expected the Bears to go 1-4 against the likes of the Rams, Saints, Titans, Vikings, and Packers. So, going 0-5 is not that shocking.
But I did not expect them to be as bad as they have been during that slate of games. The Bears have averaged during their 5-game losing streak just 17.6 points and 296.6 yards per game — both numbers that are worse than their season averages and that rank them above only the Jets in abysmal failure.
Most of those opponents are good, I will admit. But there’s no excuse for tripping over themselves and doing a face plant.
The going gets easier, it would appear. But to what benefit? The Bears face the Lions (4-7), Texans (4-7), Vikings (5-6), and Jaguars (1-10) before getting one more crack at the Packers to close the season. All of these teams are beatable, but the Bears are just as capable of losing them.
If the Bears swept their December opponents and headed into the final week with a 9-6 record, the outlook would dramatically change for that Packers rematch on Jan. 3.
But given what we’ve seen during their 5-game losing streak, is there any reason to feel optimistic about the Bears going on a December win streak against opponents even as bad as the ones they have on deck?
I have my doubts.