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Bears Vs Saints: Notes, Scribbles and Things Jotted Down

The Bears fell to 3-2 after a loss to the Saints yesterday; we're going over our notes from yesterday's game.

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports
  • I suppose we'll lead off with Alshon Jeffery's record-setting day, as his 218 receiving yards broke Johnny Morris' single-game receiving yardage record. In addition, it was also the first 100-yard game by a receiver against the Saints this season. Shame he couldn't do it in a win, because as good as the end-of-game stats showed, it was an extremely disappointing game on the offensive side of the ball, salvaged by a huge fourth-quarter.
  • Let's flesh some of these first-half stats out to illustrate some of this. The Bears had two drives in the first half go longer than three minutes - 3:06, 6 plays for 15 yards ending in a punt. 3:16 for 7 plays, 80 yards and a touchdown. The Bears' first 18 plays of the game went for a combined 41 yards with zero points, three punts and a fumble. I don't know what it is about the offense going completely AWOL until the fourth quarter, but stop that.
  • The end-of-game stats showed Jay Cutler was fantastic - and I'll agree he quietly had a good game, but it can't be completely built on unproductive drives and late rallies for the offense to be productive. Some playcalling to a degree (I personally wouldn't have gone with all passes with goal to go, but that's just me), and quite a few drops, but once Cutler settled down after the first quarter, he made some great throws and a few good plays with his feet.
  • Not sure the end-of-half Hail Mary to the 20 yard line was the right decision but for stats, however. And not sure what happened on the Kyle Long Ineligible Downfield penalty play - everyone looked like they were blocking a run and Cutler went to a pass play.
  • But with as rough as the Bears' offense was, the Saints' offense didn't quite pull it together immediately with the exception of Jimmy Graham. Between the first two drives ending in field goals and the two drives ending the half ending in touchdowns, the Saints' offense had eight plays for 30 yards and two punts. The second half showed the Saints going on two drives of at least twelve plays and only coming away with field goals. Yes, the Saints were ahead, but it's not like it was Detroit Lions-game territory; the Bears with a touchdown could have added some immediate pressure.
  • The defense was aided by the turfmonster as well as a couple timely drops, but aside from a few spots, the defense is workable. But a couple things that annoyed me included: Chris Conte matching up with Jimmy Graham, D.J. Williams biting hard on a play fake to open up Graham, Lance Briggs missing a tackle on Pierre Thomas on fourth and 1; Lance Briggs handing the Saints a key first down on a baited penalty in the fourth quarter... Briggs had plenty of good moments and especially in the TFL column, but man did he have some bad.
  • Maybe a TOP advantage for the Saints of 36:00 to 24:00 had something to do with some of the bad defensive play. Just sayin'. Not going to say full-on that the defense was tired, especially since while the Saints ran 11 more plays than the Bears, that's still 65 plays on the day. Heading into the game the Bears played about 62.5 snaps per game on defense.
  • I have to admit - it's funny that we focus so hard on Darren Sproles (because there's good reason to), and then Pierre Thomas picks up both touchdowns from the backfield. Because Thomas is decent too, but his screen touchdown for 25 yards was incredibly well blocked. Any time a pass-rush gets going free, an alarm bell should really be ringing pretty loudly.
  • There must be some rule where if you're a defensive lineman, and you start showing some promise or some penetration, you have to get injured. We'll find out what's up with Nate Collins, but it was good to actually see a defensive lineman getting some pressure. It didn't look good, though.
  • What little I saw of David Bass late in the game kind of got me wanting to see a little more of him, if Corey Wootton shifting over to three-tech becomes more of a thing. Not sure I like the thought of Wootton at three-tech consistently, though; looked pretty slow, to my eye.
  • I'm not done with Shea McClellin, but he's got to be a pass-rusher in only the strictest situations right now. Especially getting a standing start.
  • While we're at it, let's just go with a fewer-man-front on the defensive line just because that's where the bodies are. I said this half-jokingly in the pre-game stream and I'm still saying it half-jokingly now, but I've got a feeling it's just going to be sticking in my head as a (bad) idea. And I'm pretty sure no matter what defensive alignment the Bears are in, Jimmy Graham is going to get behind the middle of the defense again for a huge gain.
  • Speaking of huge gain, here's Alshon Jeffery tracking the ball in mid-air and reeling in a 58-yard deep toss!
  • Marquess Wilson didn't get a target in the passing game. Dante Rosario did, but he also had a play where when Cutler was running for a first down, Rosario just stood there staring at him with a guy to block coming down on him. Awareness and blocking, mister tight end man.
  • Matt Forte didn't have his finest game, especially in the first couple of series. But those first couple plays should not have been what had the ball taken out of his hands.
  • Also not having a good day, the offensive line, especially in the first quarter. Rob Ryan loves to blitz when he can, and he showed that by overloading the left side of the line and blowing right by Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson. Matt Forte was left to block two blitzers, and both went around him. Malcolm Jenkins' sack came in around Cutler's blind side, and he never saw him coming as he stepped out and lost it.
  • Fortunately, not only did the line play more solidly with an extra blocker in after that (Eben Britton got quite a few snaps at tight end/eligible tackle), but Ryan backed off a bit and made Cutler feel pressure that wasn't coming. On a goal-line set in the fourth quarter, the Saints' defense flashed four then only sent two, on the left side. (This was when Joe Buck claimed the Saints were sending the blitz, picked up by the Bears.) Technically right, but it was a two-man rush.
  • Eric Weems, what the deuce is wrong with you? For that matter, special teams continues its downturn, but today wasn't horrible beyond Weems' bonehead play. Adam Podlesh had himself a much better game this time around.
  • Chris Conte really did kinda dodge a DPI. Just sayin'.
  • So, is it officially a changing of the guard at receiver? No - Marshall was still reasonably double-teamed, but Jeffery gives the Bears a fully legitimate one-two punch at receiver to go with Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. Jeffery had thirteen targets in the passing game. Marshall only had five. I wouldn't expect this distribution going forward. But it is nice to see actual other weapons wearing Bears' uniforms.
  • Nick Toon had one catch on the game. It was a big one to get the Saints down to the goal line. ... I really just wanted to say Nick Toon.
  • That being said, Earl Bennett was a menace today, and not in a good way - a couple rare drops didn't help his chances to get targets going forward. He dropped the fourth down reception that would have been a first down, but instead turned the ball over. He might not get as many chances, but his roster spot can't be in jeopardy at this point.
  • Speaking of turnovers, after the Cutler sack/fumble, no other turnovers/takeaways were made, period.

That's all I've got for you today. What were your thoughts on the game?