Chicago Bears fall to the Bronco’s, but defense kept them alive til’ end
If you take out the first drive of each game, the Bears defense would have to be among the best in the NFL. The Bears let the Broncos carve right through them on their first drive of the game for an easy touchdown. That makes it four of the last five games in which the Bears defense has allowed a touchdown on the opening drive. It took just over 90 seconds and four plays for the Broncos to march 74 yards into the endzone in Sunday’s 17-15 win over the Bears. What made matters worse was it was also Denver quarterback Brock Osweiler’s first career start.
“That s–t will make you mad, man,” Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee said after the game. Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas – clearly Denver’s top threat in the passing game, especially with fellow receiver Emmanuel Sanders sidelined with an injury – found himself absolutely wide open in the middle of the field and broke a tackle from Bears safety Chris Prosinski en route to a 48-yard TD. After the game, Bears head coach John Fox said he didn’t want to play “the blame game,” but admitted they left Thomas uncovered and the defense just didn’t execute. “We lost our minds for a second,” Bears linebacker Shea McClellin said. “Sometimes that happens. Sometimes we get confused. We have to clean that up.
“We have to start faster than that. We haven’t done a very good job the last three or four weeks. We just have to correct it. It’s that simple.” Fox, McPhee and the rest of the Bears defense admitted they needed to make adjustments on the sideline and felt as if they were able to following the initial touchdown. After that drive, the Bears allowed just 10 points and also stopped the Broncos on a fourth-and-1 inside their own two-yard line. The Bears have allowed 28 points in the last five opening drives. But in 52 other drives over the past five games, the defense has allowed just 74 points (an average of 14.8 points per game). That means roughly a quarter of the points the Bears have allowed the last five games have come on the opening drives. Considering the Bears lost three games by a grand total of eight points in that span, those opening drive TDs are a killer.
“You don’t want to say ‘settled in’ because when that ball’s kicked off, it’s game on. Period,” Prosinski said. “We’ve just got to get off to a faster start, really lock in and stay focused.”
– TONY ANDRACKI