Film Study: Marquess Wilson’s breakout game matters in long run

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Bears WR Marquess Wilson played very well against the Titans. (Getty)

Thoughts and observations after watching the film of the Bears’ 27-21 loss to the Titans in Week 12.

Mix in Marquess

The Bears’ 10 dropped passes overshadowed Marquess Wilson’s great game. He made eight catches on 11 targets for 125 yards and a touchdown. His receptions and yards were career highs.

He also drew a pass-interference penalty on cornerback Jason McCourty on the Bears’ first play, which resulted in a 33-yard gain.

Wilson wasn’t immune to the drops. On first-and-10 from the Titans’ 14 in the fourth quarter, he beat cornerback Valentino Blake on a fade route, but quarterback Matt Barkley’s pass went through his hands.

Earlier in the fourth, Wilson failed to make a diving catch after fighting through Blake’s coverage. It was a difficult play, but he got both hands on the ball.

Still, Wilson distinguished himself among the receivers. He had the type of performance that was expected from Cameron Meredith with Eddie Royal limited and Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White out.

Against the Titans, Wilson looked like a better route runner than Meredith and White are at this point. Running a variety of routes, he found soft spots in zone coverage, beat man coverage and displayed a willingness and toughness over middle of the field, where he had receptions of 18, 19, 14 and 21 yards.

Overall, Wilson was responsible for five of the Bears’ 10 longest plays.

It helped that the Titans’ secondary is a mess. Every defensive back struggled against Wilson. He easily beat cornerback Perrish Cox on his post route for his eight-yard score. The Titans cut Cox on Monday.

But it still was Wilson’s second game back from the physically unable-to-perform list (broken foot in minicamp).

A seventh-round pick in 2013, Wilson is in the final year of his rookie contract, but his upside is obvious. Plus, he’s only 24.

“He’s a young player that has a good skill set,” coach John Fox said. “At times [Sunday] you saw that. With any young player, it’s all about consistency and that’s something we can build on really with all those guys.”

Forcing the issue

Barkley’s two interceptions were classic cases of forcing the ball. Neither Meredith (in the end zone in the third quarter) nor tight end Ben Braunecker (at the Titans’ 12 in the second) were open.

Being in the red zone, Barkley should have thrown the ball away to maintain the scoring opportunities. With eight career interceptions on 119 passes, inexperience only is partly to blame.

Missing Floyd?

Running back Derrick Henry’s 11-yard touchdown run was a play where rookie outside linebacker Leonard Floyd was missed.

Veteran outside linebacker Sam Acho handled tight end Anthony Fasano’s cut block well, but he doesn’t have the agility or speed to abruptly change direction as Floyd does.

Henry cut outside and raced around Acho’s contain into the end zone.

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