By Dan Bernstein —
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) There were 10,145 people who bought tickets to see the Bears play the Lions on Sunday but decided not to use them. These are likely some smart folks, realizing that their respective afternoons would be better served elsewhere, and it was almost double the number of no-shows from last week despite much more welcoming November weather.
It looked like there was going to be extra football played for those who made the trip, as Bears rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s mad fourth-down scramble gave his team a chance to tie at the end of regulation, but Connor Barth’s 46-yard field goal never had a chance.
To call it wide right would be a disservice to the description that often presumes that it was just pushed outside the upright or carried askew by a late gust of wind. This kick was WAY right, far-right, outflanking Roy Moore sitting on Sean Hannity’s shoulders while wearing an InfoWars T-shirt and firing his pistols at a picture of Colin Kaepernick. It never had a chance, misstruck like the kind of drive that has a golfer pointing toward the trees as the gallery scatters.
It was a 27-24 win for the Lions at Soldier Field, and another one off the Bears’ schedule that noted familiar themes of this team’s struggles as it fell to 3-7.
Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains seemed to rediscover the man he once described as their most dangerous playmaker, as Tarik Cohen was involved early and often, apparently not kept on the sidelines due to whatever defensive personnel did so against the Packers. He had nine rushes for 44 yards and a flying touchdown, and he added four receptions.
But he was nowhere to be found in the deciding two-minute drill. Come to think of it, neither was Adam Shaheen — who awakened with four receptions of his own that included a touchdown — nor Jordan Howard despite having rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown. If the assignments and responsibilities are so difficult as to preclude the participation of three critical players, something is either wrong with the offensive package, the person teaching it or both.
Coach John Fox did his part on that drive, too, by allowing critical time to bleed off the clock for no discernible reason and then declining to try to get Barth closer with eight seconds left. A lack of understanding of how to manage his sideline — both the clock and replay challenges — will be a notable memory of his tenure whenever it comes to an end, the irony being that those are rare things we can actually identify as something Fox does, and he’s often bad at them.
Very Bears was a devastating injury suffered by a critical and developing star player, as Leonard Floyd was the latest to be carted off the field after what looked like a torn-up knee. That can happen to anybody, we know especially this season, but to have the hit delivered by a teammate makes it signature occurrence for this team. Kyle Fuller may have been unable to come through when dropping two sure interceptions, but this time he made the play with a perfect hit on Floyd, throwing yet another first-round pick into uncertainty.
Trubisky made some throws and missed some throws, made some good reads in the option game and some bad ones, protected the ball and kept some plays alive. It’s hard to tell the extent to which he’s developing in these small individual snapshots.
The loss sunk the Bears to 3-13 in divisional games under Fox, a full season’s worth of incompetence. Fox is also 8-18 in games decided by eight or fewer points, further indictment of both his conservative bent and the margin for error shaved away by a lack of talent on the roster.
This is right where the Bears are, and it’s understandable why an increasing number of fans would rather not be there with them.