The Ugly: Ball Security and Penalties
This was the most frustrating part of the game. The Bears’ inability to score points on offense or their inability to come off the field in key situations on defense came because of dumb penalties, turnovers, or dropped passes.
Granted, some of the penalties called were questionable. However, things like that happen to teams who are generally undisciplined. On the Vikings’ second touchdown drive, the Bears committed two personal foul penalties on third down that extended the drive.
The first one was a questionable one on Teez Tabor. He was called for a low block penalty even though it was clear that he dove to make a tackle. It was third and 18 but the penalty gave them an automatic first down.
Later during the drive, the Bears stopped Cook for a two-yard loss on a third and three. However, Trevis Gipson decided to hit a Vikings player right in the presence of an official. That gave Minnesota another automatic first down. A few plays later, the Vikings got a touchdown to make the score 17-3.
The penalties also happened on offense. Teven Jenkins, making his first career start, had trouble with penalties. He had three of them called on him. He tends to lean when making a block. That makes him unbalanced and when a defender moves, he ends up having to grab to keep him away from the quarterback.
Jenkins also had a personal foul trying to protect Fields. FIelds was pushed out of bounds on a play that was perfectly legal. From Jenkins’ point of view, though, it looked iffy. He went over to yell at the Vikings player. He then pushed someone and hit the player on the facemask. While it was commendable for him to protect Fields, he took it too far. Yelling and screaming and a push were enough to get his point across.
The Bears need a tough and nasty offensive lineman but Jenkins needs to keep it in check and not let his emotions get the best of him.
For the game, Chicago had nine total penalties for 91 yards. It is very difficult to win games when you commit that many penalties.
There were a number of drops as well. Jimmy Graham dropped a pass in the end zone that would have made the score close. Damiere Byrd dropped an easy pass from Fields on fourth down that killed a drive in Minnesota territory. These things continue to happen with the Bears.
Byrd also had a major fumble lost on a punt. Jakeem Grant had to leave the game early on because of a concussion. That meant Byrd returned punts. He muffed his first chance and the Vikings recovered the ball.
Next up for the Chicago Bears is a trip to Seattle to face the Seahawks. We’ll see what other ways Chicago dreams up to lose the game. Also, this could be Nagy’s final game for real. Teams are allowed to interview for coaching vacancies in the final two weeks of the season.
That would be after next week’s game. If the Bears want a leg up on the interviewing process, then they have to buck tradition and fire Nagy after next week’s game.