Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicago Bears Thumped

Disappointing game - no other way to put it. I thought the D played well enough to win and kept the Bears in the game throughout. Special Teams didn't do anything special but was OK. The return at the end that was called back for a hold was too bad, but I'm sure there was an unnecessary hold even if there wasn't a good shot of it on the replays. The major problem was the offense - from poor play calling, to drops, to some terrible throws, to some line breakdowns. Let me start from the back and go forward with the list.

1. O-line. Overall it played pretty well. Jay wasn't harassed all day and given that they had so many pass calls, I thought the pass protection was good. That said, there were a couple of line breakdowns. The first sack was Chris Williams blocking down when he should have had the defensive end who rushed unimpeded through the line. Williams also whiffed on a play where he pulled and missed Clay Mathews on a running play. Garza made the right calls throughout but there was a play where he forgot the snap count and everyone went except for him. There were a couple of false starts and a holding, but all that said, I did not think the O-line was a major issue. The little things need to get cleaned up but they played OK.

2 Jay had time, but his mechanics were at time shoddy. A few back foot throws and passes that sailed led to interceptions. There are plays where the pass is not there and he needs to throw it away. He was sacked three times, but one of them was clearly a coverage sack that he needs to just throw away. Not a horrible game, but mistakes that need to get cleaned up.

3. There were so many drops - Klutts, Knox, Davis, Roy Williams all had at least one drop. Knox and Williams also had balls that they needed to make a better play on and/or fight the defender for. Those again need to get cleaned up, but it is frustrating to watch and it doesn't help build confidence with Cutler.

4. Here is the major problem as I see it - MIKE MARTZ REFUSES TO RUN THE BALL. Martz called 9 rushing plays total. There were two scrambles by Cutler that gave them 11 rushing attempts. Running the ball effectively requires a commitment to run. I know the stats say the Bears couldn't run the ball, but two things: (1) even when you don't run the ball effectively you wear out D-linemen and hold the linebackers on play action plays because they have to respect you. And (2) offensive linemen and running backs get lathered up when you give a steady dose of run plays and then you break a couple of longer ones. Beyond the two obvious benefits you also get to control the clock and give your D a little longer break.

In today's NFL you are not going to stop teams from getting yards, you need to force a couple of stops and turnovers to have an effective D. The Bears did that yesterday but did not get a good enough offensive effort to win. They need to do better in coming weeks.


deepie said...

I was right about Martz not willing to make the adjustments necessary to protect Jay George. The breakdown ended up being 12 runs and 40 passes. Also, many of Martz's plays are 7-step drops. With the amount of pressure the Puckers can create, and given the state of the O-line, I'm not sure why he doesn't make things easier for his QB.

I'm not going to blame Jeff Cutler for his poor throws as long as Martz has him taking a beating each week. The drops need to stop, but your QB can't play a lot better if he's on his back every other play.

j, k, and s's d said...

They are who I thought they were. I said they have O line issues which result in no running game. I said that their WRs are not that good and I said that their secondary was suspect. All of that was exemplified yesterday.

The O line was not bad in pass protection as they did pick up the blitz pretty well. Still, they gave up 3 sacks but what was worse was that there were absolutely no running lanes. Forte is their best offensive option but you take his screens away and you lose half of the Pear offense.

As mentioned, running game is non existent. The Pears are right near the bottom in league rushing only averging 3.2 yds/carry and like 50 yds/game. That is not going to cut it. Sure, the play calling has something to do with it but when the running game is losing yards and you fall behind, you end up being forced to pass.

WRs are medicore. Way too many drops. A couple of the passes hit guys right in the numbers in stride that could have led to bigger gains but drops killed them.

Secondary is mediocre. Finley owned the secondary. They did not have an answer for him. Granted the Puckers have weapons to spare but the Pears just didn't have answers.

I too feel sorry for Jeff Cutler as he looks like a guy that has lost trust/confidence in his O line. I think he is worried about getting hit and even feeling pressure when there isn't any. It results in poor/inaccurate throws. He had a few that were way off. Keep in mind, when he was in Denver, he rarely got hit. I'm sure he is not used to getting hit so much and is tired of it.

I also mentioned with the new kicking rules, the special teams, which the Pears relied heavily on in previous years, is not as effective. No more kick returns for TDs or better field position. Cutler is going to have to engineer long drives to score and that is going to be difficult. Again, stop Forte and you pretty much stop the Pears.

On a positive note, I thought Briggs had a nice game. Made a number of individual plays and really looked like he was hustling.

Still, the Pears look like a mediocre team and look like they will be fighting for second in the North which is what I thought.

They have a big game against Carolina at home next week. It pretty much is a must win game for them. It's a home game against a weaker team in the NFL. The Pears can't afford to go down 1-3 in the season. We'll see what they can do.

Rob said...

The only thing I need to see is better balance in play calling. Our O-line is solid, but it needs to fire off the ball and get lathered up to be effective. That is the case for most teams.

I'm disappointed but not terribly upset right now. If we beat Carolina it sets up a good game against Detroit at their place.
Then we get the Vikings at home. We win the next three and we are in great shape. Let's see what happens. It is a long season.

j, k, and s's d said...

If you can't run, you have to try and pass. If you fall behind and it is getting late, you have to pass.

The problem is that the O line is not that good. They cannot create running lanes and pass blocking is suspect. Again, it looks pretty clear to me that Jeff Cutler does not trust his O line.

Beating Carolina is a must win game. It's a home game and Carolina is clearly in rebuilding mode. Detroit will be a very interesting game as it seems like those two teams will be duking it out for 2nd in the division.

Minnesota is pretty weak so that is a must win Pear game.

We'll see what happens.

Rob said...

You say the O-line isn't good, but I say otherwise. We will see.

Martz' play calling has been atrocious. It is just like last night, they were talking about how the Cowboys hadn't had a run over 8 yards in a bunch of games, but then they just stuck with it and popped a few. If you only call 9 running plays in a game it is not surprising that you don't pop one or two.

I will say this - there are really no jail breaks in the Bears backfield this year, unlike last year. There are mistakes that are to be expected with a young and inexperienced group of guys, but those will improve as the year progresses.

I agree about Carolina and the Queens being must games. I would also say that the Detroit game is critical - not so much a must game because it is on the road and they will have a chance to split with their later home game, but if the Bears win the next three they will be in great shape for taking a Wild Card slot. The first tiebreaker is head-to-head and they would have an advantage over the Lions and the second is divisional record. If the Bears go 4-2 in the division it is likely they will make the playoffs.

j, k, and s's d said...

The Panthers game is no gimme. The Pears are mediocre and again, my analysis of them before the game was pretty much on par. You have to agree with that.

The problem is that their O coordinator is an egomaniacal arse. Their QB is scared of getting hit repetively. Their secondary sucks. Their O line is not that great. Their WRs are mediocre and will drop balls. Pretty much you stop Forte, you stop the Pears. Other than that, they are a GREAT team.

Rob said...

Dude, the Bears were in the game in the 4th quarter. They didn't get blown away. All year last year you said the Bears were mediocre. As I have pointed out you have been saying the Deadskins are turning a corner every year. You were wrong on both counts.

The good thing is that we'll see as the season progresses.

j, k, and s's d said...

You say the Pears are perennial Super Bowl contenders. You are wrong.

Agree. We'll see as the season progresses.