Here are four things we learned from the Bears' 23-20 overtime loss Sunday to the Buffalo Bills:
1) Like the great majority of NFL teams, the Bears can't overcome costly turnovers and win. Their 427 total yards against the Bills were the fourth most in the league Sunday, but the Bears were limited to 20 points primarily because they committed three turnovers that Buffalo converted into 13 points. The three teams that amassed more yards than the Bears Sunday—the Falcons (568), Steelers (490) and Saints (472)—all scored at least 30 points. The Bears generated only one takeaway—a Chris Conte interception—meaning they were minus-two in turnover differential. Last season they had only one game with a differential worse than minus-one (minus-three in a 42-21 loss to the Rams in St. Louis). Last year the Bears were 5-0 when winning the turnover differential, 2-4 when they lost it and 1-4 when it was even.
2) The Bears revamped their defense during the offseason, but struggled stopping the run just like last year. As free agent acquisition Jared Allen has said multiple times, defenses earn the right to rush the passer by stopping the run, but that didn't happen Sunday. The Bears run defense surrendered 193 yards, 32 more yards than it averaged per game last season when it finished last in the NFL and allowed a franchise-record 2,583 yards on the ground. The Bears defense permitted two runs of at least 38 yards (47 and 38), something it didn't do in any game last season.
3) The Bears only kept eight offensive linemen, but their top reserves are solid. When ankle injuries knocked left guard Matt Slauson and center Roberto Garza out of Sunday's game, Michael Ola stepped in at left guard and Brian de la Puente filled in at center without the offense missing a beat. In the second half and overtime, the Bears compiled 233 yards and 17 first downs while Jay Cutler threw 31 passes without being sacked. Ola made his NFL regular-season debut Sunday after playing for coach Marc Trestman in the CFL with the Montreal Alouettes, while de la Puente started all 16 games at center for the Saints each of the past two seasons and 12 contests in 2011.
4) The luck the Bears had avoiding injuries on offense last season ran out. Last year the Bears were one of only three NFL teams that started the same five offensive linemen in all 16 games. But in Sunday's opener, they lost both Slauson and Garza as well as star receiver Alshon Jeffery to a hamstring injury. Receiver Brandon Marshall finished the game, but he was limping noticeably after landing awkwardly on his leg while being tackled late in the third quarter. Moving forward, it appears the Bears will have to rely on their depth on offense more than they did last season when quarterback Jay Cutler was the only starter to miss multiple games with an injury.