Well it turns out that Caleb Hanie isn't quite what some had hyped him up to be. The Bears lost a sometimes maddening, sometimes thrilling game to the Oakland Raiders, and the hot-button topic is the play of Caleb Hanie.
Gameplan-where was that deep ball early? Why not uncork some of those early in the game, keep Oakland a little more honest, and maybe strike early confidence gold? Who knows, it might have worked better than: PUNT, PUNT, INT to start the game off.
Let me paint the picture--2nd and 9 on the Chicago 17. Hanie drops back, there's nothing there, and scrambles off the left tackle for 17 yards. Then a personal foul on Tyler Clutts for 15 yards, and then a false start for 5 yards, puts the Bears at 1st and 15 on their own 14. Two questions:
- Caleb Hanie's first start, was, well, very first-start like. 50% completion, 254 yards, 2 TDs--that'd all be great if not for the garish number of 3 interceptions. Those three picks include a bad decision to try and throw to Forte on the sideline (underthrown), a pass to Forte over the middle (overthrown), and the screen/waggle/sneak flat route (tipped).
In other words, decision making did Hanie in against Oakland, but it hopefully will serve as a lesson to learn--stop making bad decisions, and maybe knock it off with the terrible throws. Reads need to be quicker, learn to throw away.
- Keeping with Hanie's decisions, was it just me, or were there plenty of times for him to take off running, and he just didn't?
1. What on earth did Clutts do? It didn't show up on my TV.
2. How do you allow that to happen? What's the very next play? Forced pass on a rollout by Hanie intercepted at Chicago's 33--one yard behind where Hanie got to on the long scramble.
That said, a decent enough game on the ground. Between Hanie, Forte, and Barber, they averaged 6.4 yards per carry. There's been a lot made about the 36 pass attempts that Hanie had, and how they should have been cut down. However, four came on that last drive, where running it would have been a terrible idea. Five more pass attempts came on the previous drive, where the Bears were looking at needing two scores in 3:47. No problem with that ratio--again, it comes to decision making. No one complains when you make the completions.
Speaking of completions, Johnny Knox was targeted 10 times and caught 4 of them. Let's not give him too much credit for the TD receptions--his ability to catch a few of those others would have had a chance to alter the outcome a bit.
Let's, however, get him some new spikes. Falling down again? Really? And ok, I guess we can give him some credit for the long return. It's too bad Hanie wasted it with a bad throw a few plays later.
Earl Bennett didn't have a very pearly night--1 of 4, for five yards. Perhaps he won't be the security blanket for Hanie that he is for Cutler.
Tim Jennings quietly had a very nice day. Kudos to him for making some plays.
Robbie Gould was also very good, with two 50+ yarders today. Particularly on the 53 yard kick--it looked like it could've been good from 60. It's been a really great time watching his leg strength and confidence grow and grow. Remember when anything over 47 had us biting our nails and hoping.
The defense played a pretty solid Bears game--bend, don't break. Even when the offense tried their best to cough up a big deficit at the end of the first half, they were able to keep the Raiders out of the end zone. Credit to red zone discipline.
Corey Graham got his third pick in three games...it's like having two DJ Moores on the roster.
How about the defensive line? They got it going a little bit, getting to the QB like they're paid to do it.
Okoye showed some of that flash that got us hot and bothered a few weeks ago. Maybe it'll show up for the rest of the season.
If we want to talk about hustle, let's look at Lance Louis, the back-up right tackle. After slotting in and playing pretty admirably the past few weeks, he dragged his 320 lb body all the way down the field to make the TD-saving stop on Kamerion Wimbley. For a moment, I was certain he'd hurt himself doing it, but he just seemed winded.
Lechler kicked an eighty yard punt. That's ridiculous.
LOVIE SMITH WON A CHALLENGE. THE END OF DAYS IS NIGH.
Truth be told, even with this loss, the Bears are still #5 in the NFC right now, and if the playoffs started today, the Lions wouldn't be in.