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Chicago Bears

3 and out: Bears return from bye with loss to Packers

Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Chicago Bears running back Jordan Howard (24) runs during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Three moments that mattered

1 Trailing, 10-3, midway through the second quarter, Mitch Trubisky connected with running back Benny Cunningham on a pass out of the backfield. Cunningham turned up the right sideline and lunged for the pylon. Officials ruled him down short of the end zone, but John Fox challenged the play. After review, officials determined not only did Cunningham fail to reach the end zone, he actually fumbled before the football hit the pylon, resulting in a touchback.

2 With Bears fans growing restless early in the fourth quarter, Trubisky finally came through with a big play. With receiver Josh Bellamy working down the left side, Trubisky lofted a perfectly placed pass to Bellamy for a 46-yard touchdown. The score got the Bears within 16-13 with 10:45 remaining.

3 The Packers put the game away with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Brett Hundley to Davante Adams with 5:29 remaining, but the real blow came two plays earlier. Facing third-and-2 at the Bears’ 37-yard line, Hundley scanned the field and was forced to pull the ball down. Bears linebacker Pernell McPhee had an opportunity for a sack – or at least to come up with a stop shy of the first down – but Hundley broke contain and picked up 17 yards.

Three things that worked

1 Bringing pressure: The Packers’ offensive line actually did a commendable job against the Bears’ front seven considering the unit was without starting right tackle Bryan Bulaga. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio turned up the pressure in response with blitzes to keep Hundley from settling into the pocket. The Bears didn’t get home often, but they at least disrupted Hundley’s ability to scan downfield.

2 Nick Kwiatkoski: The second-year inside linebacker filled in nicely with Danny Trevathan sidelined with a calf injury. Kwiatkoski, who made seven starts last year, hadn’t played since suffering a pectoral injury in Week 2, but he led the Bears defensively with six tackles and a sack.

3 Connor Barth: The veteran kicker entered Sunday 7 for 11 on field-goal attempts this season and had missed kicks in each of the team’s past two games heading into the bye. Barth was perfect against the Packers, however, connecting on tries of 45, 44 and 49 yards.

Three things that didn’t

1 Blitz protection: This isn’t entirely on the offensive line. Trubisky made a common rookie mistake of holding the ball too long on more than one occasion, but the line didn’t do him any favors. Without right guard Kyle Long, who was active but didn’t play, the Bears allowed five sacks.

2 The run game: The Packers entered Week 10 allowing 118 yards rushing a game and were tied for the fourth-most rushing TDs allowed. The Bears, however, were unable to establish an advantage early. Jordan Howard finished with 49 yards on 13 carries in the first half – 25 of which came on one play.

3 Third-down efficiency: The Bears converted only 36 percent (38 of 109) third-down tries through the first nine games. They didn’t help their cause Sunday, converting on 4 of 14 chances. The Bears also failed to convert on their only fourth-down attempt.

What’s next?

The Bears remain at home for to face another NFC North foe in the Detroit Lions. The Lions have won two straight after their victory Sunday over Cleveland.

The Bears have lost seven of their past eight meetings with the Lions.

– Kyle Nabors

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