Scoring woes add to Chicago Bears QB debate
For the second consecutive week, the Chicago Bears' impressive yardage production was not commensurate with the biggest number on the scoreboard -- points.
In Week 4, 408 yards produced just 17 points in a 3-point victory over the Detroit Lions. Sunday, a whopping 522 yards resulted in just 23 points in a 6-point loss to the Colts.
"Our demise has been the collection of points," coach John Fox said the day after the loss in Indianapolis dropped his team to 1-4. "Any time you put up (522) yards, there's some good things."
But Fox is well aware that so many yards should produce more than the 2 touchdowns the Bears managed.
"We made two drives down there early in the game and come away with 6 points (2 field goals) instead of 14," Fox said, "and those are big swings, especially on the road against an explosive team like an Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts team."
Because the yards and points didn't add up, the simmering quarterback controversy continues.
"That's really our bugaboo and over the last few weeks," Fox said. "We've gotten better at moving the ball offensively, distributing it. Our timing's been better; all in all, though, we still need to capitalize on more points."
The Bears' first drive Sunday ended with Connor Barth's 35-yard field goal. It was the worst of their first-half missed opportunities.
On second-and-8 from the Colts' 9-yard line, Cam Meredith's end-around brought the ball to within a yard of the goal line. But running back Jordan Howard's face-mask penalty pushed the Bears back to the 18.
On second-and-17, quarterback Brian Hoyer completed a 1-yard pass to Eddie Royal and threw incomplete to Zach Miller.
Early in the fourth quarter, when the Bears settled for Barth's 24-yard field goal, they had a second-and-10 at the Colts' 11. Hoyer completed a 5-yard pass to Meredith but missed badly on an attempted fade to Royal.
Hoyer's overall play has been excellent, and he normally would be beyond reproach with a 108.5 passer rating.
But Fox cannot avoid questions about whether the backup will hang on to the job when Jay Cutler is fully recovered from the sprained right thumb that has kept him out of the last three-plus games.
Because Cutler isn't 100 percent, the question is moot, according to Fox.
"Right now that's not a reality, so I don't like to get too much into that," the Bears' coach said. "I think Brian's played well -- unfortunately we didn't play quite well enough.
"If we score on that last drive, we win the game. But it did not materialize."
On that last drive, Hoyer completed 5 of 7 passes for 57 yards in less than a minute, but on fourth-and-8 he threw incomplete to Meredith. Hoyer didn't see Alshon Jeffery, who was open in the end zone.
"It could have been an option," Fox said. "(But) I don't know that you can be super critical. When you're out there playing quarterback, it looks a little different than when you're up in the press box having hot dogs."
Jokingly told that Jeffery looked open from the press box, Fox joked back: "He was open from that film I just looked at, too."
Fox was asked seriously what the nature of his conversations with Cutler have been like with the quarterback's uncertain status.
"Just that obviously it's a tough spot," the coach said. "You have to be a tough guy. In this business, you're under attack. It just comes with the territory. That's why we're all compensated pretty well.
"I think he understands that. He's been through that probably much longer than I have. He's a tough-minded guy, and I'm sure he's doing OK."
Because Cutler isn't ready to play yet, Fox said there is no scenario for when he is.
"We don't have a plan," Fox said. "Everybody on the team knows that Brian Hoyer is the quarterback right now, and that's where all our focus is going. Jay understands that, too.
"I can't predict the future, otherwise I'd be in a different line of work. But I think everybody's handling it professionally."
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