Chicago Bears 2012 Season in Review: What Went Right, What Went Wrong

The 2012-13 season was yet another disappointing season, to say the least, for Chicago Bears fans.

Bears fans saw their team become the first since 1996 to miss the playoffs after starting the season 7-1.

I, along with many other fans, was very optimistic about the Bears’ playoff chances at the beginning of the season. Jay Cutler was healthy, we finally had a true number one receiver, our defense was solid, and we had a one-two punch at the running back position.

Yet, even with all the players the Bears brought in to help the offense, it ranked 28th in the league, bringing forth more questions than answers about how the team should address its problems.

I am sure there will be a lot of talk about the changes the Bears should make before next season, but now is the time to look back at the good and the bad from the just-concluded 2012 season.

Things That Went Right

Alshon Jeffry

The rookie wide receiver from South Carolina pleasantly surprised me this season. His numbers don’t say it, but Jeffry had a much better than expected rookie season. He has great hands and is a perfect fit behind Marshall and Bennett.

Give this kid one more year or two, and he’ll be a major asset for this Bears’ offense.

The Bears are going to have some serious threats at the receiver position in the future.

Alshon Jeffery, Greg Toler

Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman

The defense of the Bears continued to be a force in the NFL this season, and it was mostly because of these two guys’ play at cornerback. They combined for 11 interceptions and four touchdowns, stealing the the spotlight from Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs, both of whom had good but not great seasons.

The Bears are well-known for their excellent run defense, but their pass defense has been below average in recent years. Tillman and Jennings gave opposing offenses something to consider when they play the Bears.

The defense continues to be solid for the Bears, but most of their players are now in their 30s, making me wonder how long this level of play can continue.

The Duo of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall

The Bears brought in Brandon Marshall in hopes of rekindling the chemistry he and Cutler had in Denver; and boy, did it work.

Marshall posted phenomenal numbers, catching 118 balls for 1,508 yards and 11 touchdowns, both being career-highs.

There were times when Cutler may have been too fixated on Marshall, but with Jeffry hurt in some games, Hester being useless, and his tight end being Kellen Davis, can you blame the guy?

Cutler and Marshall did not automatically make the Bears’ offense a threat in the NFC, but the Bears finally have a number one receiver they can be honestly be proud of.

Things That Went Wrong

Duo of Matt Forte and Michael Bush

This isn’t a knock of Forte, who continues to be an integral part of the offense, but more of a knock on the wasted opportunity this duo could have had.

The first three games the Bears used Bush exactly as they should have. His specialty is picking up first downs and touchdowns in short yardage situations, and that’s exactly what the Bears used him for. As a result, Bush had three touchdowns and 151 rushing yards on 44 attempts.

But, slowly, Bush was phased out of the offense.

After week 4, Bush only was given 10+ carries twice, one coming on a game where Forte did not play due to injury. The change in plan had me scratching my head. It just seemed stupid for a team to pay Bush so much and not use him.

Offensive Line

The O-line was the biggest problem last season for the Bears, so one would think the team would at least try to make some improvements over the offseason. But that would make too much sense for a team that is often conservative about the wrong things.

The Bears inactivity in terms of improving the O-line cost them once again. I lost track of how many times the starters for the line changed. It must have been at least 10 times, probably more. You can’t honestly expect to be successful with that much change.

The Bears have officially fired Love Smith as their head coach. With that finally done, the Bears can focus on improving this are of the team.

Offensive Play Calling

It’s very telling that Lovie was a great defensive-oriented head coach, but was below adequate for leading an offense. Many offensive coordinators were brought in over the years who were not up to the task, in part because the Bears didn’t have a lot of weapons for guys like Mike Martz to work with. And now that they finally do, the team is stuck with a below average coordinator in Mike Tice.

lovie-smith

The Bears love calling short pass plays, but none of their receivers excel in that category. You can tell Cutler would prefer to throw the ball into the middle of the field, past the first down marker now that he has Marshall, and Jeffry is going to be great for that style of offense.

The conservative-style offense the Bears have had since I can remember is old news now that the organization is focused on building this offense into a serious threat.

******

The 2012-13 season was  a serious disappointment and was another waste of a great defense, but the upcoming offseason is looking like it could be a positive one with a lot of spring cleaning happening.

If that’s the case, then I am all for it and can’t wait to watch my Bears play next season.



About Tyler Juranovich

Tyler Juranovich is an Indiana native, a Ball State student, and a senior writer for MSF, where he's been writing about Chicago sports since 2009. His favorite teams are the Chicago Blackhawks and Bears. He's also a lover of reading, music, and movies. Follow him on Twitter (@tylerjuranovich) or email him at tyler.juranovich@gmail.com

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