Chargers vs. Bears Game Recap
The beloved dropped the season opener 14-3 in a fierce defensive battle with the San Diego Chargers. The Bears held a 3-0 lead at halftime but the Chargers turned a touched punt turnover and an Adrian Peterson fumble into 14 second half points while their defense continued to play shut down football. Perhaps the most disappointing part of the game came in the fourth quarter when the Bears failed to convert a 2nd and 2 on three consecutive rushing plays. The Chargers then kept the ball the final 6 minutes of the contest with a steady diet of backup RB Michael Turner. The Chargers are a very good team so there should be no panic by the faithful. If this game was played at Soldier Field the outcome would likely have been much different. The Bears proved their defense is still one of the best in the league by holding Ladanian Tomlinson to 25 yards rushing on 17 carries. Unfortunately the Bears did not escape without injury losing Mike Brown and Dusty Dvoracek for the season. Daniel Manning and Darwin Walker will move into starting roles and the D should be just fine.
Surprisingly, Rex Grossman played an almost mistake free game and the Bears still lost. He went 12/23 for 145 yds and 1 INT in the face of some fierce pressure by the Charger front seven who tallied three sacks. The INT was a deep ball to Berrian where it seemed there was some confusion on Berrian's part. Rex showed more maturity and poise than he did most of last year.
The running game was downright horrible even considering the talent level of the Charger defense. Both Benson and Peterson lost fumbles at key times in the game. Benson ran for 42 yards on 18 carries for a measly 2.3 yd average. Peterson added 38 yds on 7 carries but some of that came at the end of the first half against a prevent defense.
The offensive line looked hopelessly outmatched on Sunday. They failed to get a push on running plays and couldn't pick up the pass rush either. This may be a sign of their age catching up to guys like Ruben Brown and Fred Miller. This is certainly something to keep an eye on for the rest of the season as if they play like they did Sunday it will not be a winning season for the Bears.
The defense held up their end of the game limiting the Chargers to 14 points and setting up the offense for their only points of the game with a Mike Brown interception. They were on the field for 37 minutes and were definitely winded by the end of the game when the Chargers ate up the clock on the ground. The Bears brought more blitzes than usual and racked up three sacks by Vasher, Ogunleye and Anderson. It was disappointing to see them fall for the old LT option pass to Gates play that the Chargers have been so successful with over the last few years. I think everyone watching it on TV was screaming PASS! as soon as LT started running towards the sidelines. Alex Brown had a fantastic blocked field goal early in the game.
On Special Teams:
Devin Hester didn't return a punt the whole game even though two punts were easily returnable. His only contribution the whole game was a 29 yard kick off return after the second SD touch down. Hester needs to touch the ball more and be more aggressive with his returns. Additionally, Hester needs to call out shanked punts and get his blockers out of the damned way of the ball. The Chargers turned this game around after a shanked punt hit Brandon McGowan in the back and gave the Chargers the ball deep in Bears territory. Robbie Gould connected on his only FG attempt of the day, a 27 yard chip shot early in the game.
It was a letdown loss but not unexpected against a quality team on the road. There was too much rust on the Bears offense, particularly the offensive line and the running game. Fortunately, the Kansas City Chiefs come to town next week in what should be an easy rebound win for the Bears. Look for the offense to pile it on and the Bears have the game locked up early. Final score Bears 31 Chiefs 9.
P.S. - JoJo, enjoy the fact that the Bears are alone at 0-1 in the NFC North. They should have a fairly easy walk to their bye week at 7-1 or 6-2 over the next few weeks with matchups against the Chiefs, Cowboys, Lions (twice), Packers, Vikings and Eagles.