The Chicago Bears beat the Carolina Panthers 23-16 on the road last Sunday. The win elevated the Bears to 5-1 on the season and was an impressive win. The defense played a great game, with three takeaways and allowing only one touchdown. The offense did just enough to support the defense and get the win. Here are three takeaways from the Bears Week 6 game.
Starting Foles is the right move
During the Bears offseason, much drama surrounded their quarterback competition. Mitch Trubisky, in his fourth year with Chicago, was pitted against newcomer Nick Foles. Trubisky entered the season as the starter, but Foles took over in Week 4.
Although his statistics are by no means outstanding, Foles is clearly the right choice. Despite his mediocre statistics, Foles does not make many mistakes. He is cool and collected under pressure. And most importantly, he does just enough to make the Bears win.
Other than a couple of errant throws and poor choices, Foles was accurate and made the right decisions against the Panthers. This not only helps the offense, but the defense as well. By having a more consistent offense with Foles, the Bears defensive players are more likely to know what to expect and be more motivated to do their job. This is reflected in their recent stellar play.
One of the reasons that Trubisky was originally favored over Foles was Trubisky’s superior scrambling ability. Although that is true, on Sunday, Foles proved his ability to move around when necessary. Foles was able to get out of the pocket and occasionally run the ball. He was sacked 0 times (despite a porous offensive line) and scrambled for a key first down on a 3rd and 5 play.
Although he has not been perfect, Foles’ play over his first three starts has shown that he is a better choice than Trubisky.
The Bears offensive line is hopeless
“Hopeless” is a very strong word to use to describe a position in football. However, with the Bears offensive line, it is the perfect description.
Going up against one of the worst defensive lines in the league on Sunday, the Bears averaged 2.5 rushing yards per carry. They allowed 9 quarterback hits, and constant pressure on Nick Foles. Against the miserable Panthers defensive line, the Bears proved that their blocking is an absolute joke.
In this way, the Bears should be very afraid of their upcoming matchups. Next week, they will face Aaron Donald, quite possibly the best defensive lineman in the league. The game after that, they face Saints star defensive end Cameron Jordan. If the Bears line cannot hold up against a weak defense like the Panthers, what will they do when they match up against these players?
To add to this hopelessness, it is very difficult to significantly improve an offensive line, especially during the regular season. The Houston Texans are a perfect example of this, as they traded away 2 first-round draft picks, a second-rounder and a few players for offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, average receiver Kenny Stills, and a couple of late-round picks. They are now 1-5, and no longer have their top-10 pick in the upcoming draft.
In the end, it would not be worth it for Chicago to make a similar trade. Realistically, there is nothing that the Bears can do this year other than hope that their terrible offensive line can somehow turn it around. Otherwise, the Bears offense will never be any serious threat.
The Bears may have found a reliable kicker
Ever since Robbie Gould left, the kicker position has been a nightmare for Chicago. Anxiety creeps over any Bears fan as Chicago lines up for a field goal. Flashbacks to the “Double Doink” replay in the minds of fans across the country, and everyone once again braces for disappointment.
However, it is looking like fans can begin to comparatively rest easy. Veteran kicker Cairo Santos joined the Bears in the offseason, and has been starting over injured Eddy Piniero. He has proven to be solid, hitting 10 of 12 field goals and 12 of 12 extra points so far. In the game against the Panthers, he made a 55 yard field goal look easy, and he hit a game-deciding fourth quarter field goal against the Buccaneers.
He seems to only be improving this season, as he has not missed a kick since Week 3 and does not seems shaky when called upon. Santos also has a good record on kickoffs, forcing a touchback 56.7% of the time.
Santos, at least for this season, may be the answer to the Bears kicking woes.
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