Yes, it may be just one loss for the formally unbeaten Chicago Bears, but when you look at the slate ahead and the problems the team had on Sunday – suddenly the Bears do not look like the sure thing for the Super Bowl rep in the NFC anymore. Take Sunday’s shocking 31-13 loss to the Dolphins, and break down some drives and numbers and you will find that Chicago, a week after clubbing the 49’ers en route to a 41-0 halftime lead, was just plain ineffective on Sunday.
Let’s start with quarterback Rex Grossman. Having to throw a lot after falling behind, he was kept in check – going 18-for-42 for 210 yards, sacked three times, threw three picks, and one TD. His completion percentage was alarming at 42.9 percent, and he seemed out of sync all day. What did not help was losing favorite wide out Bernard Berrian on the games first possession to a rib injury. Two of Grossman’s last three games he has been poor, and if it were not for the Cardinals generous gifts that saved the Bears three weeks ago, more heads would be scratching about Grossman’s play today.
The Bears offensive line and running game never were on the same page either on Sunday. The O-line allowed Grossman to be under pressure all day, and when it tried to run block, it was poor, as the holes were not there for Thomas Jones, who ran for just 69 yards on 20 carries. Jones in two of his last three games has now run for 43 and now 69 yards. Those numbers will not translate to wins for the Bears. Also keep in mind that this week Jones goes up against the Giants, a team that in six games has allowed him just a grand total of 116 yards – 19.3 per game.
While the defense was put in tough spots all day with short fields, they also did not play up to their usual Monsters of the Midway level as well. They could not stop Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown, who went off for a career high 157 yards on 29 carries, an average of 5.4 yards per carry. While Joey Harrington was not unstoppable by any means, he stayed away from the back breaking errors for the Dolphins, and ended with three TD tosses against the vaunted Bears D.
The most glaring number had to be the Bears six turnovers. Three came on fumbles, and three on interceptions. Each was avoidable, and each hurt in their own way. Justin Gage’s fumble that was returned to the Bears 12 early in the third was huge, and then Grossman’s pick early in the fourth may have been the biggest of the game. It was after that pick that Harrington threw a TD that extended the Dolphins lead to 28-13.
Now with a showdown coming up with the Giants, the Bears are suddenly getting set for a team that has won five straight, and a team that with a win over Chicago, would be tied with them for the best record in the NFC. They say that a win cures all, this Sunday night the Bears had better find a cure for their problems – in a hurry.