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Chicago Bears: Evaluating the Team's Recent Offensive Slump

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Chicago Bears: Evaluating the Team's Recent Offensive Slump
John Gress/Getty Images
Jay Cutler has been sacked 11 times in his last two games.

After the Bears destroyed the Jacksonville Jaguars back in Week 5, it looked as if the Bears could be unstoppable for the remainder of the season.

Week 6 was the bye week for the Monsters of the Midway, but when the team returned to action against Detroit in Week 7, the offense was less effective.

They squeaked out a 13-7 victory over the Lions that night. While some teams do show a little rust after a bye week, it seems like the Bears offense has been in permanent hibernation over the last couple of weeks.

Last week, the Carolina Panthers came calling to Solider Field. On paper, the Bears should have disposed of Cam Newton and Company the same way they did Jacksonville.

For most of the game, Lovie Smith's defense looked lost on the field. Cam Newton was able to find Steve Smith with the greatest of ease.

But the bigger problem that day was Coach Smith's offense. Matt Forte found the end zone early in the game, but the offense would be held scoreless for the rest of the half.

The second half got off to a rocky start. The Bears would be outscored 6-0 in the third quarter. It was good to see the offense finally come to life in the fourth quarter.

They finally showed a sense of urgency, picked up the pace and they spent the last seven minutes of the game in two-minute-drill mode.

Of course, Tim Jennings becoming the latest Bear to return an interception for a touchdown was a huge help. 

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
J'Marcus Webb (73) and the Bears offensive line have struggled in pass protection recently.

The failed two-point conversion attempt that followed should have never happened. With the way the offense played throughout the day, a simple extra-point kick would have been enough.

The Panthers would march down the field and score on their next possession anyway. I was really nervous during the final drive of that game.

I was upset that Bears couldn't get in the red zone, but thank goodness for the leg of Robbie Gould. The Bears would win 23-22, but I refuse to take pride in that victory.

I hope the Bears didn't take pride in that game, either. While the defense came up big in the end, Steve Smith ran circles around the Cover 2 all day.

But the biggest issue has been the offense. They have been flat-out sluggish since the bye week. During the last two games, Jay Cutler has been sacked a total of 11 times.

That's one sack too many. While the offensive line does need to protect better, Jay Cutler also needs to know when to run for it and when to throw the ball away.

Sometimes he holds onto the ball for too long, and sometimes he tries to make something out of nothing. That won't work in the NFL.

Another troubling statistic is that the Bears have only converted 8-of-25 third-down attempts in the last two games. This needs to improve if the Bears are to get back on track.

Jay Cutler has completed 35-of-59 passes for 336 yards. He's only thrown one touchdown pass, and he also has an interception since coming off the bye week.

There are some quarterbacks in this league who gain those total numbers in a whole game. Cutler really needs to get in gear in order for the Bears offense to revive.

Brandon Marshall, Earl Bennett and Matt Forte have been go-to receivers for the Bears in these last two games.

Devin Hester, Kellen Davis, Matt Spaeth and Kyle Adams have seen significant playing time in recent weeks but haven't put up great numbers.

The four of them have only totaled six catches for 130 yards against both Detroit and Carolina. Kellen Davis has the only touchdown catch between them in that span.

Where are Dane Sanzenbacher and Eric Weems? They should get more playing time, at least until Alshon Jeffery comes back. The only positive aspect of the offense has been the ground game. During the last two games, the Bears have rushed for 250 yards and averaged around five yards per carry.

Although they only have last week's Matt Forte touchdown since the bye week, they have have been able to gain yards with the run.

A few more rushing touchdowns wouldn't hurt this team. Next up is the Tennessee Titans this Sunday. Now while they do sport a 3-5 record and are third in the AFC South, this team should not be taken lightly.

These same Tennessee Titans dropped 44 points on the Detroit Lions earlier this year. They won that game in overtime. They also have an upset victory over Pittsburgh, and an offense that can explode at any time.

Rod Marinelli's defense will do everything in their power to stop Tennessee. But if Mike Tice's offense can't provide the support that the defense needs, then we could see another repeat performance from last week.

Should the Bears struggle again this week, the Titans will be capable of giving the Bears their second loss of 2012.

At the moment I give the offense a C- grade. If the Bears are going to beat Tennessee on Sunday, they need to improve to at least a B+.

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