Two teams coming into this matchup with two wins each looked to maintain ball control throughout the game. With Matt Forte out the Bears turned to Jeremy Langford and Ka’Deem Carey to own the backfield while the Chargers were dealing with a number of injuries themselves. Keenan Allen is out for the season so they turned to pass catchers Michael Floyd and Danny Woodhead. This game would eventually be determined by who would make fewer mistakes and capitalize on the poor play of their opponent.
In a slightly surprising move, John Fox decided to start Ka’Deem Carey over Jeremy Langford. Carey had a few good runs on the first drive of the game but looked wild and out of control at times. Langford eventually spelled Carey towards the end of the drive when the Bears were in Chargers territory and had a nice blitz pickup to protect Jay Cutler, though the opening drive would result in no points as Robbie Gould missed the field goal.
The miscues continued on the Chargers’ opening drive as Sam Acho was left on an island covering Danny Woodhead. As Woodhead broke towards the endzone Acho clearly thought there was help over the top…which there wasn’t. The drive was led by the savvy play of Philip Rivers, as he clearly made an adjustment in protection on a 3rd and 8 play to pick up blitzing linebacker Johnathan Stewart. This allowed Rivers to extend the drive and eventually score.
— NFL (@NFL) November 10, 2015
The Bears’ second drive saw Jeremy Langford in the backfield this time, and he did his best Matt Forte impression with a huge diving catch. This was good to see considering the easy drop he had last week, and this should boost his confidence in the passing game going forward. However, the Bears failed to convert a good drive into points again as Charles Leno Jr. was beaten in protection which led to a strip-sack of Jay Cutler that the Chargers would recover.
The second quarter began with the Chargers and Bears exchanging punts. Tracy Porter came up with the big play in the middle of the field on the Chargers’ third offensive drive of the game by forcing a fumble after a completed catch. However, Cutler and Jeffery seemed to be on different pages shortly after the Bears got the ball back as Cutler threw an interception which was returned for a touchdown.
— NFL (@NFLIive) November 10, 2015
Showing resilience, Cutler went back to Jeffery on a play action pass on the first play after the turnover for a big gain. This eventually led to a touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett, making Cutler the all time Bears leader in passing touchdowns. He passed Sid Luckman who had held the record for over 70 years. Going into the half, the Chargers tacked on a field goal making it 16-7 but were banged up. Both starting corners and Michael Floyd left the game with injuries and did not return.
The Bears came out firing on the defensive side of the ball, as good pursuits and fills by their young middle linebackers Christian Jones and Johnathan Anderson led to a three and out. At this point Langford had taken control of the backfield and provided more bursts in the passing game through not only receptions but pass protection as well. However, the drive stalled once again and Gould missed yet another field goal.
On their second offensive drive of the game, the Bears really started to get their offense rolling. After three key third down conversions Jeremy Langford eventually punched in a goal line carry to make the score 16-14 at the start of the fourth quarter.
In response to the Bears’ long touchdown drive, Rivers led the Chargers on a long drive of their own. The young middle linebackers showed how raw they are once again as a blown coverage by Anderson and Jones led to a big 40 yard reception by Antonio Gates. With the Bears defense on their heels, the Chargers simply could not stop shooting themselves in the foot as they inched closer to scoring. Multiple penalties and a drop by sure-handed Danny Woodhead forced the Bolts to kick a field goal, extending their lead to 19-14.
Feeding off the energy of their previous drive and their defense holding strong, the Bears put together another strong offensive drive. Cutler converted a tough 3rd and 6 with a throw off his back foot to Jeffery, who was his safety blanket all game long. They capped it off with a tremendous catch by Zach Miller over the middle for a touchdown, and Langford pounded in the two-point conversion to give the Bears the lead 22-19.
— NFL (@NFL) November 10, 2015
That would prove to be the final score as Lamar Houston came out of nowhere to record two sacks on the Chargers’ last gasp to shut down Philip Rivers and give the Bears their third win of the season.
More breakdown to come regarding his performance, but I was really encouraged by the play of Jeremy Langford. All night I was looking for him to miss a block in pass protection here and there, which a rookie running back would be forgiven for. I didn’t see it once throughout the game, and he silenced any critics of his hands by hauling in 70 reception yards to go along with 72 rushing.
On the defensive side there was good and bad with the Bears’ young players. Adrian Amos played well once again and is now opening up his game more often to show off his athleticism. There were a couple instances where he quickly filled open holes in the run defense with a solid hit to limit a potential long run to a five yard gain. Johnathan Anderson led the team in tackles, but at times seemed lost on the field. Same with Christian Jones, but their athleticism partially made up for their lack of experience.
This was a great win for the Bears as San Diego was a desperate team playing at home (though there might have been more Chicago fans there) with a quarterback that might be in the MVP conversation if his team was helping him even a little bit. Both teams made a number of mistakes, but it was the Bears who were able to capitalize off those miscues. Both sides of the football fed off the success of each other as the Bears stuck to their gameplan and eventually wore down a very solid offensive team.