Bears Week 8 Look Ahead

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
7:47
PM ET


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ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson breaks down the biggest storylines surrounding the Bears heading into Week 8.
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Held to an abysmal 54 total first-half net yards of offense on Sunday, the Chicago Bears completely abandoned the ground game in the opening 30 minutes, allowing tailback Matt Forte to carry the football only twice for 11 yards.

How did this happen?

“You know, there were a couple of reasons,” Bears head coach Marc Trestman said on Monday. “We only ran 18 plays. That would be one. We didn't convert on third down to roll anything over. We had two called runs, we had two runs called with options to throw and we had another two called where we pulled the ball with an option to throw, as well. Eighteen plays. If you don't roll it over you can't get in sync.

“We threw it a little bit more early, but that wasn't the plan. The plan was to kind of do it the way we did it in the third quarter. And that's what we went back to doing. We took some of the options off and we handed the football off and we got more of what we would expect of our offense -- a good, solid drive.”

Forte finished the game with 12 rushing attempts for 49 yards, the third time in 2014 opposing defenses have limited Forte to under 50 yards rushing. The Pro Bowl running back did catch six passes for 60 yards out of the backfield, and through seven weeks Forte leads the Bears with 52 receptions.

Surgery ruled out on Kyle Fuller's hand

October, 20, 2014
Oct 20
4:33
PM ET
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman called cornerback Kyle Fuller day-to-day after the NFL's reigning Defensive Rookie of the Month suffered a fractured right hand, and right hip pointer injury in Sunday's 27-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins.

Fuller
Fuller is not expected to need surgery on his broken hand, but he failed to finish the Dolphins' game because of the injured hip.

Fuller's status is unknown for the Week 8 trip to New England to face the 5-2 Patriots.

"Up to this point today, I've heard it [the broken hand] as being a non-surgical issue," Trestman said.

"He went out of the game because of his hip more than his hand, so we'll just see. He said he felt good today, but it'll be day to day. I don't know that the hand will deter him. I don't know that, I haven't talked to [the training staff] about it. But that's what I understand at this time."

The No. 14 overall selection of the 2014 NFL draft, Fuller replaced Charles Tillman (injured reserve) on the first team in Week 2, recording three interceptions and three forced fumbles in five starts.

Fuller's third-quarter exit on Sunday forced the Bears to play Sherrick McManis at cornerback opposite Tim Jennings, with Demontre Hurst lining up at nickelback.
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Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman disputed the notion that receiver Brandon Marshall called out quarterback Jay Cutler during a few tense moments in the locker room on the heels of the club's 27-14 loss Sunday to the Miami Dolphins, but also said "I didn't hear all of it."

A source inside the locker room after the game said that some of Marshall's diatribe was aimed at Cutler, who turned over the ball twice in the loss, leading to 10 points by the Dolphins.

"I don't think that was the case at all yesterday," Trestman said. "I heard a lot about most of it, but what I did hear I did not hear any of that."

Cutler threw an interception and was credited with two fumbles (one came as the result of Ka'Deem Carey dropping a lateral). In all four of the team's losses this season, Cutler has turned over the ball multiple times. Yet in the team's three victories, Cutler didn't commit a turnover. Opponents have averaged 9.25 points off Cutler's turnovers in each of the team's losses.

The disappointing loss led to Marshall's impassioned postgame speech in the locker room, and a few pointed comments after the game.

"Same mistakes, same mistakes, same mistakes," Marshall said. "We've got to protect the football. We've got to protect the football. We've got to execute the game plan. We've got to adjust when things don't go as we saw on the film. We've got Alshon Jeffery


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Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long criticized fans at Soldier Field for booing Sunday as the team trotted into the locker room down 14-0 to the Miami Dolphins, but on Monday admitted "it was wrong for me to point fingers at the fans."

Long, speaking during his weekly appearance on the WXRT Morning Show, said the Bears should've given the fans a reason to cheer.

"I just think [reporters] had asked everybody in the locker room how they felt about [fans booing], and a lot of the guys didn't take the bait," Long said. "Obviously emotions are running high after a game. Obviously if we were giving them something to cheer about there would be a lot more cheers coming off the field at halftime. Hopefully the score would be a little bit closer, as well.

"That falls on our shoulders. It's unfair to put it on the fans. There was a lot of frustration after the game. You work hard all week. You're trying to string some wins together. You're at home. You feel like you're riding some momentum, and to be down 14-0 going into the half, it's tough. It's tough on everybody obviously."

In the minutes following the team's 27-14 loss to the Dolphins, Long called the fans' actions "unacceptable."

"I don't know if upset is the word I would use," Long said Sunday. "As somebody that is blood, that has blood, sweat and tears in this locker room like the other guys, the coaches, the trainers, the staff and the equipment guys, to be getting booed at home when you're walking off the field down two possessions is unacceptable; especially when there is not a lot of noise being made on third down [when Miami possessed the ball], period."

The loss to the Dolphins drops Chicago's record at Soldier Field to 0-3, and the club has now lost four in a row at home dating to last season.

In the first half of Sunday's game, the Dolphins outgained the Bears 209-54 and dominated in time of possession (19:10 to 10:50).

As reporters waited outside to be admitted into the locker room, heated exchanges could be heard. But Long called the exchanges a normal occurrence after a disappointing loss, saying "a lot of it is blown out of proportion."

In each of the club's four losses, quarterback Jay Cutler


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ESPNChicago.com's Jeff Dickerson breaks down offensive guard Kyle Long criticizing fans at Soldier Field for booing the Bears after they trailed 14-0 at halftime against the Dolphins.
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Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall calls Chicago's loss to Miami "unacceptable" when addressing the media.
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ESPN Bears reporter Michael C. Wright breaks down wide receiver Brandon Marshall calling out quarterback Jay Cutler for not getting him the ball enough in the Bears' loss to the Dolphins.

Bears Drop Another At Home

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
8:48
PM ET


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Jeff Dickerson and Jon Greenberg break down the Bears' 27-14 loss to the Dolphins.

5 things we learned: Dolphins 27, Bears 14

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
8:39
PM ET
CHICAGO -- Here are five things we learned in the Chicago Bears' 27-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins:

1. March to 8-8 continues: This outfit seems destined to be .500. One week the Bears are on top of the world; the next week the team is face down in the gutter. Victories by Green Bay (5-2) and Detroit (5-2) on Sunday pushed the Bears two games back in the NFC North. Future road dates against New England and the Packers hardly look promising, but the NFL is full of surprises. It's possible the Bears could sneak a win next week, although the Patriots have extra time to prepare for Week 8 as a result of playing Thursday night. But in every sense the Bears are mediocre. Except for the talent level on the roster. That is above average. However, the Bears find themselves 0-3 at home and 3-4 overall. That is a problem.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Marshall
AP Images/Scott BoehmBrandon Marshall expressed frustration after the Bears' latest loss, but it's imperative the team keep him from becoming a divisive force.
2. Marshall reaches tipping point: Is Brandon Marshall upset the Bears are 3-4? Or is Marshall upset he's fourth on the team with 31 catches (on pace for 71 receptions)? Only Marshall knows for sure, but the wide receiver sounded emotionally spent in the postgame locker room. The Bears better get Marshall back on the rails. He polluted the waters in Denver and Miami before being traded to the Bears. They don't need him to turn into a divisive force. They need him to catch 100 passes for 1,200 yards. Losses are tough in the NFL. Marshall's frustration is understandable. His motives may be called into question, but his importance to team cannot be disputed. Get him right.

3. Offense underachieves, again: Where is the offense that averaged 27.8 points in 2013 (second-highest total in the NFL)? Just when Jay Cutler makes you think the offense is ready to explode, it puts up a stinker against the Dolphins. Up and down. Up and down. That's the story of the 2014 Bears through seven games. Cutler has turned the ball over 10 times. To steal a phrase from Marshall, Cutler's frequent turnovers are "unacceptable." Games are won and lost in the NFL because of turnover ratio. The Bears certainly know this. Marc Trestman preached about it all week at Halas Hall, yet the Bears were minus-3 versus Miami (Cutler interception, Cutler fumble, Dante Rosario fumble). Buckle up, it's going to be a wild ride, as usual, with the Bears starting quarterback. We all should know the script by now.

4. Tannehill shines: Ryan Tannehill resembled the quarterback worth $54 million guaranteed Sunday. The Dolphins quarterback kept the Bears defense on its heels for much of the game, completing 25 of 32 pass attempts for 277 yards and two touchdowns (123.6 quarterback rating). He spread the ball around to eight receivers. Tannehill even rushed for 48 yards, including a critical 30-yard gain on fourth down in the third quarter. Defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff's career day (3.5 sacks) did little to slow down Tannehill. He delivered the ball with extreme accuracy on the move. This was unexpected, especially since the good people of South Florida seem on the fence about whether Tannehill is the Dolphins' quarterback of the future.

5. Install Field Turf, please: One of the longest running jokes in the NFL is the condition of the Soldier Field playing surface. The Bears have an excellent head groundskeeper who spends most of the week at Halas Hall grooming the practice fields. He cannot be in two places at once. This is one of the many unfortunate byproducts of the Bears not owning their stadium. The players can't stand the grass field. The fans can't stand the grass field. The Bears are built for offense. If you bought a thoroughbred, would you make it run in mud? Make the switch to Field Turf. The situation is beyond embarrassing for everyone involved.
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Dolphins reporter James Walker's game ball goes to Ryan Tannehill, who threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns. Bears defensive tackle Jeremiah Ratliff gets the nod from Michael Wright after a career-high 3.5 sacks in the first half and seven tackles.

Report Card: Bears-Dolphins

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
7:48
PM ET

Week 7 Report Card: Dolphins at Bears

Marshall
D

Passing Offense

Jay Cutler's roller-coaster season continues. The quarterback completed only 21 of 34 pass attempts for 190 yards, one touchdown and one interception for a quarterback rating of 74.4. Miami's Ryan Tannehill (123.6 passer rating) crushed Cutler head-to-head. Keep in mind, Tannehill has far fewer offensive weapons at his disposal. Cutler did a poor job feeling the pressure at times and ended up being sacked on three separate occasions. Cutler is the perfect embodiment of the Bears. Hot one week, cold the next.

Forte
D-

Rushing Offense

Matt Forte only carried the ball 12 times for 49 yards (4.1 yards per carry). The Bears completely abandoned the run in the first half. Forte had more success early in the third quarter, but the Bears never really established the run. Hard to blame Forte. He's not the one calling the plays. Overall, Week 7 turned out to be another complete dud on offense.

Tannehill
D

Passing Defense

The Bears made Tannehill look like Joe Montana. A middle-of-the-road NFL quarterback, Tannehill torched the Bears: 25-of-32 for 277 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Ryan Tannehill? Seriously? Eight different Miami players caught passes on Sunday. Tannehill was sacked four times, but he had far too much time to survey the field for much of the afternoon.

Miller
C-

Rushing Defense

The Dolphins ran for 137 yards on 33 carries. Tailback Lamar Miller led Miami with 61 rushing yards and one touchdown. But Tannehill did the most damage on the ground, scrambling for 30 yards on fourth-and-1 in the third quarter. The Dolphins scored a touchdown two plays later that ultimately put the game out of reach.

Special
B

Special Teams

The Bears were better on special teams. Chris Williams returned a pair of kickoffs for 75 yards. Punter Pat O'Donnell averaged 53 yards on three kicks with a net average of 45.7 yards. Miami's Jarvis Landry returned one of his kickoffs 31 yards. Lamarr Houston also blocked a field goal.

Trestman
D

Coaching

The Bears came out flat. Why does that continue to happen at home? The Bears have way too much talent to be 3-4 overall. There is no excuse to keep losing these winnable games, especially at Soldier Field. The Bears had better be careful -- 3-6 is staring them straight in the face with upcoming trips to New England and Green Bay.




Accepting the 'unacceptable'

October, 19, 2014
Oct 19
7:22
PM ET
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CHICAGO -- Final score from the lakefront: Brandon Marshall 17, Chicago Bears 14.

After a desultory 27-14 loss to the Miami Dolphins at Soldier Field, Marshall vented to reporters, using the word "unacceptable" 17 times in 3 1/2 minutes.

Repetitive, sure, but there was a lot of ground to cover in a short time.

Scoring 14 points?

Unacceptable.

Three turnovers.

Unacceptable.

An 0-3 home record?

Unacceptable.

Marshall's six catches for 48 yards?

Unacceptable.

Soldier Field's shoddy turf?

Acceptable to the McCaskey family, I guess.

While Bears fans yelled at their TVs, the Bears were busy yelling at themselves, well aware their season is going down the tubes one home loss at a time.

The postgame home locker room was combustible after the game, with screaming and yelling heard by reporters waiting for entry.

For better or worse, Marshall seemed like the loudest voice in a deflated room.

"We lost, there should be a lot of frustration," an animated Marshall said when the press was let into the locker room. "You should hear frustration! We're 3-4. Yeah, this means everything to a lot of guys in this locker room. This means a lot."

The loquacious receiver hasn't been very available to media this season, but Marshall had plenty to say after this colossal failure, which included another mind-numbing Jay Cutler interception, to go with a Cutler sack-fumble and a Dante Rosario fumble on consecutive fourth-quarter possessions.


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