By Chris Emma–
(CBS) Every quarter the Bears play feels like it’s one fewer until there’s major change at Halas Hall. The clock is ticking on this season and perhaps the head coaching tenure of John Fox.
A 31-3 pummeling by the Eagles on Sunday in Philadelphia brought the Bears back down to rock bottom – right where they left off a year ago. The Bears’ disappointing defeat served by the Brett Hundley-led Packers two weeks ago signified a missed opportunity, and the loss to the Lions that followed meant there would be no contention in the NFC race. Sunday’s game that dropped Chicago to 3-8 was especially disheartening.
It marked the 31st loss in Fox’s 43 games coaching the Bears, and this one may have been the worst of them all. There’s a large sample size of bad but none quite like this, an inept showing on all three phases by a team from which more was expected. This is a season in which organizational growth was expected around rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, and there’s little evidence to be found.
This 2017 season was supposed to mark progress under the veteran Fox’s watch. He was hired three years ago this January to oversee a roster overhaul and provide a platform for growth. The Bears are a far cry from where they hoped to be by now.
Facing an aggressive defense, the Bears posted just 140 yards of offense. They never adjusted as the Eagles swallowed up the running game and forced Trubisky into coverage. The Bears finished the game with just six rushing yards and found their little success offensively in late-game garbage time. At halftime, they had 33 yards and zero first downs.
At this point, one can only wonder whether Trubisky can develop into the kind of quarterback Carson Wentz has become. Trubisky is left desperately trying to make something happen with an offense that features unimaginative play-calling and lacks a quality supporting cast.
The Eagles built the league’s top offense around Wentz by adding playmakers at receiver and creating a stable at running back. If only the Bears still had Alshon Jeffery, who hauled in a touchdown catch on a beautiful strike from Wentz. Jeffery is just what Trubisky needs at receiver – a big target who can use his size and athleticism to create space in coverage. The Bears don’t have anything near his caliber in their offense.
The Bears defense is a top-10 unit when players are healthy, but the continued absence of linebacker Danny Trevathan has taken a toll. Losing Leonard Floyd means the pass rush is virtually non-existent, with Wentz sacked just once on the afternoon.
New kicker Cairo Santos provided the Bears with their only points of the game, hitting a 38-yard field goal in the third quarter. There was no choreographed celebration on the visiting sidelines, just a lot of heads hanging.
By the fourth quarter, the Bears looked entirely dejected. The Eagles hadn’t even played their best game, but it was still a complete blowout. The Bears were sloppy, posting nine penalties for 56 yards, and often disorganized on both sides of the football. It was the reflection of poor preparation.
Where do they go from here? Five more games remain for the Bears, and another 3-13 campaign isn’t out of the question with more efforts like that. Fortunately for the McCaskey family and those hoping to save face, the 49ers and Browns remain on the schedule for games to be watched by few fans at Soldier Field.
This season for the Bears was already lost — and now could spiral out of control.