Rozner: Injuries, execution doom Bears again

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws under pressure from New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. Cutler threw an interception on the play. The Giants won 22-16.

    Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler (6) throws under pressure from New York Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon (54) during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in East Rutherford, N.J. Cutler threw an interception on the play. The Giants won 22-16.

 
 
Updated 11/20/2016 7:34 PM

Well, the Bears tried hard, so there's that.

And moral victories are about all you're going to find in a 2016 Bears season that has hardly lived up to the second season of a John Fox empire.

 

The turnaround master has a 2-8 team after losing to the Giants Sunday in New York, following a 6-10 record in 2015. Fox would have to finish 5-1 to match the two-season mark of the forgettable Marc Trestman, who was fired after going 5-11 in his second season in Chicago.

What the Bears have been best at this year is finding ways to lose winnable games, and they managed to do it again Sunday afternoon in the Meadowlands, continuing a trend under Fox in which the Bears are unable to turn the game back in their favor once anything goes against them.

"It's a loss," Fox said accurately, when asked to sum up the game. "It's a win or a loss, albeit very disappointing. We did have some injures, had some guys step in and did OK, just not quite well enough. A loss."

This one couldn't be blamed on quarterback Jay Cutler, who had a 128 QB rating in the first half, but with tight end Zach Miller out and offensive linemen dropping like flies, the Giants stuffed the Bears in the second half and the Bears quickly gave up on a run game that was successful in the first half.

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"Couldn't run it very well in the second half," Cutler said. "We got into some passing situations and that's kind of getting into the strength of their defense."

The Bears scored on their first 3 possessions of the game, and were shut out the rest of the way, with Cutler sacked 4 times in the second half and his receivers dropping 4 passes in the final 30 minutes.

Late in the game, Cutler could not have recognized some of the players in the huddle that he needed to catch passes or keep him off the ground.

"All those guys have shown the ability to play and be successful," Cutler said, defending his teammates. "We just have to grow as a group and be consistent for four quarters.

"You look at the first half and we're kind of walking the ball up and down the field. Second half, completely different story."

The New York coaching staff made adjustments at halftime after the Bears carried the play in the first half, while the Bears weren't able to do the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The Giants mounted long touchdown drives on their first two possessions of the second half, and that's all they needed to win 22-16.

Meanwhile, the Bears went 3-and-out on their first two drives of the second half, and it would have been three straight if not for a great scramble and throw by Cutler to keep the next drive alive.

"Came out in the second half with a lead and it didn't last very long," Fox said. "They were on the board pretty quick.

"All in all, it's an NFL game. Typically comes down to a one-score game and three or four plays make a difference."

The Giants improved to 7-3 and pass for what's considered good in today's NFL, though they weren't all that impressive and mostly took advantage of an injury-ravaged Bears team that so utterly lacks playmakers as to make you wonder how they've won a pair of games this season.

The home team basically stopped playing in the fourth quarter, sitting on a lead when they probably could have put the Bears away before the final possession of the game if they had continued to be aggressive on offense.

But with little fear of the Bears' offense, it worked out fine for the Giants as they sat back and waited for the Bears to implode on the final drive.

And while many will focus on Cutler's game-ending interception, on which he slipped, Cutler did bounce back from the misery in Tampa last week.

"It's one game. In 11 years, those things are gonna happen," Cutler said of last week. "It's bigger because of where we are in the season and the struggles we've had.

"This is a hard one to swallow, too. These games you lose that you definitely have a chance to win at the end, those are the ones that keep you up at night."

If you're searching for a bright spot, the Bears' record is moving them closer each week to the top of the draft and a better spot to select a great player next spring.

That, unfortunately, has been a familiar refrain around these parts.

brozner@dailyherald.com

• Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.

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