Second Collapse Raises Questions About Defense

| October 16th, 2018

A fumble at the one.

An interception in the end zone.

The questionable decision to settle for kicking a 53-yard field goal in overtime.

None of it would have mattered if the Bears’ much-celebrated defense had done its part.

Just about everybody who had watched this Bears defense was quick to crown them as a great unit. Some went as far as to compare them to historic units of years past. But a collapse against one of the worst offenses in the league certainly raises questions, especially because it isn’t the first time it has happened.

It’s easy to blame the heat, but that would lead one to believe the Dolphins — and likely the Jaguars and Buccaneers — are unbeatable in their element. That isn’t reality. And, if we’re blaming heat for this collapse, what do we blame for the collapse against a gimpy Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay on Sept. 9?

This isn’t to minimize the impact the heat had on the Bears players. It’s certainly conceivable that it slowed them down late. But they still should’ve been good enough to overcome it against Brock Osweiler.

Then, of course, there’s also the argument they could have prevented wearing down had they forced more three-and-outs, of which they had just two. And ironically those came at the end of the first half and the end of the second half, when the team should’ve been at its most exhausted.

A few more details…

  • On Miami’s first drive of the game, they gained 23 yards, a total that likely would’ve doubled and led to points had Albert Wilson not dropped a pass on third-and-six.
  • They should’ve been rested after the Bears had drives that took nearly 10 minutes of time off the clock at the end of the first half. The second of which resulted in the fumble at the one. A bad play, to be sure, but with this defense it should’ve have been a disaster for the Dolphins. Instead, they let Miami pick up 54 yards, nearly eating the rest of the clock before Osweiler remembered who he is and threw a bad interception.
  • Miami converted nearly half of their third downs and they certainly weren’t all late in the game — they were four-for-seven on third down in the first half.

Championship-caliber defenses don’t let this happen. It’s one thing to get smoked by a great offense or a hot quarterback. This was a backup quarterback on an offense that came into the game 28th in scoring. It really was a bad performance from the start. Fatigue is just what made it disastrous.

Letdowns happen throughout the course of a 16-game season but this is the second in five games. And they weren’t just letdowns, they were complete meltdowns.

This isn’t to suggest this defense is actually bad, or even that they’re not really good. But really good isn’t good enough for this team to accomplish something significant this season. They need to be great and they can’t let wins get away. It’s happened twice this season. It’s too hard to win in the NFL for that.

If the Bears are actually a great defense, the kind of unit we all thought and hoped they’d be, they absolutely have to eliminate these meltdowns. Once is a fluke, twice isn’t and because of it, they’re a game with Tom Brady away from being merely .500.

Quick Hits

• Before we talk about the Bears making the playoffs again, they have to beat a good team. Hell, I’d take a win over a mediocre team. We haven’t even gotten that yet.

• He’s not there quite yet, but Leonard Floyd is slowly creeping into a conversation we don’t want to have about first round picks.

• James Daniels played eight more snaps than Eric Kush. Why not just put the rookie in there full time?

• This was a great game for Mitch Trubisky’s statistics, but he certainly didn’t play great. He can’t throw that interception and he can’t repeat the mistake shortly after.

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