Head Coach: John Fox (2-5 w/ Chicago, 121-94 Overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Adam Gase
Defensive Coordinator: Vic Fangio
John Fox is in his 14th year as a head coach in the NFL after stints with the Carolina Panthers (2002-2010) and the Denver Broncos (2011-2014), both of which he helped lead to Super Bowl appearances. During his time in Denver the Broncos compiled a 46-18 record and four straight AFC West Crowns, though his departure seemingly hasn't slowed them down. Outside of his final season in Carolina, Fox's Panthers never finished worse than 7-9 and made the playoffs three times.
Fun Fact: Fox coached the Chargers defensive backs from 1992-1993 and got his coaching career started as a graduate assistant with San Diego State in 1978.
Gase has worked with Fox since 2011, and coached in Denver from 2009-2014. After serving as a position coach for the majority of his coaching career, Gase ascended to offensive coordinator in 2013, and went to Chicago to join Fox at the same position after the latter was fired during the 2014 offseason.
Fangio has coached in the NFL since 1986, outside of a one year stint as Stanford's defensive coordinator. Prior to joining the Bears this season, Fangio spent the previous four years as the 49ers defensive coordinator before the exodus out of San Francisco this offseason.
Last Week's Recap: Loss vs. Minnesota 23-20
Turns out the Chargers aren't the only team that can lose a game on the final play. After losing almost-literally half their offense in Matt Forte to a knee injury, the Bears battled the Vikings throughout only to lose via a Blair Walsh 36-yard field goal as time expired. Prior to that field goal, Chicago entered the fourth quarter up three before another Walsh field goal knotted the contest at 13-13. A Jay Cutler touchdown run restored the lead to Chicago with under five minutes to go before Teddy Bridgewater and Stefon Diggs erased it with a 40-yard score.
Cutler was efficient, going 22-33 for 211 yards and a score. Likewise, the ground game wasn't flashy, totaling 97 yards and a score on 25 carries. Meanwhile, Teddy Bridgewater managed just 187 yards through the air on 17-30 passing, while Adrian Peterson was his normal self, carrying the ball 20 times for 103 yards.
Key Players: Offense
QB Jay Cutler, WR Alshon Jeffrey, TE Martellus Bennett
The cupboard is pretty bare here to begin with, let alone when the Bears are missing Forte, Eddie Royal, and first round pick Kevin White. Cutler has actually played well this season, which may mean his signature relapse is upon us. Cutler is who he is, a gunslinger that can play at a Pro Bowl level but makes way too many mistakes and always falls back to the mean of average.
Jeffrey is a sensational talent, but an injured one this year. With Brandon Marshall now a New York Jet, the Bears new number one receiver has played in just three games so far. However, Jeffrey has proven highly productive in the time he's been on the field, averaging just under 8 receptions for 114 yards per game. A lengthy, physically imposing receiver, the former South Carolina Gamecock is a matchup nightmare and the quintessential deep threat.
After serving as Jason Witten's backup for the early portion of his career, Bennett spent a year with the Giants before joining Chicago in 2013. He's been highly productive since becoming a Bear, and hauled in 90 receptions a season ago. With no other receiving threat outside of Forte and the few times Jeffrey has been on the field, Bennett's numbers have suffered this season as he's averaged 8.8 yards per reception - 1.4 yards fewer than a season ago and almost 3 fewer than in 2013. Still, Bennett is a go-to option for Cutler as the 6'6 273 pound veteran presents a reliable target.
Key Players: Defense
CB Kyle Fuller, DE Pernell McPhee, LB Christian Jones
If you thought things were bad on the other side of the ball, wait until you see what Chicago has on defense. The Bears allow 28.9 points per game and a generous 128 yards on the ground, though they do boast the NFL's 4th ranked pass defense.
That being said, there is some young talent.
Like Jason Verrett, Kyle Fuller is a promising young corner out of the 2014 NFL Draft's first round. And like fellow Virginia Tech product Brandon Flowers, Fuller is best as an off man/zone corner. He's shows good anticipation and awareness and has the hands and leaping ability to contest jump balls. He is the only Bears defensive back to record an interception this season.
McPhee, meanwhile, is a fifth year talent who leads Chicago in sacks with 5. After four seasons in Baltimore, McPhee moved to the Windy City and has been the focal point of a work-in-progress defensive line. With Jared Allen now in Carolina, the Bears look for the former Mississippi State Bulldog to lead them in the trenches.
Jones is a former undrafted free agent who now leads the Bears in tackles on the season with 42. At 6'3, 248 pounds Jones possesses prototypical size for the position and has been a reliable player in the middle of Fangio's defense.