Bears Vs Ravens: Notes, Scribbles and Things Jotted Down

Jonathan Daniel

We're going over our notes from yesterday's five hours and twenty minutes of Bears and Ravens overtime football.

  • You can probably count me among the folks that thought the game should have been delayed from the get-go with the field's tarp on it the entire time, but that being said, it's a tricky issue for the TV folks to handle - CBS only had a single-header on Sunday and probably wouldn't have been able to show the game had it started after the storm - say, if it was moved to a late time slot.
  • Around the delay though, we actually got to see a pretty good game, even if it was a really sloppy, probably-should-have-been-called game on a field that resembled the Florida Everglades. You also probably knew that overtime was a certainty on an already-long game.
  • You just knew Ray Rice was going to break a big run on his first snap of the game, especially given the Bears' inability to stop the run. And run the Ravens did - 41 times at 4.2 yards per. The Ravens overall ran sixteen more plays than the Bears, but the Bears also didn't get a drive thanks to a certain defensive end batting a ball to himself for a touchdown.
  • Josh McCown finished the day with a 92.9 passer rating, and I would swear that until the overtime toss to Martellus Bennett to get deep into Baltimore territory for the game-winning field goal, McCown had himself a pretty pedestrian day on the stat sheet. He did almost make two very difficult throws for touchdowns and Jimmy Smith gave him, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery every possible fit in the red zone.
  • Speaking of the red zone - six plays inside the five yard line on one drive. No runs, at all?
  • That's a minor gripe, though McCown could have given Tony Fiametta a better pass, and it also might not have mattered because Martellus Bennett was all alone in the back of the end zone. And I think there was a sequence where McCown didn't find an open Marshall to try to get the ball to Jeffery short of the first down marker. Jeffery had one more target than Marshall (11 to 10) - and would you believe me if Jeffery was only ten yards behind Marshall on the season? Most of us had Jeffery at about 800 yards on the season and that would be a solid number - he's just about already there and there are six weeks to go.
  • Zackary Bowman had three really, really bad penalties on him this week, and was mostly a liability when he wasn't committing penalties anyway. Charles Tillman, please come back.
  • It was interesting to note that Corey Wootton shifted to defensive end to start with Landon Cohen playing at defensive tackle. And defensive end David Bass steals the show by getting off a cut block, batting a Joe Flacco pass, intercepting it himself and taking it in for the score.
  • And of course, Cheta Ozougwu would get a strip sack on his first game activity of the season. Something ESPNChicago's box score of the game refuses to acknowledge. At least not as of 7:30 PM last night.
  • Julius Peppers was a wrecking ball in the first 80% of the game. 11 tackles, two sacks, and four tackles for loss. Maybe it just means Peppers was able to take advantage of Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher, or maybe it means he's actually figured something out. Either way, his performance this week was encouraging that he still knows how to play the game.
  • Speaking of leading his team in tackles, here's Corey Graham with eight!
  • Jon Bostic had himself a pretty legitimate game. His interception was simply a solid play and he finally put together some good run stops after missing the play on Rice's first run. He still has plenty to work on, but yesterday was incredibly encouraging.
  • The 20 points allowed to Baltimore is tied for the lowest the Bears have allowed this year (Green Bay). And consider the Bears in their last three have allowed 20, 21, and 20, they're 2-1 in those three, and have scored 23 points per game. Really, this is the formula we were initially going to be satisfied with this year - a slightly-improved offense, and a defense that would hold teams just low enough. Thanks to the early-season points explosions, we were a little spoiled, I suppose, and Sunday's weather didn't help anything. Not to mention the last three opponents (Aaron Rodgers-less Packers, Lions and Ravens) haven't been offensive dreadnoughts. But, these are signs that maybe the defense is starting to come together and eliminate some of the growing pains that a young, mashed-together defense can possibly have.
  • The Bears had an uncharacteristically-undisciplined game, as they committed 13 penalties for 111 yards, and had several more declined, including multiple plays with multiple penalties and several special teams penalties that would have made Dave Toub spike his clipboard. That included a few drive-extending gift penalties, such as a Bowman horse-collar on third down that he celebrated as the flag was coming in.
  • Speaking of third down, the Ravens were 8-18 on third down. Early in the game, it seems like they couldn't be stopped for anything, then the rains came.
  • Which leads into, what is it with the Ravens and in-game breaks that makes them not perform well? Going back to the Super Bowl and the match against Denver, the Ravens have lost two of three games with unscheduled in-game stoppages. Unless Roger Goodell has the ability to summon tornadoes over cities at will, I think conspiracy theories can be safely ruled out, and maybe John Harbaugh just doesn't rally his guys well in the break. That's much more likely than claiming the fix is in.
  • Did you know the Bears finished the game with more total yards than the Ravens (319 to 317)? Just throwing that out there, despite the Ravens having sixteen more plays than the Bears. Joe Flacco continued to not look like a $120 million man.
  • Jimmy Smith and the Ravens' defensive backfield are a very physical bunch, and that has the potential to be a decent unit as far as forcing incompletions.
  • Josh McCown has thrown five touchdowns and no interceptions in backup duty this season.
  • I thought Marc Trestman tried to outcoach himself a bit after the rain. The Alshon Jeffery End Around made an appearance three times this week, and a couple times as well in fakes. Now, Sam and I were clamoring for the Bears to build fakes off these plays they keep showing, but some of the fakes seemed a little over the top - one was completely sniffed out as Matt Forte was blown up in the middle. There are weeks to get cute with fakes, but this, after the storms and with horrendous footing and grip, might not have been the best week to do so.
  • Also, no timeouts at the end of the game to get the ball back any sooner? Or just trying to keep the clock moving to keep pressure on the Ravens to convert on this final drive of regulation?
  • No Baltimore receiver had over 40 yards.
  • Fortunately, Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil were kept off the sack column, and Dumervil even picked up a late-hit roughing the passer penalty. A little weak, but thanks. Pass protection was largely solid this week, especially with Haloti Ngata a surprise inactive up the middle.
  • The Bears had four red zone opportunities. They came away with points twice (Field goal, touchdown). And they got that touchdown because Matt Forte is still really, really good after the catch. He had a decent day, nothing spectacular aside from his touchdown catch and run.
  • Martellus Bennett's big catch is why teams like to have big targets who can get downfield.

So what's the big takeaway from this week? The Bears overcame a sloppy field, their own sloppy and undisciplined play, and a physical Ravens team to pick up their sixth win of the year and move back into a tie with the Lions (the Lions still own the tiebreaker though). And next up, the Bears get the Rams, which could have first place in the NFC North on the line.

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