Watching the Chicago Bears lose to the Green Bay Packers last night was disappointing on so many levels. This was supposed to be the game that the Bears stood up to the Pack, puffed out their chests, and declared that their new and improved offense is for real. They didn't and it's not. I saw a whole lot of the same old craptactular offense that Chicago usually brings to Lambeau Field. The script did seem awfully familiar, defense played good enough to win, but the offense sputters.
After such big expectations following week 1 the Bears will have to take a long hard look at the film and try and fix their approach. I saw problems with so many aspects of what I watched last night, including the replacement officials, but a few missed calls isn't why the Bears lost the game. Onus number one falls on the players to play better, they were outplayed all night.
Brandon Marshall and Devin Hester had key drops on very catchable balls. Marshall's miscue hurt the most because it was a beautiful pass that caught the Pack in single coverage, and it should have been six. There's just no excuse for that. Earl Bennett failed to come get the ball on one of Jay Cutler's four interceptions. I had a Twitter conversation about that particular play last night. When a pass play breaks down and a QB scrambles, the wide outs are all taught to come back for the ball. Bennett was moving upfield on the throw and it was an easy interception. Bennett is a technically sound player and he should know better.
While I recognize that all of Jay Cutler's interceptions can't be pinned exclusively on him, he still had some stuff I took issue with. I'm getting tired of him feeling imaginary pressure when his line holds up. And I'm sick of the argument that 'he's accustomed to being pressure so he's a little gun shy', I call B.S. on that one. Either he's big and strong enough to stand in there and take a hit or he isn't. All this flinching crap is getting old. When he has a good pocket to throw from step up and fire the damn ball. I understand throwing off his back foot or not following through when he's on the move and running for his life. I can live with those glitches in his mechanics. But his throwing while retreating, when the pocket is there is inexcusable.
It's up to the players to execute the plays the coaches call, but it's up to the coaches to put the players in the best possible situation to succeed. The Green bay coaches outcoached the Chicago Bears .
That fake field goal was not a smart call, which made it an incredibly smart call. The Packers were faced with a 4th and 26 from the 27 yard line, which is not the ideal time to go with a fake. You'll usually see a fake field goal when it's 4th and a manageable distance. The Packers went all in on that play, they were either going to score a TD or give the ball to the Bears. There was a slim to no chance on extending a drive by picking up a first down, which is what you'd like when you gamble on a fake. The Bears were caught with their guard down.
It sure looked like they were surprised with the coverage that they saw on Brandon Marshall. Safety help over the top on a #1 WR is pretty standard stuff, but the Bears failed to take advantage. Split Marshall wide and run him on a streak, a post or a corner route and have a receiver run into the vacated space. Devin Hester on a drag across or leak a back or tight end into the side Marshall was on. Or better yet, run a multilevel route combination while you roll the QB out to Marshall's side.
We all do remember the roll outs that we were assured would be in the new playbook? That offense last night sure looked familiar i.e. Martzfense. Jay Cutler is a righty, Clay Mathews usually rushes from Cutler's left, J'Marcus Webb is the left tackle, so (and I apologize for shouting) ROLL RIGHT!
I understand why the Bears would go max protect so often, but Cutler had no where to go with the ball. The Bears have to sneak someone out in the flat for a check down after a few seconds. Let a back or TE chip and help with the edge rusher, then after a thousand one, a thousand two, run to the flat. And one final point on the passing game, but where were the quick hitters?
Which leads me to the run game. Where was it? Offensive linemen are usually bigger and slower than their defensive counterparts. They are at a disadvantage, athletically speaking, in the passing game. One way to offset that advantage is to pound the snot out of them. I like 6'7" 333 pound J'Marcus Webb run blocking against the 6'3" 255 pound Matthews. Punch the Packers in the mouth, let your o-line get lathered up by attacking, not catching the edge rushers. You can slow down the pass rush by keeping the defense guessing or by wearing them out with bigger bodies.
Watching the game I came away thinking that Mike Tice outsmarted himself by trying to be to cute with the offense. First play playaction again, really? I think Tice wanted to prove the new look offense and their bigger wide outs would be a problem for the Green Bay DBs. Even though I'm sure he saw how the 49ers gashed the Packers with the run game the previous week.
Where was the stretch play we heard about this off season? Zone blocking is a good way to counter a 3-4 blitzing defense. When the Packers are in their base 3-4 defense you run at the bubbles (the space between two down d-linemen). Line up in a double tight end set, double team the nose-guard and work up to a linebacker. When the Packers kick the 5 technique defensive end inside aligning him like a 3 technique defensive tackle, it gives a 4-3 look, so you simply double that guy and zone block from that hole.
Even with as excruciating a loss as that was, it's still only week 2, and the defense made some plays. There's still a lot of football left to be played and the Bears will have some extra time to right things before week 3. Historically a Lovie Smith led team has done a good job rallying the troops and bouncing back from a game like this. And that's a real good thing, because I honestly can't imagine it getting much lower than last night.