Bears not looking at Browns as an 0-14 team — ‘We look at tape’
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The ignominy of losing to an 0-14 team will not be part of John Fox’s pep talk this week. The Bears are not in great position to play that card, anyway.
“We look at tape — we don’t look at the record, regardless of whether they’re 14-0 or 0-14,” Fox said.
The Bears are seven-point favorites against the 0-14 Browns on Sunday at Soldier Field. They are 0-7 as favorites in three seasons under Fox.
The Browns were 0-14 last year when they beat the Chargers 20-17 at home. And this year’s team is better. They’ve lost four games by a field goal, and also lost to the Packers 27-21 in overtime — albeit with Brett Hundley at quarterback.
The return of former Pro Bowl wide receiver Josh Gordon has given rookie DeShone Kizer a quality target. Gordon has 12 receptions for 201 yards (16.8 avg.) and one touchdown in three games.
“The receivers are pretty impressive-looking — both Gordon and [Corey] Coleman, ” Fox said. “DeShone’s made some plays, is very capable. Defensively, they’ve got the No. 1 pick in the draft in Myles Garrett — so they’ve got some good, young players. They’ve had some close games. I know everyone looks at results, but we look at tape.”
Bears vs. the bad
The last time the Bears faced a winless team in the second half of the season was in 2001, they beat the 0-10 Lions 13-10 at Soldier Field — and needed Leon Johnson’s one-yard touchdown run with 5:34 left to win that.
This is the latest the Bears have faced a winless team since 1977, when they beat the 0-11 Buccaneers 17-0 in the last year of the 14-game schedule. It was the Buccaneers’ 26th consecutive loss since entering the league in 1976, before they won their final two games in 1977.
The worst team — record-wise — the Bears have lost to this late in the season was the 1979 Lions, who were 1-11 when they beat the Bears 20-0 at the Silverdome on Thanksgiving Day.
Fox had little reaction to the news that Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson would sell the team following the season amid an NFL investigation into workplace misconduct allegations against Richardson. Fox coached the Panthers from 2003-10.
“I don’t know the stories; don’t really want to know the stories,” Fox said “[I] just want to tell you that my dealings with him were all very, very positive and good things.”
Circumstances put rookie safety Eddie Jackson in a tough spot when he lost a jump ball to Lions wide receiver Marvin Jones for a key 58-yard gain on third-and-18 in the second quarter Saturday. The Bears didn’t contain Matthew Stafford, nickelback Bryce Callahan slipped and Jackson got boxed out.
“At some point you have to make sure you have him boxed out,” Fox said. “Part of the problem was we lost our nickel … ideally we would like to have two guys there. But as far as Eddie goes, that guy [Jones] made a good play.”
Follow me on Twitter @MarkPotash