After Sunday’s loss to the Lions, the Bears’ offensive players had positive things to say about the performance of quarterback Jimmy Clausen in his first start for the team.
It may have been even better, though, had Clausen gotten more help from his best receiver.
Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery finished the game with six catches for 72 yards, including a 20-yard touchdown catch with 2:45 left in the game that gave the Bears a four-point lead. But the focus after the game was on Jeffery’s four drops.
Jeffery was targeted 15 times.
“Jimmy did a great job,” Jeffery said. “The O-line protected well. I had too many dropped balls. On third down, got to make those plays.
“I catch a lot of balls all the time. But unfortunately today it didn’t work out. That’s my fault. I blame that on me.”
The last yard
With 13:30 left in the second quarter, the Bears found themselves with a 2nd-and-1 from the Lions’ one-yard line. But the team failed to gain just a yard on three consecutive plays, coming away without any points.
The first play call was a Clausen pass attempt to that fell incomplete to Jeffery. Running back Matt Forte said after the game that the team had to quickly run a play on third down so that the Clausen pass couldn’t be reviewed.
The Bears’ quarterback thought it might have been ruled a fumble upon review. As a result, the team looked disorganized on a quick run call on third down, allowing the Lions front to quickly penetrate the backfield and stop Forte for no gain. On fourth down the Bears called a play-action, but heavy pass rush from the Lions forced Clausen to throw the ball up to lineman Eben Britton who checked in as an eligible receiver on the play and was unable to catch it.
“He did a good job,” Forte said. “The offense flowed pretty well and the play calling was more balanced this time than when we played the Lions before. I think kind of establishing the run game helped him out a little bit.”