Biggs: Bears to pare back the playbook
CHICAGO—With a red, stonefaced glare, Ron Turner considered the question for more than five seconds.
The Chicago Bears offensive coordinator has been asked, after a 30-6 victory over the Cleveland Browns Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field, if he’d seen progress anywhere.
“I guess that answers it,’’ Turner said when he finally ended the silence. “I guess we ran for a few yards.”
A few. Facing the worst-ranked defense in the league, a unit allowing 171 yards rushing per game, the Bears reached that total on a 36-yard run by backup Garrett Wolfe when the stands were emptying into the parking lots and 60 seconds remained in an entirely uninspiring effort by the Bears’ offense.
Afterward, Turner pledged to begin paring down the playbook, reasoning that he’s got to find what the Bears are doing well and stick with it. The offense was pathetic for most of the game, scoring touchdowns on just two of seven trips inside the red zone, a place where the Bears have thrown away games to Green Bay and Atlanta.
Quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked a season-high four times, the holes were few and far between for running back Matt Forte but it was still one of his better games of the season. He scored two touchdowns and totaled 90 yards on 26 carries, the 3.5-yard per carry average he’s sported most of the season.
Wide receiver Devin Hester continued to be a solid threat for Cutler and rookie Johnny Knox made one nice play downfield, but there was nothing sustained about the Bears’ effort. Their first touchdown drive didn’t get going until Browns outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley popped Cutler under the chin with his helmet. Cutler bit his tongue and was swallowing blood for two more quarters.
“You can't depend on roughing the passer penalties to always be your momentum. You're not always going to get those,’’ Cutler said. “We've got to get some big runs, we've got to get some big passes, and get the wheels going a little bit.
“If we're going to bank on a pass interference or roughing the passer we're going to be in trouble.”
Tight end Greg Olsen remains a missing part of the attack. He’s not attacking defenses down the seam, but he did play fullback for Wolfe on one run inside the red zone, the wrong lead blocker for the wrong back on the wrong play.
Turner is coming under fire and the Bears (4-3) admitted to a man that the effort they put forth would get them beat by a lot of teams, particularly their next opponent, the defending NFC champion Arizona Cardinals.
“I don’t know,’’ Turner said when asked if he’d ever been this perturbed after a victory. “We’re happy with the win, we’ll take a win. In this league you’ll take ’em when you can get ’em, but we know we have to play better.
“I’ll look at it, see what we need to do to give us a chance to get better, and if we’re doing too much, we’ll cut back. Obviously we are because we’re making too many mistakes. Just have to figure out what we do well, and that’s what we’ll do.”
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