A loss is a loss and losses stink. Obviously it wasn't a great game, and there is no way around it. Our defense played great but what good is it if we only put up three points total? What happened to our pumped up offense that was going to benefit from the speed of Hester and Wolfe? Lets try to come to grips together.
First off, let us all rejoice that our defense was once again dominant. The questions about our ability to stop the run were answered as we held the great LT (who was christened by Nike to tear us apart) to a measly 25 yards on 17 carries. They had to bring in Michael Turner to switch things up for 10 carries leading to 41 yards. This was a very good sign.
Tommie Harris is obviously 100% (and if he is not 100% I'm not sure the world is ready for a 100% Tommie Harris) and making freakish plays for us once again. It is great to see him getting off, and as much as I hate to see Dusty Dvoracek out for the season it is a bit easier to swallow knowing that Harris is going nuts. Also, I think that Darwin Walker will be great next to Tommie. When you think about it we have the most dominant DT in all of football, and another good pass rushing DT playing next to him. Olguneye is a veteran pass rusher who still has the touch as evidenced by his sack yesterday. On the other side we have the sacking freak Mark Anderson. Alex Brown would be a starter on most teams and Anthony is a great backup to spell Tommie and Adams. To top it all off we still have Israel Idonije who can play both positions. I know losing Dusty hurts our depth, but we still have a dominating front 7 with our Line backers rounding things out. Speaking of the LB's Urlacher had a solid but unspectacular game while Hunter and Briggs also made the plays they were supposed to do and did their job. However, on Sunday the line did all the crazy things like anticipating snap counts and jumping as the ball was snapped, (watch the recap here and FF to 2:15) and got all the glory. The D did everything they could for us to win.
The bigger issue lies with our secondary strictly because we lost Brown (more on that later). Nonetheless, in the game our Secondary played great and our Corners did their job shutting down a good but not great WR core. Vasher got the camera time of the two with a vicious sack on Phillip Rivers. Our safeties were great and were vital in holding LT to the measly rushing total he finished with. I like what I am seeing from Brandon McGowan (don't crucify him for the ST turnover, that was just a freak play) and Adam Archuleta. Both of them stuffed the run and didn't miss a beat in the secondary. Antonio Gates finished the game with a bunch of yards, and our defense didn't let up or miss out on Gates, but he is just a great TE who knows what to do and knew how to take advantage of our putting 8 in the box. Furthermore we ere just duped by LT's throw to Gates. Nobody does the RB throw better than LT who has a near perfect passing completion rate. All in all we have to laud the defensive squad.
The offense doesn't elicit the same emotions from me when I think about it. We had some bright points and some obvious low points. You couldn't escape the obvious pain of the number 3 hanging on the scoreboard. When I came into work today my buddy Bean had put a number three on his laptop so when I came into his office all I was a giant three and his smug smiling Eagles fan face. Seriously, what happened? I think we all know that the short answer to that question is that Cedric Benson sucked at running and Ron Turner apparently sucks at play calling. However, I am disturbed that this great offense that is supposed to be sooooo fast. We were supposed to benefit sooooo much from the speed of Hester and Wolfe, but we never saw them. We were supposed to open up the play book, but we never did. Even Grossman looked good out there, sure he's no Manning or Brady, but he looked good. He had one INT that can't be completely blamed on him, and he looked great mechanically. He stepped up into his throws and hit people in stride. He hooked up with Berrian 5 times and to Clark for 3. I know we were playing a great defense in their home stadium, but I really question how little we made use of the passing game. When Grossman was hitting guys and looked like he was in a groove Turner would inexplicably go to the run. It was ridiculous, and it was amplified when Grossman threw an 8 yard pass and then we ran the ball 3 straight times and couldn't get one single yard for the first. Why didn't we try a short pass in the flat to Jason McKie that Turner likes so much? Why didn't we just try to find Berrian or Clark again like Grossman had been all game? These are questions that will haunt me at night for the next week until we wax the Chiefs.
Again, I reiterate that I am disappointed in Cedric Benson and legitimately concerned for our running game. Cedric looked anything but good with 42 yards on 19 attempts. Thankfully he broke the 10 yard wall this game, but in general he just didn't look good. Blame the line, blame the coaching, but I blame Cedric. He ahs to be able to run and create, and our O-line has to be able to block, and our coaching staff has to be able to adapt to the 3-4 that is used by some of the top AFC teams (Patriots, Chargers, Ravens to name a few). Furthermore, he has to hang on to the ball. He just let the ball get poked out on that play and he didn't do much to protect it. All in all I am not thrilled with Mr. Benson and he has a lot of make up work to do with Chicago fans. Peterson is a great guy and I am thankful for his hustle. He came out after Benson was struggling and you could tell he was trying (7 attempts for 38 yards and a 5.4 average), and he almost brought us back in the game when we were down 7-3 before he lost the ball as well. I felt like we were going to drive and score, and it just really sad that in a critical situation we could not hang on to the ball.
All in all we had a sad loss. A loss that was characterized by odd coaching calls that we will never understand. Tainted by a #1 Running Back inability to perform, and a O-Line that couldn't create holes. By a freaky dominant defense that lost two starters for the season who were instrumental in holding the GREAT LT to 25 rushing yards and 76 total yards. I am sad yet hopeful for the season. I am extremely sad for Mike Brown. We will sorely miss his ability to force and recover turnovers. We won't know it at the end of the year because during the playoffs we have fought through a season without him, and as my boy Red said "there's no way the Bears can keep him after 3 years of missing significant time." Unfortunately I agree. I will be writing more on Mike Brown in the next day or too, its almost too much for me to write about. I loved that guy and it really does kill me that we lost him on a dirty play.
All we can do is look forward to next week and watch our boys win their homecoming game.