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3 and out: Bears make quick work of hapless Browns

December 25, 2017

Breaking down the Bears’ 20-3 win Sunday to move the Cleveland Browns to within one game of a winless season.

THREE MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

1. On the first play of the second half, Browns defensive end Myles Garrett tipped a pass from Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky to himself and rumbled 37 yards on the return. The turnover was wiped out, however, after Carl Nassib was penalized for lining up offsides. The Bears retained possession and Jordan Howard eventually capped the drive with a 16-yard touchdown to extend the lead to 13-3.

2. Keeping with the theme of the Browns being their own worst enemy, Cleveland had a chance to at least tie things at 6-6 late in the first half in the red zone. Instead, rookie QB DeShone Kizer tried to hit Josh Gordon on a double move down the right side. Bears corner Kyle Fuller didn’t bite Gordon’s fake and easily picked off Kizer’s pass, which was badly overthrown, in the end zone.

3. After Trubisky made it 20-3 with a 4-yard TD run with 3:33 left in the third quarter, the Browns were close to answering. Kizer hit Rashard Higgins for a 17-yard gain down to the Bears’ 3-yard line, but linebacker Danny Trevathan stripped Higgins at the end of the play and Prince Amukamara recovered the fumble to turn the Browns away once gain.

THREE THINGS THAT WORKED

1. Setting up screens. Cleveland defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was bringing pressure regularly with the Bears missing guards Kyle Long and Josh Sitton. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains did a nice job of countering with a pair of screen passes to RB Benny Cunningham, who turned his two receptions into 62 yards.

2. Neutralizing Gordon. Of course, it helps that Kizer can’t routinely put the football in the same zip code as Gordon. But still, Fuller did a quality job making the electric wide receiver a nonfactor. He finished with just two catches for 19 yards.

3. Scrambling for yards. Without Long or Sitton, the Bears had trouble handling Cleveland’s pass rush. A leaky offensive line often caused Trubisky to improvise, and the rookie QB finished with 44 yards and a score on seven rushes.

THREE THINGS THAT DIDN’T

1. Piling up yardage. Howard did manage to find the end zone twice, but the second-year RB still managed only 44 yards on 22 carries. Even in a positive game script against a bad run defense, the Bears continued to struggle to run the ball effectively outside the tackles.

2. Making early adjustments. Yes, Loggains did eventually get Cunningham involved with some screens, but it took until the second half for adjustments to be made. The Bears scored only six points in the first half and were sacked three times on third down by an 0-14 team.

3. Getting the tight ends involved. With Adam Shaheen sidelined for a second straight week, Bears tight ends combined for one catch for 24 yards. Dion Sims, who was responsible for the one catch, has been a bust as a free agent signing, and with Zach Miller’s career in serious jeopardy, the Bears will need to address the position in the offseason even after drafting Shaheen last year.

WHAT’S NEXT?

The Bears end their season next Sunday with a trip to Minneapolis to take on the Vikings, who will be trying to clinch a first-round bye and possibly home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

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