Coming off a big game where the offense was instrumental in providing the W sure does feel good. As noted before, our Defense stepped up their game and allowed our offense to take the field. At first, the offense didn't look great, but did enough to get us in position for a bunch of field goals.
It was confusing to watch the Offense on Sunday. Once again, we couldn't do anything big in the beginning of the game and in the last couple of minutes we were unstoppable. Although, credit should be given to Ron Turner for trying to utilize our two big play threats in Greg Olson and Devin Hester. In both cases the only thing that stood in between us busting the game wide open was two great plays by Sheldon Brown of the Eagles.
I appreciate Turner engineering the stabs at the big plays as much as the next guy. Apparently, Turner reads this blog as well and heeded Chad's advice to employ the Bubble Screen play for Hester. These are all good things, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that Griese is one of the more competent QB's we have had in a long time and is also stuffing the Chicago Bear stat box at a record breaking pace. Now whatever happened with his head gear and weather it sheds any light on his relationship with Turner can be debated. However, for the second straight week the same phenomenon happened. The offense appears to under achieve in the beginning of the game, and when things are desperate we tear up the opposing defenses on the way to game breaking plays.
I think there were several things that factor into this situation. Check them out after the jump.
1. Turner's Play Calling: I had my doubts about Turner from the beginning. I couldn't understand the logic behind hiring someone as a offensive coordinator that came from a horrible college football program. In any case, after our inexplicable 7-0 start last year (Dang, it feels good to watch that) I soon forgot all about my doubts concerning Turner. Well, as the beginning of this season turned out to be the exact opposite of what we expected, Turner came under fire. It's hard to say exactly what is going on or if he is really a bad Offensive Coordinator. You can make the argument that he isn't taking enough chances, or that he is trying to ease in the new look offense under the leadership of Griese. Right now, I am giving him respect for taking some chances during the game this week with Hester and Olson. Furthermore, I am hoping that Turner and Griese are getting more comfortable with each other as the season goes on.
2. Lack of a Running Game: You can argue any way you want about Benson. The casual observer may simply say he stinks. Others will still argue that he is more than a capable back. I have, at times, fallen victim to believing that he isn't a capable starter. I don't believe that anymore. He has been working hard, but is the victim of a bad situation. The long and short of it is that our Running game in general isn't getting it done. That includes Benson, Peterson, and the O-Line. Again, I now don't think it is Benson's problem as much as I think its the O-Line's fault, or the fact that Benson isn't getting a lot of carries in lieu of an increased passing attack. In any case, our running game has taken a back seat and our passing game has increased. I don't mind the recent result, but we should be getting Benson the ball at least 20 times a game.
3. Opposing Defense Playing a Prevent: I really wonder how much of this can be attributed to the defensive packages we have been playing at the end of games. For instance, the Eagles had been having success pressuring Griese and collapsing the pocket all game, and at the end they were using a 3 man rush. Even with 8 men in coverage, the lack of pressure gave Griese more than adequate amounts of time to hit his targets.
4. Griese's Continued Improvement: This guy is a lot better than advertised. He is throwing for a bunch of yards, and has gotten better every week. He has brought Muhsin Muhammad back from the dead and into relevance. He has shown that he can throw the deep ball to Hester. Every week he has gotten better and minimized mistakes. A big test for Griese will be his performance against Detroit at home. He needs to bounce back from his abysmal debut against them and have a strong game that leads us into the bye week.
I am beyond thankful for what we are seeing from this offense. You never want to watch your team fight back from a deficit, but if you do its nice to know that they can. I am confident that we can turn up the heat and really get on a roll as the season wears on. I am not a huge Turner fan, but I am thankful that he was at least trying to utilize Hester and Olson. Griese is playing great and I can't complain about that. The O-line needs to do better, and I hope they can turn it around, but on the whole things are looking up. Our offense is winning us games! This is huge, and I am confident that our offense will continue to grow as the season goes on.