A loss that felt too much like last year’s Bears now lingers at Halas Hall after the Arizona Cardinals pummeled them 48-23 at Soldier Field on Sunday.
This week’s “Film Study” looks at the performances of quarterback Jimmy Clausen and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee and the Cardinals’ game-opening kickoff return for a touchdown.
The Bears’ offense slowed down with quarterback Jimmy Clausen (14-of-23, 121 yards) under center. It featured plenty of short, quick throws – two of which were batted down at the line – and five quick screens to Eddie Royal, Matt Forte and Cameron Meredith. The read-zone option that quarterback Jay Cutler ran well with rookie running back Jeremy Langford was no longer part of their offensive attack.
Clausen’s best throw was a 22-yard completion over the middle to rookie Cameron Meredith. His worst was telegraphing an attempt on third-and-15 to Marquess Wilson, which Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson intercepted. Peterson easily undercut the route, while better options existed.
The Cardinals also attacked Clausen. In the final two minutes and leading 48-23, Arizona blitzed Clausen four consecutive times. He missed a wide-open Royal on his final attempt.
The Bears’ offensive line didn’t help Clausen. They struggled in pass protection (two sacks) and committed six penalties after he took over.
“We’re going to learn from this tape and get ready for Seattle,” Clausen said.
Solid play by McPhee
Outside linebacker Pernell McPhee was the Bears’ best defender. After lining up primarily on the left edge in Week 1, McPhee was everywhere – left end, right end and over both guards. That should continue in the coming weeks as McPhee hurried quarterback Carson Palmer a handful of times.
McPhee’s best rush came over left guard Ted Larsen, whom he quickly beat. Palmer, though, sidestepped McPhee and made 13-yard completion on third down.
“I got to finish that — I got to,” McPhee said.
McPhee was particularly strong at the point of attack against the run. On separate occasions, he beat tackle Earl Watford and tight end Darren Fells to make tackles for no gain. McPhee also warded off two blockers to help a make a tackle for loss on Chris Johnson.
Just an ugly start
The Bears’ kickoff unit features plenty of rookies, and they all struggled on kick returner David Johnson’s 108-yard kickoff return.
* Langford was easily shoved out of the way by defensive tackle Ed Stinson
* Linebacker John Timu was handled by linebacker Markus Golden.
* Cornerback Bryce Callahan was unblocked and failed to keep contain.
* Safety Harold Jones-Quartey was held by defensive end Josh Mauro, but it wasn’t an egregious penalty.
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