So far this year, road games have been an absolute disaster for the Bears. Critics will point out that Mike Glennon is largely to blame for the debacles in Tampa Bay and Green Bay. That might make sense when you see those games and see the way that Glennon played. I thought since Glennon knew the Buccaneers from having played for them, he would stand a better chance than most, to go into Tampa and beat them. But exactly the opposite happened. Perhaps Tampa knew Glennon’s short-comings too well, not the other way around. Or maybe I put too much faith in one person, that being Glennon, to turn the Bears fortunes around, after witnessing Jay Cutler’s ineptitude for the last 8 years.
The much simpler fact is this. No one person can impact a game of three separate units comprised of 11 men each, to control their job performance and get them to play without mistakes and with greater energy than the other team. There is the defensive unit, special teams and the offensive unit. The quarterback only leads the offensive unit and he is only one of eleven.
The Bears will go into Baltimore this Sunday at noon, against one of the best defensive teams for the last two decades running. They will go into this game carrying with them a 10 game losing streak on the road. So that means that Mitch Trubisky will attempt to do, what the last 4 quarterbacks with much more experience, could not, and that is lead the Bears to victory on the road, against a quality opponent no less. Jay Cutler is the last to do it, two years ago, not last year before he got hurt. His replacements, Brian Hoyer couldn’t do it before he got hurt and Matt Barkley couldn’t do it either, in the last several games of last season.
There is a larger problem here. One man doesn’t make that much of a difference. The team as a whole, has been very bad. Now I thought with another year of experience under these coaches and with more depth from the personnel department, the Bears would turn the corner, sneak some victories in the first half of the season and start stacking wins in the second half, when the schedule gets a lot easier. That is going to be much tougher than I originally thought or expected, heading into the season. The depth at receiver and linebacker is already gone after 5 weeks. The offensive line, which was expected to be a strong point, has been damaged by injury as well and players like Kyle Long, who were expected to be ready when the season started, haven’t been. The result is the inconsistent mess that has been tortuously thrashed and man-handled in it’s two early road losses so far. These road losses were clearly embarrassing and disheartening for the coaching staff and front office. That is why the plan to go with Glennon, no matter what, was so quickly abandoned. The feeling around Halas Hall was that clearly, Glennon had lost the team in the locker room, even if the turnovers weren’t totally his fault.
Against both the Bucs and Packers, defenders came virtually unblocked to sack Glennon and knock the ball loose, that is on the offensive line as well. Each game featured a fumble each, by Tarik Cohen, fielding a kickoff and Jordan Howard, who was running hard as usual. Both games featured one terribly thrown pass by Glennon, that was picked off. And against the Packers, wide receiver Deonte Thompson, inexplicably, stopped running his route, only to see the ball sail into the arms of Packer safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. That’s no joke. After that game head coach John Fox said there would be changes and it took a week, but Thompson has been cut and Trubisky is starting for the rest of the year, most likely.
Now the last loss for the Bears against the Vikings was a mish-mash of blown opportunities, penalties and just all around bad play, that you would expect from a game quarterbacked by two backups leading banged up offenses. But that seems to be the NFL these days, parity has given way to attrition. In order to win on Sunday, the Bears simply need to clean up their many mistakes and try and give the rookie Trubisky some support with more effort and consistency. Why that is harder to do on the road, is the great mystery of the league. Maybe the road is the great equalizer that brings down good teams , while elevating the poorer home team.
Baltimore 21-20, in a defensive game. The team that makes the most mistakes losses, that’s usually the Bears. That said, this is a winable game for the Bears that Baltimore’s offense won’t escape. Can Loggains and Trubisky learn to win. Can Fox pull enough strings to trick his team to victory? He almost did it against the Vikings.
Offense, 3 turnovers; 1 missed field goal, Barth 2-3 fg’s
Howard, 15 rushes, 64 yards, 1 TD, 1 fumble
Cohen, 8 rushes, 60 yards, 4 rec. 70 yards
Miller and Shaheen, 6 catches, 50 yards, 1 TD
Trubisky, 18-27, 220 yards, 2 TD’s, 2 int’s, 3 rushes 24 yards
Defense, 2 sacks, no turnovers and gets run over
Baltimore control’s ball 34 minutes;
Buck Allen 20 rushes 116 yards 2 TD’s, 3 rec. 34 yards
Flacco, 22-30, 260 yards 1 TD