Chicago Bears

The Bears entered FedEx Field with a 4-2 record hoping to push the Redskins to a 1-5 finish going into the bye week. However, in the first half of the game, Bears QB Jay Cutler goes down with a groin injury and backup QB Josh McCowen comes in to try and keep the momentum going.  It was a high scoring game but not a shoot-out as the Redskins were able to find their running game at the expense of an already depleted Chicago defense.

With this loss, the Bears will need the bye week to make numerous adjustments in all phases before the dreaded game against their biggest rivals, the Green Bay Packers.

It has been questionable all season as to whether Robert Griffin III was the Redskins future franchise  quarterback. Well, the Chicago Bears made sure he looked that way on the field allowing him to throw for 298 yards.

So with a Lions loss today and a Packer win, the Bears have fallen to the number 3 position in the NFC North division. Here are the 5 things we learned.

The defense has yet to close the gap in the open field. 

The rushing game for the Redskins exploded due to the numerous gaps setup by Bears safeties Chris Conte and Major Wright. There was a definite breakdown in coverage when Conte failed to recognize the coverage and appeared to be mismatched against the pass. Redskin’s rookie RB Roy Helu was able to run for 3 touchdowns against the Bears defense.

In a Redskins red zone play, Conte was not lined up against the rookie TE Jordan Reed. Though Conte tried to get set it was too late and resulted in a Washington touchdown. The defense did have some shining moments as CB Charles Tillman picked off Griffin , setting up one of three Matt Forte touchdowns.

Hester finally figured out how to run a return kick for a touchdown only to forget how to do it again in the second half.

Since 2011 Devin Hester has not had a return kick for a touchdown. It was noticeable that he would always try to run up the middle when his greatest strength was running to the sideline and letting his team make the necessary plays allowing him to run to the end zone.  He needs to keep this in mind going forward and trust his team to open up the running lane for him.

Backup QB Josh McCowen is not the clutch quarterback for the Bears. 

As much as coach Marc Trestman wants to talk up McCowen, there is doubt in his ability to throw the long pass needed for a clutch win in the end zone.  As an 11-year veteran McCowen did extremely well throughout the series converting 3rddowns and keeping the Bears tied up.  With 15 seconds left in the game, Trestman would have had Cutler throw a Hail Mary down the field to the end zone.

However for McCowen it seemed as if he was unsure of what to do and put himself in a position to get sacked, instead of throwing the ball. McCowen is capable of the short field throws and hand offs, but if he is going to be a clutch quarterback in this league he needs to trust his abilities and throw the ball. 

It looks like the backup position is an area that the GM Phil Emery will need to take care of in the 2014 Draft or free agency.

Offense needs to hold on to the ball.

Early in the first half, WR Brandon Marshall bobbled a ball that he almost lost but was able to hold on to.  However, it was WR Alshon Jeffries’s bobbled ball that fell into the hands of LB Brain Orakpo  and taken in for a touchdown, keeping them in the lead. This is not the first time this season that the Bears receivers have had issues securing the ball and it looked like it came back to bite them in the end. 

Specials Teams was not able to produce any forced fumbles.

In 2012 the Bears lead the league with 29 forced fumbles 7 of those in the first 7 games. So far in the 2013 season, the Bears have mustered up 12 forced fumbles well over last year’s stats.  However that was not the case against the Redskins as the Bears were unable to get the ball out on key plays.

As the Bears recuperate from bruised and battered bodies during a much needed bye week, coach Trestman will need to make much needed adjustments and inspire the team to come back refreshed and ready to take on the Green Bay Packers on the road. Hopefully, Cutler will be ready to go and the defense pumped and ready to win.