After the Bears got walloped by the Chiefs in a 41-10 loss on Sunday, “Football Aftershow” on NBC Sports Chicago turned from postgame analysis program to group therapy in a hurry. Former Bears linebacker Lance Briggs was the primary client.
“I’m depressed,” Briggs said on “Football Aftershow.” “I feel like I’m like all of Chicago, just depressed. I was hoping we were going to get some surprises. Some surprises, you know, surprise effort, they’d be able to stop the run, they’d be able to drive down the field and score, not give up turnovers, allow them to take the ball away, especially one after the other right before half. So many things that we were hoping for did not happen.”
No, there were no surprises. The defending champs looked like the defending champs, and the Bears looked like a team that just came off the week from hell where a defensive coordinator resigned, a starting left tackle went on IR and the starting quarterback caused a media maelstrom (regardless of his intentions).
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Even after lopsided losses, teams typically have a few things to point to and say, “Hey, that worked. We can build on that.” For the Bears they can point to interceptions from Jack Sanborn and Quindell Johnson leading to points in garbage time. But when assessing the game honestly, one has to note that all the Bears’ successes came in that garbage time, when the Chiefs had already taken their best players out of the game.
When it mattered, there were several things the Bears could have done to give themselves a chance to keep the score respectable. As Briggs mentioned, they could’ve done a better job stopping the run. Take out backup QB Blaine Gabbert’s two attempts for -1 yards and the Chiefs averaged 4.4 yards on the ground. Four different rushers had 10+ yard gains. As Briggs mentioned, they could’ve sustained some drives to keep Patrick Mahomes off the field. They only had one drive over with more than five plays in the first half. Further, they gave Mahomes extra chances with two first-half turnovers. That played a big part in the Chiefs opening up a 34-0 halftime lead. And once the Chiefs had a 34-0 halftime lead, the game was essentially done.
So it’s understandable that Briggs is depressed after the game. But at least he’s not a former Bronco, breaking down a 70-20 loss? Maybe next week’s game against Denver is just what the doctor ordered for Briggs and Bears fans everywhere. Or maybe it’ll be a new source of misery.