Better late than never. With the other stuff I had and the ton of stories coming out I hadn't the proper time to give this some front page time, but here it is. This is a breakdown by bfos7215.
For sake of organization, I'll try to break down aspects of the games and how they were handled by each team.
I've already talked about Rex a little. If he doesn't do the things that I spoke about, then I will be more than willing to join the crowd calling for Griese. But NOT NOW. Please, I don't want to hear that. I'll try to get into a few more things that may be missed in his overall sucktitude of tonight. For the INT's, the first one wasn't a bad INT per say. It wasn't well thrown, but Moose sure could have done more to catch it or knock it down. The second pick was the worst of them all, I don't even have an explanation for what he was trying to do. It's like in Madden where your just watching the rush and hit a button without looking at the defense. The third was, as Thiesman actually pointed out correctly, a case of Rex trying to byte off way too many yards all the time. This is actually my biggest problem with Grossman's game tonight. He incomplete so many balls way down the field, half of the time to know one, that he had no choice but to try and force the ball on 3rd and longs. The fourth INT was a case of having to make a play that wasn't there on 4th and long, and it got snagged at the line, something that's not necessarily indicative a bad throw, but clearly a result of the previous poor decisions.
Rex's two fumbles were just as costly, if not more so, than his picks. I can't blame him much on the first one where Tait got beat one-on-one by a great rush from Rex' blind side. However, Rex has to learn to feel the pressure in order to avoid turnovers like his second fumble. This is just one of those things that you have to be patient with in young QB's. Feeling pressure takes time to learn.
Rex did, as hard as it may be to find, have several nice throws and showed composure, at least for a while, in their first drive of the second half, which could and should have gone for 7 if it weren't for horrible coaching decisions on first and second and goal (see Coaching). Also of note, only a few feet were the difference in Rex and Berrian connecting on two long throws that would have gone for TD's each. That 14 point miss wouldn't have just been huge in the final score, but also in overall game momentum. Rex has been insanely accurate this year, and these two misses can't be ignored in questioning what went missing in the passing game tonight.
Linehart will get more credit for his performance in this game than he deserves. But he does deserve a good deal of kudos. He out-played my expectations for him, but he also didn't face the test I expected the Bears to hand him. He started the game with 2 quick TD drives, but the were completely comprised of short 0-3 yard passes that were aided by great WR play and horrendous defensive tackling. Green, unfortunately for himself, took Linehart out of most of the rest of the game after this.
Most of the blame for the absence of the WR core goes to Rex, but not all of it. Countless balls were dropped at (granted, solid) first contact from the defense. Clark was really the only dependable set of hands, while Berrian did have one, very nice inside reception that just nearly got into the endzone to go along with his two near miss big plays. Moose follows Rex as the second worst performer on the field for the Bears. He did nothing to get open, and did nothing to make a play on Rex's first INT.
Boldin is a Stud. I don't think he dropped a pass, and that includes several in which he got nailed by someone in the secondary. Those were the catches all of the Bears receivers failed to hold on to. Both Boldin and Bryant made great yardage after the catch with the help of some ugly tackling by some of the Bears best defense-men. It's insane that Green didn't keep going to these guys throughout the game.
TJ didn't get many chances, but I actually felt more comfortable the short time Benson was in there. But, there wasn't enough running to really clarify those feelings.
Edge sucks and is a whiney-a$$ biatch that should never open his mouth again. He is easilly one of the three goats for his team's historic loss.
A story of two halves. While the Bears defense was poor in the first half in scheme, and worse in execution and tackling, they really only gave up 7 points that didn't come off turnovers (or the horrible roughing the kicker gaff) all game. As obvious as Rex's poor play was, it is just as obvious how amazingly, unbelievably awesome this defense was in the second half. I can't wait to read the journalists that try to put it into words. I think I may be most impressed by Tillman's ability to pick up that ball on the edge of the pile, on the run, and sprint to the endzone. Here's to either Brown or Harris getting healthy QUICK, or both of course.
Where was the pressure? And did you notice how many guys were were blitzing later in the game to create pressure? That was specifically one thing the Bears strive to not have to do, and it was huge in leaving gaping holes in the secondary for Bolding and Co. to sit in. I actually don't think the front 4 went to sleep this game. I think it was more of a case of a much maligned Cardinal O-Line being well prepared for this game, and executing even better.
I wasn't expecting this unit to suck, but they played even tighter than I was expecting. Most impressive were the immediate hits on receivers that broke up several key completions throughout the game. The pass rush did a hell of a job embarassing our O-Line, forcing Rex to force passes, and creating turnovers of their own. They only gave up 3 points to the offense. That deserves praise.
Hester sure continues to prove his worth. Unbelievable. To that return, though, the special teams were in my doghouse with the roughing the kicker penalty that not only gave the Cards 3 more points, but also wasted several precious minutes.
Did it look to anyone else that the Cards seemed to "give" Hester that gigantic lane up the middle? The play was supposed to go to the outside, but the Cardinal coverage unit just stepped aside and said "here". Looks like Rackers must of sold his sole to the devil for his record setting performance from last year. Meat goat #2.
Lovie mentioned it at halftime, and he couldn't be more right. The Bears were completely out-coached for much of this game. I was most disappointed with our failure to establish the running game. I can't believe I will say this, but I actually think that our coaches bought a little too much into the hype that Rex is getting. Rex had no time to find open receivers, because the Cards didn't have to defend a running game. Rex is still too young, despite his talent, to be the focal point of the offense. The Bears also failed to adjust to the quick hitting pass game from Linehart. If Linehart is only going to make 3-step drop and throws, there's no need to be 10 yards off of the receivers. The poor coaching seeped into the second half as well. Most egregiously on the 3 downs from goal-line distance. They completely wasted a down with a full-back run, and followed that up with a transparantly, obvious play-action, bootleg pass intended for one of two TE's. Nothing left to do on third down, but throw it up which our receivers don't match up well at. I didn't mind the decision to try a surprise onside kick. Those plays are actually wildly successful and it was a great time to try it. Unfortunately, it looked like Gould had never tried one of these before. The coaching really never improved through the game, despite the result. That was completely won by the individual players on defense and the punt-return. Finally, I've previously cracked on Lovie for his horrible decisions on challenges and if it weren't for the rules of replay, he would have wasted another one trying to argue that a punt didn't go out of bounds in the endzone. No way that ever gets reversed. The challenge on the third INT that was returned for a TD was a no-brainer.
Another tale of two halves. The Cards were ready for the defensive pass rush. Not only did they pick it up, but that put Linehart in a position to make easy, short passes. The Cards were ready for Rex's free slinging style of passing. The Cards were ready for the Bears stifling rush defense, and hence didn't play into it.....in the first half. For all their talk about getting a "killer" instinct to finish off games, there was NO walk to it. Green knew he was getting nothing but time killing with each run, but he continued to hand it to Edge. Green has got to be the biggest reason for the Cards sickening (except to us) loss, and this isn't even the first or second time he's made that same mistake this year. I can't decide who's more worthless as a coach: Green or Shell. His assistants all deserve A's for this game, and it's a shame for them that their head coach, our third and biggest goat, blew it.
Just a long post in hopes of thinking about the game, rather than just dwelling on either the absolute ugly or the unimaginably euphoric.