Bears’ D frustrated after ’embarrassing’ performance vs. Cowboys originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
ARLINGTON, Texas — The feeling in the Bears’ locker room Sunday after their 49-29 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium was obvious. It hung over every member of the defense who spoke.
On a day in which quarterback Justin Fields and the Bears’ offense scored 29 points on one of the best defenses in football, Chicago’s defense couldn’t hold up its end of the bargain.
The Bears allowed touchdown drives on each of the Cowboys’ first four possessions, gave up 442 total yards, and were, in the words of safety Eddie Jackson and linebacker Roquan Smith, “embarrassing.”
“They had a good game plan and that’s that,” Smith said after the loss. “Defense, we never can allow someone to score that many points on us. That’s embarrassing. We have to look ourselves in the mirror and go from there, because that’s what it is all about. Just have to look at each individual play. And the play of each player.
“That starts with me. We have to go from there and just have to get better from this game.”
After falling into a 28-7 hole, the Bears’ offense ripped off 16 unanswered to cut the deficit to 28-23. But the defense could not make the necessary adjustments to slow the Cowboys’ red-hot offense.
There were many examples of the Bears’ lack of defensive execution Sunday in Dallas. The Cowboys went 9-for-11 on third down and were four-for-four in the red zone.
On Dallas’ fourth touchdown, quarterback Dak Prescott hit tight end Jake Ferguson for a 1-yard touchdown with Smith in coverage.
“I should have made that every day of the week and twice on Sundays,” Smith said. “That’s inexcusable. Like I said earlier, it starts with me. Defense, we didn’t play to our standard, it’s unacceptable and it started with me. We all have to get better with our individual assignments.”
Coming into the game, the Cowboys’ defense was allowing the second-fewest points in the NFL. For Fields and the Bears’ offense to put up 29 points only to lose by 20 hurt a prideful defense that felt like it had hit its stride.
“It’s frustrating, man,” Jackson said. “We got to get consistent. We can’t keep up and down, up and down, you know? We got to play at a level where we can keep it consistent. That’s everyone’s individual responsibility to prepare well, be on top of your keys in the game. That’s really what it is. If we want to go somewhere far, make it to the playoffs, we can’t do that. It’s not going to work.
“I feel like everyone knows that. Continue to have a chip on our shoulder. We the underdogs everywhere we go. If you don’t feel that, go out there and fight and play like an underdog, then it’s not going to work.”
The Cowboys did whatever they wanted Sunday against the Bears’ defense. Plain and simple.
Quarterback Dak Prescott went 21-for-27 for 250 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged 9.3 yards per attempt and was only sacked once. Running back Tony Pollard had a field day with Ezekiel Elliott sidelined, rushing for 131 yards and three touchdowns. Pollard ripped off 9.4 yards per rush.
On the day, the Bears’ defense allowed the Cowboys to pick up 7.8 yards per play. Outside of Jackson’s second-quarter interception and a three-and-out to start the third quarter, the Bears’ defense was a travesty.
With Robert Quinn now in Philadelphia, Jackson and Smith were tasked with giving answers on why a Bears defense that had seemingly turned the corner regressed massively in Dallas.
They gave differing answers.
“Being a pro, you have to be ready each and every week, and obviously, we wasn’t ready today,” Smith said. They hit us in the mouth, and we didn’t respond the way we should have. I put this one on myself. The defense. Staring with me and trickle down through the rest of the D.”
When asked why the Bears weren’t ready, Smith shrugged and stared blankly, grasping for an answer that never came.
“If I had the answer, I wouldn’t have allowed it to happen,” Smith said.
“We didn’t play to our standard. That’s unacceptable. That can never happen again.”
When presented with Smith’s explanation that the Bears weren’t ready, Jackson asked each player to shine a light on themselves and their own preparation.
“It’s the individual’s responsibility,” Jackson said. “Every man just has to go out there and do your job. That’s the NFL. You got to get yourself ready to play the game. We knew we had a game today. We knew they was going to try and come out and do somethings.”
Jackson was clearly frustrated and irked at how the defense allowed the Cowboys to run wild. Dallas’ offense is talented. No doubt. But the Bears provided little resistance, executed poorly, and didn’t adhere to their principles.
The veteran safety stood at his locker, not searching for answers but telling his teammates where to find them.
“It sucks. It’s frustrating,” Jackson said. “It’s repeat and recycle. We just got to get this out. Just get it out. Like I said, sustain execution. That’s what we have to do. People probably talking and just listening to the words. Just in one ear and out the other. We really have to do that. We want to win, want to be a good team, want to prove people wrong, we got to come out here and play our game. Can’t have the ups and downs. Can’t get complacent. That’s what it is.”
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The Bears’ defense’s constant march of progress was torched Sunday in Dallas. Burnt to the ground.
When Pollard iced the game with a 54-yard touchdown run, all that was left was the ashes of whatever progress they thought they had made over the last two games.
Is the message not getting through? Is it getting stale? Or is this just a bad outing against a good offense?
There was no easy answer to find in the Bears’ locker room Sunday in Dallas.
Embarrassing, frustrating, and unacceptable are all fair terms to describe the defensive performance. But it’s not a roadmap to a solution. It’s verbally thumbing through the dark until you stumble across the thing that’s evaded you.
For the Bears’ defense, that search has to start inside each individual. Before they can answer as a collective, they must do so one by one.
Only then can they ensure they won’t let another win slip through their fingers as easily as Pollard ran by them Sunday in Dallas.
Soruce : https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/bears-defense-has-no-answers-after-embarrassing-performance-vs-cowboys/2981699/