43 degrees and clear
There weren’t many strategic coaching decisions that impacted the outcome of this game. The Bills played the game with lesser personnel and had a myriad of execution issues, especially early in the game and that impacted the outcome.
Buffalo had few options at quarterback, as both their rookie starter Josh Allen and newly signed veteran quarterback Derek Anderson were out with injuries. Nathan Peterman, a quarterback the Bills don’t appear to have any confidence in, had to make the start.
This was not a particularly well-played game. Both teams struggled to move the ball on offense and both teams had double-digit penalties. The game was scoreless after the first quarter, yet the Bears took a 28-0 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Key Coaching Decision #1: (CHI ball, no score / third-and-15 , BUF 42/ 15:00 Q2)
• QB Mitchell Trubisky connected with tight end Trey Burton on a 26-yard pass on this third-and-long, that extended a drive that led to the first Bears touchdown and broke the scoreless tie.
• The Bills started Nathan Peterman. They have inferior personnel. They can’t run the ball consistently nor protect the quarterback. This doesn’t get better from game to game.
• The Bills had better offensive stats in some key categories. They had twice the number of first downs that Chicago did (22 to 11). They ran 81 plays to 46 for the Bears and had a time of possession advantage of 34:03 to 25:57. They also had 10 penalties for 163 yards.
• Peterman finished with 189 yards on 31 of 49 passing and 3 interceptions.
• They have lost four games in a row and five of their last six.
• The Bears realize they need to scheme to get their personnel in the game. Their first play from scrimmage was a creative sweep for wide receiver Anthony Miller. This appears to be an admission of the limitations of Trubisky’s skills at the time. It’s a sign of good coaching. The Bears staff wants to keep the opponent on its heels.
• The keys to the Bears’ victory were the four Bills turnovers (two of which led to Bears touchdowns) as well as the Bears being effective in the red zone (3-for-4).
• The visiting, NFC North-leading Bears had injuries of their own at key positions. Wide receiver Allen Robinson and linebacker Khalil Mack were out of the lineup.
• The Bears won big but they have things they need to work on, namely, reducing the number of penalties. They were penalized 14 times for 129 yards.