By Dan Durkin-
(CBS) So, what exactly have we learned about the Bears during their two-game winning streak? They can come back from 10-0 deficits against last-place teams and eventually beat them 21-13.READ MORE: At Least 29 People Wounded In Weekend Gun Violence In Chicago, 5 Killed
On a day when former Chicago coach Lovie Smith made his first appearance at Soldier Field in nearly two years, the Bears out-Smithed his Bucs by winning the turnover battle. At the root of those turnovers was the careless play of another former Bear, quarterback Josh McCown.
In the third quarter, the Bears converted back-to-back McCown turnovers into 14 points. Obviously, you never apologize for points in the NFL, but the Bucs did everything they could to give this game away, which is a common characteristic of two-win teams — they find ways to lose.
For the Bears, it’s hard to feel confident about where this team is. Their offense was supposed to be their strength, but it struggled once again and was bailed out by the defensive line, which bullied the Bucs’ offensive line en route to 13 quarterback hits and five sacks.
It’s never a good sign when the punter is your team’s most effective offensive weapon through one half of football. Pat O’Donnell’s first punt traveled 51 yards, which nearly eclipsed the Bears’ total offensive output of the first half (68 total yards).
For the sixth straight game, Chicago’s offense didn’t score a first-quarter point. And for the third time in five weeks, the Bears offense was shut out in the first half. They didn’t run a single play in the Bucs’ red zone until the third quarter.
“Dropped balls, penalties, tipped balls — all of that,” Bears coach Marc Trestman said. “As I said to the guys at halftime, there was no one guy. We passed it around to everybody. You just can’t be efficient playing football that way, especially when you’re dropping footballs and you have penalties.”
It seems as though Brandon Marshall’s talk of speaking positive things into existence has permeated through Halas Hall. For the past three weeks, both quarterback Jay Cutler and Trestman have routinely talked about starting fast on offense.READ MORE: 3 Men Injured In River North Parking Garage Shooting
There’s just one problem — it isn’t happening.
“It’s hard to get in a rhythm playing like that,” Cutler said. “We had some penalties, we had some drops, I missed some throws. Put all those things together, you aren’t going to perform very well.”
Through 11 games, the offense has yet to eclipse 28 points. Scoring 21 points in this league isn’t going to cut in on most Sundays. You saw what happened to the Bears when they fell behind against good teams in the Patriots and Packers.
They got buried.
It just so happens that for two straight weeks, they’ve come across inferior opponents. Credit Chicago for taking care of business at home, but it’s hard to feel that things are on the upswing for the now 5-6 Bears.
Though Cutler disagrees with that point of view.
“We’ll take two straight wins versus anybody regardless of record,” Cutler said. “I think it’s good. Gets the confidence going. Get this team believing we’re the team that started this season.”
You mean the same team that lost to the Bills to start the season? That team wasn’t that good either. And the team that won Sunday was simply less bad than the worst team in the NFC.MORE NEWS: MISSING: Kyrin Carter, 12, Has Autism, Last Seen In Hammond, Indiana
Dan Durkin covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @djdurkin.