Turnovers, play calling cost Bears win over Broncos

John Fox

The Bears showed once again they don’t have enough talent to beat the really good teams in this league on Sunday at Soldier Field.

The Broncos were coming off of a tough loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, and for the first time in three and a half years Peyton Manning wasn’t the starting quarterbacks for the Broncos. If there was ever a time the Bears were going to beat the Broncos, it was Sunday.

And they didn’t appear overwhelmed by the Broncos. But it was evident their roster still isn’t strong enough to tough out close games against quality opponents, and the defense still can’t make stops in crunch time. Also, the offense continues to make errors at inopportune times.

Cutler showed glimpses of his elite talent. But in the end, his two turnovers – as well as a missed opportunity on fourth and goal – cost the Bears the game. An argument could be made that the Bears were in no position to go for that fourth and goal — they were on the four-yard line with over 10 minutes to go in the game down only eight points.

But Fox made a gutsy call that would have paid off had Cutler seen a wide open Marc Mariani in the left side of the end zone.

If the Bears would have taken that field goal they would have been in a much better position win the game later in the fourth quarter.

But they didn’t take the three points, and they lost another close game to one of the best teams in the NFL.

Cutler wasn’t awful, but the more impressive quarterback on the field Sunday afternoon was first-time starter Brock Osweiler. Osweiler, who turned 25 on Sunday, threw for 250 yards on 20/27 throwing and two touchdowns. Most importantly, he didn’t turn the ball over.

Osweiler is a good prospect, and the Bronco’s have been quiet on how long Manning will be out, so the young signal caller certainly may be leading this team for the foreseeable future. Osweiler proved he is capable of winning games Sunday, but the Broncos will need Manning back sooner rather than later if they intend on meeting their championship expectations.

The Bears’ outing was admirable considering the litany of injuries the offense has suffered. Alshon Jefferey (groin) and Matt Forte (knee) – arguably the Bears’ two best players – both sat Sunday. The Bears were also without their newly acquired — and oft-injured — slot receiver, Eddie Royal.

The Bears are not going to win games when their best players aren’t on the field; they don’t have enough talent to do that.

Forte’s replacement, Jeremy Langford, came back to earth Sunday after having a breakout performance in the drubbing of the Rams in St. Louis last week. The second-year back out of Michigan State rushed for only 25 yards on 13 attempts – although he did manage to get into the end zone once.

Tight end Zach Miller also cooled off after a couple of very productive weeks — catching only 3 passes for 47 yards. Although, Miller did out gain Martellus Bennett for the second straight game. Cutler targeted him six times, so it should be expected that he will continue to be a part of the Bears’ offense moving forward. A development Bennett will most likely not be happy about.

The Bears did have one significant accomplishment on Sunday: They went the whole game without getting any penalties. It shows great discipline for an entire football team to go 60 minutes without getting one, single penalty.

The Bears played a competitive game Sunday and would have won if it weren’t for a few turnovers and some questionable play calling. But the Bears are definitely improved over last season. John Fox has gotten this team to buy whatever he is selling. And if Ryan Pace can bring elite talent to Chicago, Fox and Gase will have no problem producing a winning team.

Things won’t get any easier for the Bears next week, as they will visit the first-place Green bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings Sunday to take over first place in the NFC North.