GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 13: Running back Michael Bush #29 of the Chicago Bears carries the ball against cornerback Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 13, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Oh boy, I have absolutely no idea where to begin with this nightmare. Oh wait, yeah I do. By wishing that, like my PS3, it had a reset button.
- The Bears were victimized by their first fake field goal in nineteen years late in the second quarter when Tim Masthay shoveled the ball to the lesser-known tight end Tom Crabtree, typically more of a blocker. As much as the outcome of the play burned the living daylights out of me to watch, it was simply beautifully executed against a defense with strong consecutive sacks and which was probably smelling blood. Unfortunately, the seam opened right up in the blocking leaving Crabtree with a completely open running lane and only Chris Conte with even half a shot at stopping him, and he was walled off perfectly by two blockers. So much for that.
- Once the Packers went up 10-0, J'Marcus Webb immediately got hit with a false start penalty, putting the Bears at first and fifteen with about two minutes left, and the Bears did what they couldn't do. Down by two scores and getting the ball to start the half, when just getting points keeps things tight into the half, Cutler was nearly picked on first down and intercepted on third down. The Packers went on to kick a legit 35-yard field goal.
- After a third-down stop, the Bears were all set to receive a punt on fourth down. Problem? The Packers challenged, saying Nick Roach didn't get off the field in time. The ruling was overturned, and unfortunately correctly. The new rule interpretation according to Mike Pereira is that if a player's running off the field, having a foot in the air still counts as the player being in-play.
- After two really strong interceptions against the Colts, Tim Jennings was kind of mixed. He made some nice stops including a pair of screen blowups, but Jordy Nelson was taking him to task - twice in the first half Nelson had Jennings beat and badly, but clanked the ball off his stone hands, and again late in the third quarter when James Jones beat Jennings on the same route and had the same clank in the end zone. And with six minutes left in the game, Nelson got open on an inside cross on Jennings for a first down and big gain. Jennings did get another interception, but he's getting awfully daring.
- The Bears' defensive line was really strong against the pass - Peppers picked up two sacks, McClellin picked up his first career sack (1.5 on the night) and Henry Melton dropped Rodgers for his third sack on the year. Unfortunately, Cedric Benson came out on fire. Matt Toeaina was inactive for the game, since the Packers don't really run much - or at least hadn't. Someone didn't tell the Packers that, however, as Benson got 20 carries for 81 yards. When Peppers was on the sideline spelled by Corey Wootton (half sack) and McClellin, the Packers ran Benson right at McClellin and grabbed decent yardage.
- But related to that, Rodgers really didn't look that good himself. His reads weren't all there and the pressure from the Bears' defensive line was right there in his face, even when Peppers was on the sideline. But he wasn't getting much receiver help, himself - receivers dropped a LOT of passes in this one.
- Brian Urlacher still looked rough. He was having a really difficult time changing directions and cutting, and Rodgers was trying to exploit the hole between Urlacher and the safeties for a good chunk of the game. He might be able to play, but I'm not sure the Bears can keep putting him out there if that spot's going to continually get targeted because he can't reach it anymore. Alternatively, the Bears could consider dropping the safeties lower a couple yards to reduce that hole. That being said, Urlacher looked better as the game went on, and started picking up steam, especially in run defense, making a crucial third-down stop on third and one midway through the third.
- Gabe Carimi can't let himself get called for a fifteen-yard personal foul after just getting a first down. That and a sack will kill a drive every time.
- Coaches tend to script the first couple series to kind of probe the defense, find out what's working and how. It's hard to gauge that when there's a bunch of sacks, penalties and incompletions for those plays. The first couple series were bad against Indy and they were bad against Green Bay too. The difference was Indy stopped getting pressure on Cutler. Green Bay never stopped.
- For whatever reason, Cutler's reads were not as sharp as they were on Sunday. Call it Dibeetus Night Vision, call it shirking away in prime time, whatever. In the third quarter, he lofts a high one to Kellen Davis, who can't get under it, the ball hits the safety square in the stomach, and drops. His second quarter interception just should not have been thrown. His third quarter interception was the product of 3rd and long and trying to force the ball into some very good coverage on Earl Bennett. And in the fourth quarter, the read was fine, but there was not enough distance on the throw - the underthrown ball just got picked up.
- But are Cutler's night-game struggles due to the 'beetus or is it something more, like most of the Bears' opponents in these night games being really good teams that get after the passer frequently, consistently, and connect often? And when Cutler gets rattled early, it carries through.
- Last night's protection struggles weren't limited to Webb - the interior, particularly Roberto Garza, just couldn't block any kind of concentrated blitz or any pass rush - of course, doesn't help Matt Forte and Michael Bush couldn't really get a block in either, especially Forte (first play of the game ring any bells?).
- The Bears did start making some adjustments in the second half. Some of the Bears' calls in the first half look like they wanted to force the ball to Marshall or Jeffery; in the third quarter, they started including Forte in the passing game, running him from the backfield and in the slot, and went to him on a pair of first downs early on. Forte's still a big part of this offense, and if he's gone for any length of time with his ankle, Michael Bush needs to be up to the task.
- The Bears finally got Brandon Marshall open for 28 yards in the end zone... and Marshall drops the ball himself. The Bears settled for a field goal. Trust me, from my living room, I'm pretty sure even I was feeling some extremely tangible frustration from the Bears' sideline.
- Oh, Peanut, do you ever tire of punching Jermichael Finley's balls? (Wait what?)
- What do you know, the Bears can drop passes too - Devin Hester dropped a third down reception that would have gone for a first.
- Regarding the refs, they weren't great, but they weren't horrible. They got the "12-Man" call right, but they missed quite a few holds, especially a pair of blatant ones committed by Webb.
- Brandon Marshall got his first reception at 7:20 remaining in the fourth. And it's not for lack of trying to get the ball to him. Sacks, incompletions, drops, and struggling to get back to the ball in the end zone on the next play.
- Oh hey, look at that, Kellen Davis can actually make a play in the passing game for a touchdown. He sure had a lot of time to prepare for that one; it's not like he did much else all game. He was victimized by Matthews for one of his sacks and just looked miserable.
- Evan Rodriguez had his moments in the run game, but one play, he ran past three potential tacklers to block further downfield only to look back and see those three tacklers crush Michael Bush two yards shy of the line of scrimmage.
- Mike Mayock just may have a future in football, ladies and gentlemen.
- If you're looking for one key culprit for the loss, it's a tossup between pass protection, Cutler, and the receivers. No one seemed interested in blocking Clay Matthews (Les is gonna be busy next Thursday...), when he was blocked Cutler couldn't hit his receivers, and when he could the passes were dropped.
- Couple of box score notes, the Packers had 19 first downs to the Bears' 11 and had 321 total yards to the Bears' 168. Happens when the teams allow 12 sacks total for 119 yards combined.
Well, we've got ten days to suck the loss up and get ready for St. Louis next Sunday. Keep in mind, this is week two, the Bears are 1-1, tied with the Packers, and it's only September. The ledge is nowhere near necessary at this point. That's all I've got for you now. What were your thoughts on yesterday's debacle?