Once again, the Redskins managed to beat Da Bears (I think that’s 5 or 6 in a row), and to stay atop the NFC East for another week. And with the victory comes yet another edition of TLP. From the pages of the Chicago Tribune:
Bears endure latest round of growing pains in chasing Jordan Reed
The growing pains stung Jonathan Anderson as he sat at his stall late Sunday afternoon. They were his personal share of the disappointment that pervaded the Bears locker room after their 24-21 loss to the Redskins.
The undrafted rookie inside linebacker replayed the sequence in his mind — the shallow crossing route tight end Jordan Reed ran, the miscommunication that resulted in Anderson chasing the play and the third-down touchdown catch that proved critical to the outcome.
“I feel like this game for me personally was a step back,” Anderson said. “There (were) a lot of things I blew out there coverage-wise.”
It was a measure of accountability as the Bears processed another round of mistakes after their second straight home loss to an opponent with no road wins.
More specifically, part of the postmortem centered on how Reed finished with nine catches for 120 yards plus the touchdown. He carved up the defense with option routes that highlighted disparities in athleticism and sharpness between the sides.
The Bears said they were prepared for Reed’s speed, but his adjustments were problematic.
“It was more his route-running,” Anderson said. “He was reading us and running the opposite way.”
The Redskins believed Reed presented a speed mismatch against linebackers Anderson,and Christian Jones. How he gashed the Bears in October 2013 with nine catches for 134 yards and a touchdown supported their case.
Now in his third season, Reed’s film study of the Bears alerted him to tendencies he took advantage of Sunday.
“Just how they move in space and … what kind of moves I can set them up with if I’m trying to get inside,” Reed said. “This week, they kind of were taking the first move, and that’s what I’d seen on film, so I was trying to double them up and it worked out.”
Several Bears lamented communication breakdowns in coverage. The Redskins have fast, talented receivers, including, and Reed. That caused problems for the Bears against an offense that uses misdirection well.
“A lot of things we did to ourselves with communication between everybody on the defense in crosses and boots and stuff like that,” safety Adrian Amos said. “We’ve got to do a better job communicating across the board.”
Reed’s 6-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter was straightforward, though: shotgun formation, three receivers to the left, with Reed closest to the sideline. He crossed the formation, running underneath the two inside receivers.
Anderson took a few steps toward the line of scrimmage, prompting Reed to adjust and continue his route over the top. With Anderson stuck changing direction, Reed separated for a fairly simple catch.
“That was my play to make,” Anderson said. “I should have stayed with him. It was just a bad communication on my part because I thought Shea was going to end up taking him.”
It was a teaching moment for a rookie playing only his eighth game, but it came at a steep price.
“I have this saying,” Anderson said. “It’s not about going out there playing; it’s about going out there playing well. That’s the bottom line.”
And from the Chicago Sun-Times:
Aggressive coaching may have cost the Bears a win SundayWritten By Kyle Thele Posted: 12/14/2015, 09:27am
Chicago Bears head coach John Fox walks on the sidelines during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Redskins, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
Throughout John Fox’s career he has been known as a safe coach. His style of play was going to prevent the Bears from getting in its own way. However, it may have been the aggressiveness from the coaching staff that killed the Bears Sunday.
With the Bears down three and taking over on offense, a pair of unusual play calls may have put the Bears in a bad situation. On second and third down from the Washington 32-yard-line, Cutler and the Bears offense took shots deep down field.
The failed passing attempts for Alshon Jeffery and Eddie Royal put the Bears in a position to again need a long kick to try and tie the game. A struggling Robbie Gould repeated his performance from a week earlier and missed the kick.
With Gould’s struggles of late, the safe choice likely would have been shorter passes or even running the ball to move down the field.
This isn’t the first time the Bears appeared to abandon the seemingly “safe” decision late in a game. On fourth down inside the five-yard-line against the Broncos, Fox and the Bears went for the touchdown instead of cutting into the eight-point lead. The Bears would eventually lose by two.