Special Teams Woes in Chicago

Screen Shot 2019-11-24 at 9.21.42 PM.pngPhoto Credit: Daily Herald

Though I no longer hold expectations for the Bears this season, they actually won against the Giants this week! I can’t wait to see their logo show up every Sunday as a team “in the hunt” even though the NFC playoff picture looks pretty locked into place with 5 weeks remaining.

Surprisingly enough, the offense didn’t look terrible against the Giants on Sunday. They were able to put up more than 300 yards for just the second time this season. It didn’t look great by any means (Trubisky’s 2 questionable interceptions and continued offensive line issues), but better than what Bears fans have been used to this season. Allen Robinson showed what he’s capable of with 131 yards and a touchdown on 6 catches.

The defense showed up like usual and Khalil Mack was finally able to take down the opposing quarterback for the first time since before Halloween. Even without Akiem Hicks and Danny Trevathan, the defense is one of the best in the league and will keep the Bears in close games for the rest of the season.

It’s not often talked about unless a crucial field goal is missed, but the Bears special teams may have had one of the worst weeks in recent memory. The first play of the game, Eddie Pineiro kicked the opening kickoff out of bounds which gave the Giants great field position right off the bat. He also missed a PAT later in the game. He did make 2 short field goals, but Matt Nagy clearly doesn’t have too much trust in the Bears placekicker. Late in the game when up by 12 and on the Giants 37 yard line, Chicago decided to forego a 52-yard field goal and pin the ball deep in New York territory. Those 3 points could have been the difference in the game if the Giants found a way to score a last-minute 4th quarter touchdown. Luckily, the defense shut down Daniel Jones when it came down to it and the 3 points weren’t needed to secure the win.

The punt coverage and punt return teams also had a rough Sunday. Tarik Cohen allowed a couple of punts he could have caught bounce an extra 15 or so yards in the Giants favor and also fair caught two punts right around the 5-yard line. On the other side of things, Pat O’Donnell had a shanked 13-yard punt that gave New York the ball on Chicago’s side of the field. Additionally, the coverage on a couple of punts was porous and allowed significant returns.

Special teams are often overlooked but is just as important as the offense and defense. The Bears have looked very pedestrian in that respect this year and it needs to be re-evaluated for the final 5 games. It would take a miracle for the Bears to make the playoffs, but I’m just hoping the team can build off the end of this season to come back better next year.

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