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Bears Vs Redskins: Notes, Scribbles and Things Jotted Down

The Bears fell to the Redskins in what eventually turned out to be a shootout; we're going over our notes from yesterday's game.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
  • Raise your hand if you thought the Jay Cutler-less Bears were dead in the water as soon as Cutler left with a groin injury. Now keep your hand raised if you thought the Bears couldn't take a lead with backups in such a game. The sheer fact that they did can speak to up to three things: a higher quality of backup players, the Redskins underestimating those backup players, and/or the coaching staff putting the offense in position to succeed. Josh McCown did a very admirable job coming in on the road in an emergency situation, and if he's called into duty to start down the line, I actually feel okay about the offense even though McCown can't make some of the throws that Jay Cutler can. McCown's quarterback rating? 119.6. And Alshon Jeffery again outgained Brandon Marshall, picking up another 100-yard receiving day.
  • It also helped that Matt Forte got some really strong run-blocking ahead of him when the team needed it most (with a backup quarterback) en route to a day of scoring three touchdowns on the ground.
  • Brandon Meriweather's expulsion from the league as football's Raffi Torres can't come soon enough. I'm not even sure he's actually trying to play football anymore, as his bell-ringing of Brandon Marshall in the end zone at play's end was just flat-out gratuitous. When he was here we assumed he didn't know what he was doing; it's pretty well confirmed either he has no idea what he's doing after this long in the league or he does know what he's doing. I don't know which is scarier.
  • I thought the defensive line played one of its better games of the year, all things considered, and you wouldn't know it because of the elusiveness of Robert Griffin III, Jordan Reed being really freaking good, and Alfred Morris being really tough to bring down. The Bears picked up eight tackles for loss on the day, including one by Shea McClellin (as well as a QB hit by McClellin) and were getting some significant push. Unfortunately, Griffin and Morris are really elusive and hard to tackle. That aside, Corey Wootton got into the backfield on numerous occasions and McClellin actually got in on a couple plays. But I will say, contain was lost quite a bit, and on a mobile quarterback like Griffin getting back into the swing of running with the ball, that can quickly spell trouble.
  • I'm not thrilled at all about the way the defense overall has been playing, and I'm not sure how much of it can be at the hands of defensive coordinator Mel Tucker, but teams have just been teeing off on the Bears' defense this year in ways that we just aren't used to seeing at all - or rather, are used to seeing other teams do week in and week out. I'm leaning towards personnel-based - as I said in the pre-stream, Julius Peppers is turning into a non-factor, McClellin isn't taking a step forward, you lost your franchise-tagged 3-Tech and his backup (and Henry Melton hadn't taken a step forward when he went down), the entire linebacking corps was replaced, and Chris Conte and Major Wright are being exposed more in pass coverage because of the lack of pass rush. Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are fine building blocks, but when Stephen Paea (NT) and Corey Wootton (DE turned de facto 3T) are your most consistent linemen, that... probably isn't spelling good things. And I like Paea and Wootton. But other players need to come up with pass rush on that defensive line to make things easier on the defense, and that's the key part that's missing. And the answer for the defense isn't going to be "Blitz more!".
  • But the big number to bring up for the Redskins is 209. The Redskins ran for 209 yards behind RG3, Roy Helu and Alfred Morris. Helu picked up his first three touchdowns of the season (!) and did it on 41 yards.
  • Speaking of Alfred Morris, he was latched onto once by Tim Jennings then Julius Peppers; he picked up an extra ten yards while the aforementioned duo were busily whacking away at the football trying to get it loose. I wouldn't have minded so much except the game was tied in the fourth quarter and while a turnover would have been nice, that was a time when the Bears really didn't want to give up additional yardage.
  • Chris Conte didn't have a good game - and it's not that he makes a ton of errors, especially coming into the box and stopping the run, but when he does, those errors are usually pretty egregious and certainly more noticeable when he's the last line of defense. On Jordan Reed's touchdown, Conte shouldn't have been the player hurriedly scurrying to that side of the field. That doesn't, however, excuse getting bulldozed by Roy Helu, nor does it excuse falling down on Aldrick Robinson's "spectacular" catch. Nor does it excuse his being out of position deep down the field - okay, he was bad yesterday particularly in pass coverage.
  • So "All hands on deck" appears to have moved to the linebacking corps. James Anderson had himself a pretty nice game, picking up a sack on Griffin and two tackles for loss, and Lance Briggs snagged another TFL and batting a couple passes before leaving with his injury. But all things considered, Jon Bostic struggled a little early but started to pick it up as the game went on, though he did overpursue on a couple run plays that scarred the Bears, including at least one of the Helu touchdowns.
  • Jordan Reed just burned the Bears defense again for another 20 yard gain.
  • By the way, it must be a rite of passage for a Bears rookie to get into the game and commit a penalty such as Khaseem Greene's personal foul.
  • Charles Tillman picked up another interception - is there some kind of process where the Bears can bottle this quality and just administer it to all their defensive backs forever, or would that be a PED violation?
  • Just so you know, Jay Cutler's injury this year came on sack number ten on the season. That just goes to show you can preach quarterback protection all you want, but any one play has the potential to end any player's season. And for reference, sack number ten last year came in week 3; before that, week 2. Pass protection and quarterback protection has come a long way since Jay Cutler first came to Chicago, but any play can injure a player.
  • Regarding the surprise onside kick and offside call, technically, it was an offside violation because Eric Weems' knee came across the line through the air as the kick was being made. I'll agree, it did seem a bit ticky-tack, but it is a violation of the rule, so, eh.
  • Robbie Gould missed a kick. The end of days is nigh and stuff.
  • Regarding Brian Orakpo's interception for a touchdown, there's only so much you can do with a ball being batted around in the air like a volleyball. The solution is to try to knock the ball down instead of keep bouncing it in the air. Unfortunately, Orakpo happened to exist in that spot right there and just took off with it. Jeffery could have also done something like... I dunno, catch it.
  • Devin Hester's punt return for a touchdown isn't really a sign that he's "back" per se, but his return against a lackluster Redskins special teams unit was much like his other ones in his career - good breakaway speed with well-done blocking.
  • I don't really have a problem with Marc Trestman's playcalling. I know he got a little pass-crazy in the first half, and that sometimes it causes the second quarter execution to suffer, and people were clamoring for more running the ball. But then later in the game the offense picks up steam and starts executing more and more. I like to think it's Trestman spending the first half figuring out what works and what isn't working and using that knowledge later in the game in higher leverage situations, but I'd like him to start using that knowledge a little earlier in games, because when the offense stagnates, especially with the way the defense is playing, things just don't work out - the Bears either give up a lead or let the lead expand. The offense has done some great things this season, especially this week with a backup quarterback for an entire half, but sooner or later it needs to last for a whole four quarters.
  • The Bears did finish the game with a 6.4 YPC. Josh McCown had the team's first run of over five yards with his 11-yard scamper on the first play he took. Matt Forte's first decent run came in the second half for 12 yards. No, the Bears didn't run much in the first half, but they weren't getting a lot out of it then anyway.
  • And I think the telling thing is that even while the offense started out unable to move, the Bears' offense finally got things going in the second half under a backup quarterback.
  • As far as the defense goes, it really looks like they're starting to succumb to attrition. Injuries piling up leads to the middle of the defense being easily beaten and abused. And of course, the Redskins continued to block their way into improvisational runs and chaotic plays to further take advantage. (That's not saying they planned dysfunctional plays - but that those kind of plays with those kind of players that can react well and make plays can spell trouble.)
  • The Redskins rushed to the line of scrimmage following a "forced fumble" to prevent a challenge. The play caused an actual fumble that caused the Redskins to lose 17 yards and depart the red zone. Okay then.
  • Robert Griffin called a timeout to prevent 3rd and 10 from the half-inch line from becoming... 3rd and 10 from the quarter-inch line. Okay then.
  • The Redskins held the ball for nearly eight more minutes of game clock (26:04 to 33:56) and ran 21 more plays than the Bears. I'd focus a lot more heavily on that second number. As well as converting 7-12 on third down.
  • Five of the Redskins' scoring drives went for at least 74 yards. Two of them were less than double-digits in plays run.
  • The Bears' first two scoring drives were a combined 28 yards. The second half saw scoring drives of 64 yards (missed field goal), 80 yards, 89 yards, and 67 yards.
  • And the Bears and Redskins had the exact same number of three-and-outs (four).
  • So 1790 words later, let me try to summarize what just happened yesterday: The Bears struggled offensively and defensively and let the Redskins run roughshod all over them in the first half, they lost their starting quarterback and put in Josh McCown, then in the second half briefly lost Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, as well as Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, flubbed up a surprise onside kick, and still fought back in a shootout to eventually take a lead before losing in the last minute. It was either one of the best games I've seen or the worst best game I've ever seen. And as of 5:40 AM on Monday morning, I still have no freaking idea what I just watched yesterday.