By Greg Gabriel–
(CBS) The Bears’ 20-12 loss to the Saints on Sunday was a game Chicago certainly could’ve won.
Alas, the Bears didn’t, hurt by too many mistakes.
On the Saints’ opening possession, the Bears missed a tackle on a short pass play to Brandon Coleman that turned into a 54-yard gain. On a field-goal attempt later on the drive, Kyle Fuller lined up offsides, giving the Saints a first down. New Orleans followed with a touchdown for a 7-0 lead.
The Bears’ second series ended when a quality drive stalled for a field goal. Later, Connor Barth missed a 48-yard field goal, and the what could’ve easily been a 10-10 game at halftime was instead a 14-3 lead for the Saints.
In the third quarter, one of the worst calls I’ve ever seen hurt the Bears. What was initially ruled as a 25-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Trubisky to Zach Miller was overturned on upon video review. What clearly should’ve been a touchdown instead turned into another Bears field goal.
The Bears should be receiving a call from the league office early this week letting them know that the ruling was wrong and the play should have been a touchdown. Of course, that call will be too little, too late for a team that needs real wins, not moral victories.
With just more than two minutes left in the game, the Bears recovered a Mark Ingram fumble. Trailing 17-12, they failed to capitalize, in large part because their play-calling was poor. Facing third-and-1 and with one of the best short-yardage backs in the league in Jordan Howard, the Bears ran back-to-back pass plays that resulted in incompletions for a turnover on downs.
The sequence was a reflection of how horrible the Bears offense is. The wide receiver corps is weak in part because of injury and the Bears are playing with an inexperienced rookie quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky, but those still aren’t excuses for the production we’re seeing. The play-calling from offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains leaves the Bears as predictable as they come. With no imagination, it makes it easy on foes.
The Bears didn’t have to look far Sunday to find exceptional play-calling. The Saints have one of the best offenses in the league, in large part because every play has options to it so that New Orleans can come back to it in another form later on. The Saints look to take advantage of mismatches and consistently looks for weaknesses in their opponent’s scheme and players. The Saints are well-balanced and unpredictable.
Trubisky has the physical and mental talent to become a special quarterback, but he’s not going to come close to that with the way the Bears are running the offense. Loggains may be a good quarterback coach, but he’s proved to be a below-average play-caller to date. When everyone in the building knows what’s coming, he has to adjust.
The defense is easily strong enough to be a playoff-caliber unit, but less predictability in the offense is desperately needed if the Bears are going to take the next step.
Greg Gabriel is a former NFL talent evaluator who’s an on-air contributor for 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter @greggabe.