Monster’s Mash: The Red Zone drama continues for the Bears

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Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer.

LAKE FOREST – For many years the issue for the Bears was just getting there. Not that’s no longer an issue, especially with Brian Hoyer.

Since he took over for Jay Cutler in Week 3 the offense has piled up yardage, gaining at least 390 in each game that Hoyer in under center. That included a 522 yard performance against the Colts in Indianapolis on October 9th.

The issue is getting the maximum amount of points each time the get in the Red Zone. That’s been a major problem.

Right now the Hoyer-led offense is just 6-of-14 when it comes to getting at or inside their opponent’s 20-yard line and getting a touchdown. Last week against the Jaguars they got their four times and had to settle for three field goals, points that mattered in a one-point loss at home that dropped them to 1-5 on the season.

The problem was apparent even before last week but didn’t get solved after the loss to the Colts. So what to do now? The answers are still a bit slim as the team prepares for the Packers on a short week for a Thursday contest at Lambeau Field.

“We’ve got to do better, we’ve got to execute better, I’ve got to call better plays,” said offensive coordinator¬†Dowell Loggains of the Bears’ issues in the Red Zone. “In the NFL the games are so close you can’t have those points change.”

Does that mean a few more risks inside the 20? Hoyer is a bit hesitant to do so, using an example from his 2015 season with the Houston Texans. In the team’s Wild Card playoff game against the Chiefs, the quarterback took a number of risks to help the team rally and ended up throwing four interceptions in a 30-0 loss that ended the season.

“I’m not about taking chances, risking the ball,” said Hoyer, who has yet to throw an interception as the Bears’ starter. “My No. 1 priority is taking care of the football. Whenever you start turning the football over, I learned the hard way in a playoff game last year, you really don’t get a chance to win.

“So even as frustrated as we are, trying to score touchdowns in the red area, you still don’t want to take points off the board.”


Earlier Thursday the Bears moved Pernell McPhee off the Physically Unable to Perform List and onto the active roster for the game against the Packers.

That means Vic Fangio could have another rusher to throw at Packers All-Pro quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the team’s first game against him in 2016. But this year has a bit of a different feeling than those match-ups in the past.

While not terrible by any means, Rodgers hasn’t been his normal dominant self so far this season. He’s got 1,170 yards with ten touchdowns compared to four interceptions but three of those have come in the last two weeks in a win over the Giants and a loss to the Cowboys.

Not that Fangio is all that concerned about his recent struggles nor is he taking him lightly come Thursday night.

“I still see the great quarterback that he is with the release and the scrambling and the mobility and the creativity and the accuracy,” said Fangio of Rodgers, whom he is 1-1 against as the Bears’ defensive coordinator. “They’ve just gotten beat by the two best teams in the NFL currently in Dallas and Minnesota in, you know, tight games.

“They are still the same offense they have always been. He’s still the same quarterback he’s always been.”


The Bears’ All-Time win percentage when they play on Thursday Night Football. They will do so for the first and only time in 2016 on Thursday.