The Chicago Bears lost quarterback Jay Cutler to a torn labrum, and after putting it off, finally announced on Thursday that Cutler would be lost for the season. Matt Barkley started in Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, marking his first start since 2013. He will make his second straight start this Sunday when Chicago hosts the San Francisco 49ers.
Against Tennessee, Barkley threw for 316 yards, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. He completed 53.8 percent of his passes on the day. He had some overthrows and showed impatience on plays, but he also dealt with a whole lot of dropped passes. James Brady broke down Barkley’s day for SB Nation.
I took a few minutes to chat with Windy City Gridiron’s Jeff Berckes to get his thoughts on Barkley’s performance. I asked Jeff how much of Barkley’s numbers were because of fourth quarter garbage time, and whether or not we should expect a lot of Jordan Howard against the 49ers bad run defense. Here’s what Jeff had to say.
Matt Barkley is not a talented quarterback, but it is worth mentioning that if not for a Josh Bellamy drop in the end zone, the Bears likely end up winning that ball game. In fact, Bears receivers set a modern record for most dropped passes with 10! A third string QB throwing to a bunch of replacement-level wide receivers and you set a record for most drops - not particularly surprising but a good synopsis of the Bears season.
Ideally, the Bears run early and often with Jordan Howard in the lead and Ka'Deem Carey and Jeremy Langford chipping in five touches each. Howard has been fantastic, winning a player of the week award and completely outperforming his fifth round selection. He's on pace to easily eclipse 1,000 yards rushing with over 5 ypc and has even been effective out of the backfield as a receiver. In fact, it wouldn't be a surprise if Howard finished with over 1,500 yards from scrimmage, a mark Bears fans have come to appreciate from years with Matt Forte. Keep in mind, this is despite the fact that his first start didn't come until Week 4 and he's playing on a 2-9 team that has been playing from behind most of the year. Bears fans love running backs and linebackers so to find what looks like the next great Chicago running back is a silver lining to this dumpster fire of a season.