Chicago Bears

Bears win some battles but lose the war to the Jaguars

02 October 2016: Chicago Bears Quarterback Brian Hoyer (2) after an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears at Solider Field in Chicago, IL. The Chicago Bears won 17-14. (Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire)
Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire

The Chicago Bears outrushed the Jaguars by 38 yards, passed for 34 more net yards, converted 41 percent of their third downs compared with 20 percent by Jacksonville, possessed the ball for over 11 minutes more than the Jaguars and used that time to run 22 more plays. The Bears also took a 13-0 lead into the fourth quarter. All of that added up to a 17-16 loss at their cloudy, damp Soldier Field home.

Brian Hoyer has thrown for over 300 yards in each of his four starts in place of the injured Jay Cutler. His passer ratings in his three starts before today were 93.7, 120.1 and 120, but the Bears only have one win to show for it. The missing link in those numbers is that the Bears have put up 71 points in his four starts, an average of 17.8 points per game.

The defense did its job of shutting down Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville offense for over three quarters. The Jaguars threatened early when, on their first drive of the game, they marched 84 yards to the Bears’ six, but on the twelfth play of that drive, Bortles threw a pass into the end zone that bounced off Allen Robinson into the hands of cornerback Terry Porter.

Jacksonville didn’t cross midfield again until the final minute of the third quarter. On three of their following four drives, the Bears’ defense held them to three-and-out.

In that time, the Bears put together three scoring drives that totaled 38 plays and covered 218 yards but only put 13 points on the scoreboard. One drive that didn’t generate points but instead came back to bite them in the end was when they took possession after a Jaguars’ punt on their own 22 with 1:47 remaining in the first half while possessing all three of their timeouts.

In one of the most inept two-minute offensive efforts of the season, the Bears ran eight plays to reach the Jacksonville 46. On fourth and 10, with only 18 seconds left in the half, they punted to the Jaguars’ nine. As for those three timeouts, they remained secure in John Fox’s pocket as he and the team headed into the locker room for halftime.

Still, even though Jacksonville began a drive with 1:53 remaining into the third quarter that would lead to their first touchdown on the first official play of the fourth, the Bears’ defense had officially held the Jaguars scoreless for three quarters.

According to pro-football-reference.com you have to go back to Week 1 of this season to find a team that was ahead by at least 13 points after three quarters and ended up losing (Diego Chargers33- 27 to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime). Even worse, or better if you’re coming at this as a Jaguars fan, you have to go back to 2006 to find a team that lost a game after being ahead by at least 13-0 after three quarters, but don’t hold the Bears’ defense entirely to blame for this failure of a game.

In the fourth quarter, the Bears still had a chance to shut down Jacksonville’s comeback attempt. On second and five from the Jaguars’ 21, Bortles was sacked by Willie Young and fumbled. Akiem Hicks fell on the ball at the Jaguars’ 28 to give the offense the opportunity to push the game out of reach.

Hoyer could only get the team to the 14-yard line, where they had to settle for a field goal and a 16-7 lead. That sequence sums up why the Bears couldn’t hold off Jacksonville’s fourth quarter comeback. For all the yards that Hoyer passed for in this game he finished with a passer rating of 78.8, there were no touchdowns this week to push that rating over the 100 mark.

There was only one touchdown in this game for the Bears, a second-quarter one-yard plunge by Jordan Howard that extended their lead to 10-0. For the game, the Bears gained 389 total yards but could only squeeze 16 points out of that production. That averages to 24.3 yards of net offense for each point scored.

Multiply that yardage by seven and you get a true picture of how pitiful the Bears’ offense was today. (Okay, it’s Sunday, I’ll do the math. That’s 170.1 yards of offense to put a touchdown’s worth of points on the board.)

Going into this game the Bears were ninth in the NFL in total offense, only 24 yards behind the New England Patriots to climb into eighth on the list. However, they were No. 28 in the league in points scored, but within a field goal of overtaking the Cleveland Browns for the No. 27 spot.

If total yards counted on the scoreboard, the Bears would be a Super Bowl contender right now. Instead, their record is 1-5 and they’re heading full speed toward a top-five draft pick in 2017.

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