Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
We look back at our notes taken in yesterday's defeat at the hands of the Vikings.
- Man, the Bears sure figured out the perfect way to start yesterday's game, didn't they. I mean, letting them hand off to Adrian Peterson and allowing him to run through flailing arm-tackles is definitely a great defensive gameplan. And then for Alshon Jeffery to slip and fall so Cutler gets picked and taken down to the five yard line, again, that's really the way to go, right Bears? If you're going to look inept through the first five minutes of the game, going down 14-0 is sure the way to do it.
- Sarcasm aside, Adrian Peterson's running really showed just how far the gap is between him and most other running games and running backs. Yes, the Vikings can block really well, but Peterson can really get in gear and hit the holes, as well as making him hard to tackle. Plenty of times he fought through a tackle or just flat out broke an arm tackle. The Vikings may be a one-dimensional offense, but having Adrian Damn Peterson is a really nice dimension to have.
- Honestly, dropping down two scores right away really puts a cramp in the offensive gameplan. I'm sure the Bears had more Forte originally planned, and they chose to get the ball to him frequently in the passing game, but as far as running goes, if they weren't down 14, Forte would have gotten more than his 13 carries, and Michael Bush and Armando Allen would certainly have gotten more than just a single carry (well, at least Bush; Allen would probably have remained stapled to the bench). Because when the Bears were running, it was working.
- Congratulations to Brandon Marshall for breaking Marty Booker's franchise single-season receptions record with 101. That being said, he still found time to get overthrown like everybody else, and picked for an interception to boot. It was the standard "Stand five-yards back of Marshall, and if he's overthrown you have an easy pick" interception that comes with well-played man coverage and the safety help over the top.
- Alshon Jeffery showed in one game how he's both one of the best rookie wide receivers in the league and why he still has so far to go. His over-the-shoulder catch was beautiful, but his drop and his slip and fall both leave something to desire. As he gets experience, those will work themselves out.
- Cutler was rough. I don't know if he hasn't figured out yet that throwing to Kellen Davis is a bad idea (three for eight) or that overthrowing receivers is also generally a bad idea, but he wasn't particularly good. Neither was Christian Ponder. The difference is the Vikings didn't put the game on Ponder's shoulders like Cutler had to carry the team.
- Speaking of quarterbacking, someone explain to me how Jason Campbell had a 124.3 passer rating and a 95.7 ESPN QBR. The passer rating I can see, but the QBR has to really take a loose definition of the word "clutch."
- Good to see that after Peterson gashed the Bears' defense to the right, to the left and then up the middle for both touchdowns, the Bears finally figured out how to at least apply the brakes to the Vikings' offense with more sure tackling and better gap control. I thought Nick Roach was... generally acceptable at middle linebacker in this one with a few backfield stops, but I'm going to bet he gets eaten alive next week.
- Man, what is it with Major Wright, interceptions on plays, and somebody getting injured.
- The defensive line wasn't great by any stretch, particularly with the injury carousel making the rounds over in that neck of the defense, but I thought Corey Wootton had a perfectly acceptable game, notching the only sack and not really getting beat. What I want to know is, where was Julius Peppers? I think we'd better send out a search party.
- Chris Conte, however, had another poor performance, so much so that Craig Steltz was in, and promptly got injured by Wright. Which means Anthony Walters saw some game action.
- Two Vikings got into the sack column. One of them was not Jared Allen, who picked up a quarterback hit by wrapping Cutler's legs on the Everson Griffen knock-up-side-the-head. But while we're on the subject of the offensive line, the only reason James Brown got in was because he's the next man up. At this point, he's just a little too raw, and not that good, but there's definitely something there. Honestly though, I think I prefer him at tackle, but that's just my uneducated mind without something on tape to compare it to.
- Hester's returns looked a bit more north-south compared to his usual "Dance Dance Revolution" method, and they paid dividends - on five returns, Hester averaged 11.6 yards, with a long return of 21, some of his best numbers of the year. Not vintage Hester, but not "Can we get Weems or Bennett in there?!" Hester either.
- I strongly believe if Robbie Gould didn't tweak himself in warmups, the Bears are trying a 53-yard field goal instead of taking a delay of game and punting.
- For only scoring 14 points, the offense looked better than their final output would indicate - but Cutler was making mistakes without the pressure reaching him.
- Your total tight end output on the day: 4 receptions on 11 targets. For 34 yards. At this point, why isn't Kyle Adams getting more snaps? At least he was 1-3 for 9 yards, and would have been two receptions with decent yardage were it not for stepping out of bounds. On second thought, I think we may as well play 4-0-1 Spread formation as the base. Or maybe throw Dane Sanzenbacher out there at tight end, at least he'd be a speed bump if he hit the deck at the snap. Just pretend like the Bears are throwing him the ball.
- Speaking of, there was a noticeable lack of Evan Rodriguez.
- Go figure that Jason Campbell throws Brandon Marshall the record-setting reception, and not Cutler. And speaking of Cutler, I'd be surprised if he wasn't actually injured. Keep in mind the game was still entirely in reach, and this is the team that went through all the "Cutler is soft" talk during the Packers NFC Championship Game. If this time they came out and just said that he had a neck injury after the nonsense before - well, I don't think this time we'll hear from Maurice Jones-Drew saying he would play without a neck.
- Jay, please please please stop throwing interceptions and being forced to do odd things like throw yourself at people to make the tackle.
- Apparently the Vikings completely forgot Kyle Rudolph exists, as he was targeted twice and caught neither of them. Then again, I suppose when you have Adrian Peterson kicking ass early, you don't need that tight end thing man. And Ponder didn't get much on the ground after Russell Wilson tore apart the Bears, rushing four times for nothing.
- J'Marcus Webb didn't wait until the fourth quarter to commit a drive-killing penalty. In fact, the whole team couldn't wait to kill drives with penalties, committing ten for eighty yards.
- Third downs... the Vikings converted six of their 14 chances. The Bears, 7-17, and 1-2 on fourth. Going off that, the Vikings only had one drive go longer than 8 plays - 12 for 58 and that ended on a punt like so many others. The Bears had two - one that ended on downs, and the other resulting in Marshall's touchdown.
- The Bears put together three drives of over 60 yards. The Vikings only had one. The Bears had six drives of more than 40 yards and four of more than 50 yards; the Vikings had two.
- The Bears accomplished the anomaly of scoring touchdowns within the two-minute warning of both halves.
- I enjoyed Chris Kluwe's little tribute to Ray Guy. I don't think he'll enjoy the inevitable fine for sticking a Post-It Note to his uniform.
That's what I've got for you this morning. What did you notice about yesterday's game?