Chicago Bears: Offensive line gets exposed against Colts

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

The Chicago Bears offensive line left a lot to be desired yesterday.

After an abysmal offensive performance in the Chicago Bears 19-11 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, it’s fair to ask whether we have overestimated the offensive line’s progress. For the previous three weeks, we have been heaping praise on Juan Castillo for turning around a unit that left much to be desired last season.

However, through three weeks the team was running the football at an improved clip, ranking near the top 10 prior to the Colts game. In 2019 they rushed for just 91 yards per game. Through the first three weeks, they were averaging 138 yards per game.

But then yesterday happened, and the Bears experienced quite a dramatic dropoff mustering a pathetic 28 yards on 16 carries. It seemed as though on every carry, the running back was met at the line of scrimmage or in the backfield.

In addition, it felt like quarterback Nick Foles was under pressure for much of the game, and was hit a total of five times. That’s a big problem for Foles who is obviously a much less mobile quarterback than Mitch Trubisky.

So what happened? Was it just an off day, or have we overestimated how much this offensive line has improved? I think it’s the latter.

For starters, the team feasted on three terrible defenses to begin their season. Playing the Detroit Lions, New York Giants, and Atlanta Falcons will surely inflate your overall statistics, and that appears to be what happened. When the Bears took on a formidable defensive front in the Colts, they got pushed around with ease. Had we seen a slight dropoff in production, we could have excused it as an anomaly. But based on how they were dominated, it’s more likely they were exposed for who they really are.

At least one offensive line expert agrees. Former Bears Olin Kreutz had expressed some skepticism that a new offensive line coach could have such an immediate and dramatic impact on the unit. Based on his response to the tweet below, evoking the famous “they are who we thought they were” GIF, it seems he was not convinced this unit was markedly improved.

Unfortunately, what we saw on our television screens on Sunday confirms this assessment. The line, particularly on the edges, were turnstiles. Looking a step slow and overmatched, the offensive line’s performance should be cause for concern.

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They simply must play significantly better in the weeks ahead if they want to have any chance of making the playoffs, let alone making a run. The question today though, is, can they? Perhaps they are who we feared they were.