Bears Vs. Texans: Notes, Scribbles, and Things Jotted Down

David Banks

Kellen Davis? Michael Bush? Gabe Carimi? Jason Campbell? We look at our notes from yesterday's loss to the Texans.

  • Okay, let's start with Jason Campbell, and more importantly, what I don't like about him. Campbell has some really good mobility for escaping the pocket, and a decent arm for putting the ball in play for Brandon Marshall for 45 yards, but he rarely shows it off because he's so quick to take the checkdown route. Seriously, I'm not a fan of his decision-making. I'm pretty sure the Jason Campbell playbook reads "Two minute warning from your own 30? Checkdown. 3rd and 13? Checkdown. 4th and 5? Chuck it down the field to Kellen Davis." So what do I like about him? He's not Caleb Hanie.
  • One thing that's always bothered me about backup quarterbacks is that offensive coordinators seem to have the "sack retreating into body cavity" effect, where they start taking the risk out of the playbook and start calling safer plays that take the ball out of the quarterback's hands either more quickly or just flat out handed to the running back. I understand that, to a degree, when you have a young quarterback that you're bringing along slowly and developmentally, and any backup quarterback isn't going to have the full mastery of the playbook that the starter's been working with forever. But when you've got a quarterback that's been in the league as long as Campbell has been, you can open things up a little more. So I was relieved to see the 45-yarder to Marshall dropped perfectly on the left sideline.
  • I'm going to say this much about it - Campbell's "offense" didn't help the team win (especially coming in cold in a crap-condition of a game), but Arian Foster's touchdown catch against perfect coverage by Lance Briggs was the decider. What really killed the team were too many mistakes in the first quarter in conditions that just are not suited, at all, for staging any kind of offensive comeback. Kellen Davis, can't get the ball popped out on contact. Michael Bush? You make your living driving into people while running the ball, you can't lose it on contact either.
  • I'm kind of surprised that there were no flags called on either side for pass interference or anything like that, so I'm not at all surprised that there was no pass interference called on two plays that probably should have had it. I mean, if they're going to consistently not call it, we can't be too surprised when they... don't call it.
  • The "Jay Cutler Play." I'm not entirely convinced Cutler was wholly over the line of scrimmage on the throw, and that headshot is what made him an entirely different quarterback for the rest of the half. On the interception thrown at Marshall, Kareem Jackson faked man coverage on Earl Bennett but bailed immediately to hit his zone, and Cutler never saw him coming, nor that Bennett was open. Do the Bears win this one with Cutler? Not sure.
  • Yes, I'm actually going to defend the playcalling. Yes, when it's raining, you want to run the ball more for "security." Security didn't help Bush or Davis. But several of Jay Cutler's throws (I mean pre-concussion Cutler) hit receivers in the hands - Marshall would have had a touchdown, there were back to back drops, a couple first downs... You get the picture. Execution was the larger culprit, not the playcalling. Matt Forte got his carries - 16 carries, 39 yards, 2.4 average and a long of 8 - so why not try some passes? Cutler's 16.7 rating doesn't show how... okay he was in the first quarter, in my opinion. The first INT though, well, there are better players to force the ball to than Kellen Davis.
  • Let's throw some praise out there for the pass protection, and it helped a bit that Cutler was particularly mobile tonight running for three first downs. They never allowed themselves to be completely overwhelmed, and even when Carimi let JJ Watt overtake him, Cutler took off up the open field. But in seriousness, good, largely penalty-free game from the line (except, you know, when they couldn't afford any penalties).
  • While we're at it, the NBC booth actually uttered "Nice job by J'Marcus Webb" regarding his blocking of Connor Barwin on Marshall's 7-yard screen pass.
  • Tim Jennings is a thing. He plays with fire a bit, but it largely paid off for him. He deserves a little Pro-Bowl attention, but with Tillman being almost surefire at this point, I don't now how two from the same team make it. Both of his interceptions required a lot of technique and driving on the ball, but one of his picks were created with the receiver hitting the deck. Jennings' eight interceptions are the most for a Bears' defensive back since Mark Carrier (10) in 1990.
  • There. Is. No. Bear. Weather. Moving on.
  • I think at this point, we're done with Kellen Davis as a receiving option. Raining, yeah, but way too many errors.
  • Robbie Gould should be a pitcher - he kicks a mean knuckleball.
  • If teams are going to keep doing the "Squib kick to keep it away from Devin Hester" thing, please, keep kicking it into the gut of JT Thomas.
  • The Bears' defensive line rotation will miss Shea McClellin more than we think. The line was really pretty good, though - Stephen Paea was strong early and Henry Melton was a man late, freeing things up for Peppers to pick up the lone sack of the game.
  • What I hope doesn't get lost in the game is Matt Schaub's stat line - 14/26, 95 yards, TD, 2 INT - 42.9 QB rating. He didn't play well. At all.
  • Okay, I'll admit, Devin Hester can't pick up 30-yard balls in the air in the rain with one arm. Dammit Marshall, stop showing off with your one-armed perfectly-tucked catches - you make Kellen Davis look bad.
  • Earl Bennett caught the second reception of the game for the Bears, and was promptly never heard from again.
  • On the Texans' lone touchdown drive, Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher spent the entire drive getting trapped and overextended out of the play entirely - Foster (and Justin Forsett) ran behind some very good cutback lanes opened by the left side of the line, and then it took a perfect throw and perfect catch to beat perfect Briggs coverage literally on the goal line.
  • Aside from that series though, Briggs was outstanding, and Urlacher had as good a second half as we've seen out of him this year.
  • Arian Foster. He's pretty good. He had a couple huge plays, but was also largely held in check - lots of 1, 2, 3 yard carries holding him down to a 3.5 average. Andre Johnson looks like he's lost several steps from all the injuries he's suffered the last couple years, and now he's pretty much just a guy - albeit a pretty good guy.
  • I jotted this down before they showed the graphic (/hipster), but it looked like the Texans were doing a much better job hitting the outside holes instead of the interior. Stephen Paea looked really good.
  • Minor semi-related note, there's this. I'll just let it stand for itself.
  • I've touched it before, but Michael Bush fumbling on the fourth and one (after gaining ten) just doesn't work. That being said, great call to go for it and get it - it's entirely on Bush for giving it up, though.
  • Major Wright was huge in run support last night. Foster got into the second level a couple times, but Wright and Chris Conte did a pretty good job.
  • From the intros: "J-Joe"? Okay, Johnathan Joseph.
  • What I really dig is that after a turnover, the team's defense is largely going to pick them up. They stick with the defense, they continue to force the offense to make plays, and more often than not, they hold to a field goal. They gave up ten points on turnovers, but there were never really any times when the Texans' offense just stormed the Bears' defense, and the Bears' defense was strong enough to allow the offense to stay in the game.
  • It's still an awe-inspiring thing watching the Bears' defenders rally to the ball - Idonije broke into the Texans' backfield and slowed up Foster but couldn't bring him down, but everyone else came on in to make the hits to finish bringing him down well behind the line of scrimmage.
  • JJ Watt did nothing all game - beat Carimi once or twice, but couldn't get to either Cutler or Campbell.
  • Despite Foster's best efforts, the Bears' offense actually was better in yards-per-play, 4.4 to 3.5, and especially in running, 5.0 to 3.6.
  • So, what was this game? It was a defensive struggle in extremely sloppy conditions where neither offense could get a single thing going in their favor, one offense made fewer mistakes, the other made a couple more mistakes and played a half with a backup at quarterback, and got beat. Games like this happen, and unfortunately, the Packers now sit only one game back, and the Bears move into a Monday night matchup with Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers. It doesn't say that the Bears are a bad team now because they couldn't beat a very good Texans team in less than prime conditions, they're still a division leader in the tough NFC, and are still in the hunt for the top of the playoff race. Hopefully, Cutler will be okay, and it won't be raining like that again.
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