Pyle Ponders

While the Bears have had to overcome injuries all season, offensive coordinator Terry Shea hasn't put his players in a position to succeed.

What a horrible game. Another loss and the nail in the coffin for this season. We're back to the Whys and the Hows in trying to figure out just what went wrong this time.

The Why? Just what I've said before - this is the youngest team in the league and they are going to make mistakes. Who made the most mistakes yesterday? Not the defense. Not Chad Hutchinson, every member of the offensive line.

No team can succeed without a decent offensive line and the Bears are certainly no exception. Even Peyton Manning isn't working alone. He has strong guys in front of him. There was no effective blocking by the Bears yesterday and Hutchinson simply had no time.

The problems offensively just jump off of the page. Four turnovers and a total of 203 yards aren't the numbers achieved by a winning team. Anthony Thomas averaged 3.5 yards a carry. Thomas Jones had 2.7. Three times either of these stats does not equal a first down. And we all know that both these players are so much better than this.

I don't lay the blame on Hutchinson. He is a smart guy who knows what he is doing but they aren't giving him a chance to get the offense going. Chad even has flashes of brilliance now and then. Hutchinson had had one series with Anthony Thomas that was the best executed screen pass I've seen in a long time. But what is Hutchinson supposed to do when there is a complete breakdown of the line?

Marc Colombo missed his assignments repeatedly, which isn't that surprising for a guy who has been out as long as he has. Steve Edwards continually blew coverage. Qasim Mitchell is a known factor: he just can't play. Overall, the Bears couldn't make the right adjustments and didn't key off the Texans as they should have. The Texans defense was running right through Chicago on play after play.

During the first quarter, everything seemed fine. The Bears got off to a strong enough start with a run and two passes. Then, just as it seemed some momentum was building for Chicago, there was the Jones fumble and everything deflated from there.

The fake field goal? Just plain ugly. In fact, it was one of the worst trick plays that I've ever seen. It just wasn't set up properly and was a symptom of really bad play calling through the entire game. Terry Shea has to give his players a chance to succeed. They are not executing well right now so it is his job to set things up in a way that will work. That didn't happen so the Bears looked horrible.

Moving on to the second half, it became increasingly apparent that Shea was losing it. Some of the plays were so bad that I hope the Bears use film clips at next year's training camp to teach their players what not to do. The Bears would move the ball for a few plays then it would go right back to Houston. There was no coherent scheme. At one point it was 3rd and 14 for the Bears and Shea called a short pass play that went for three yards. That pretty much says it all.

And during all of this, most of the Bears defense was playing at a high level. Alex Brown was great. He had some outstanding plays that showed his athleticism and his smarts. His anticipation was excellent and he got good results from that. The defense did everything they could to get the ball back. They gave Chicago's offense many opportunities to get in there and move the ball. But whenever Shea's group came on the field, things stalled out.

What is most puzzling to me is why the media hasn't made more of a fuss about all of this, During the ‘60s when I played, the offense was called on the carpet any time the Bears didn't play as well as the media thought they should have. And that's when we were playing pretty well. But now? What I see makes me cringe and nobody is saying much about it.

The stats are telling us all we need to know. The Bears aren't executing and the offensive coordinator is at fault. We're seeing endless turnovers and penalties and a team of players who are beating themselves. The past two games have been winnable well into the fourth quarter but Shea wasn't able to turn things around to get momentum in the Bears' favor. These young inexperienced players need help. Shea can't give them what they need. Logically, it is time for him to leave this team.

The Bears offense is 32nd in this league in just about every category. If I were head coach Lovie Smith, I'd have Shea and Pete Hoener sitting in my office right now explaining themselves. Lovie is primarily a defensive coach and he's been duped. Shea has shown poor judgment all along. First he brings in Jonathan Quinn, then he starts Craig Krenzel who still has a lot of learning to do. Hutchinson is doing the best he can but needs protection. And where's Jerry Angelo during all of this? This supposedly is ‘his team'. It's interesting that he's been so silent recently.

Mike Pyle played for the Bears from 1961-69.


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