No defense for Bears' loss to Eagles
If the sight of the Bears trying to play defense doesn't get Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers back on the field Sunday for the NFC North title game, nothing will.
"Defensively it was a poor performance," Bears coach Marc Trestman said of the 54-11 loss at Philadelphia. "We missed a lot of tackles (at least 20 by defensive coordinator Mel Tucker's count). We weren't efficient in the red zone (the Eagles scored touchdowns on all five of their opportunities).
"We weren't efficient on third down (the Eagles converted five of nine chances but usually didn't require three downs to get 10 yards). We couldn't get off the field, couldn't contain the quarterback (Nick Foles had a 131.7 passer rating). Our screen fits weren't good."
Rodgers has not played since he suffered a fractured collarbone on a sack by Shea McClellin during the Bears' 27-20 victory at Green Bay on Nov. 4.
But if the Packers' QB is allowed to watch tape of the Bears allowing 514 yards against the Eagles, the team's medical staff may have to sedate and quarantine him to keep him off the field.
Packers running back Eddie Lacy re-aggravated the sprained ankle that has nagged him for three games, and he did not play in the fourth-quarter of Green Bay's loss Sunday to the Pittsburgh Steelers. But that's not to say the Packers' rookie couldn't run for 100 yards against the Bears in a walking boot and on crutches.
It's nothing new for the Bears to allow a 100-yard runner. In their last eight games, they've permitted a 100-yard runner in seven games. The biggest reason the Cleveland Browns didn't have a 100-yard runner is because no one had more than 8 carries.
But the Bears' run defense outdid itself vs. the Eagles, allowing two 100-yard runners: LeSean McCoy (18-for-133) and Bryce Brown (9-for-115). The total damage came to 289 rushing yards allowed, an 8.0-yard-per-carry clip.
Just for comparison sake, only six quarterbacks in the NFL average at least 8.0 yards per pass.
"Throughout the last two weeks, we did see some work moving forward," Trestman said of the run defense. (But) the guys took a step backward."
At least the staff is in agreement. Tucker echoed Trestman's words, and expounded on them.
"Way, way too many (missed tackles)," Tucker said. "You're playing a good offense. They're going to have you spread out and get the ball to people in space, and you've got to get a tackle. We didn't do that. We had some very, very poor reads on some basic run plays and really took us out of some plays we thought we'd be able to make."
Changes in the lineup might be expected. But just about every able body already is on the field in some capacity, although playing time could be tweaked.
"We play a lot of players," Tucker said. "Pretty much everyone who was active (Sunday) night played for us, so we tell them we're going to need everyone to play better.
"You never want to overreact. But, as we sit down and formulate the game plan for this week and decide what we want to do and how we want to do it, we always talk about who and what the roles will be and the rotation and then we'll go from there."
Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs returned Sunday from a fractured shoulder but didn't perceptibly improve the product. In his first game action in two months, Briggs played 59 of 65 snaps against the Eagles and was credited with 1 tackle. With some rust knocked off, the hope is he will be more effective against the Packers.
"I was pleased with what Lance did in the game," Tucker said. "He played fast, he was physical, he got us lined up. We didn't have any issues getting aligned or handling the tempo or anything like that. I think it's just going to help us for this week."
They could use it.