You ever get that feeling that if the Bears could just play a full, complete game, they could actually do some things? I know, it's hard to believe with a unit that looks lost in the passing game and keeps finding new ways to allow people to score on returns (and fall for fake returns). But, the defense actually showed up and played against an offense that is trying to get back to what makes them effective, and finally got on the sack board.
The question becomes, at 0-3, what can this team do? Jimmy Clausen doesn't resemble much of any kind of answer at quarterback, and you can't help but think, heading into halftime down just 6-0, with any kind of quarterback play or quarterback threat, this is a game that could at least have been in reach before it got away - or maybe with that passing threat, it doesn't get away.
Sure, if ifs and buts were candy and nuts yadayadayada, or whatever saying you prefer, the reality of the matter is the Bears are sitting at 0-3, last place in the NFC North, and quite frankly not a good football team. Good teams don't manage not even a field goal attempt; they don't manage to punt on every single possession (which is a disgusting statistic in and of itself).
Good teams don't struggle this badly. Good teams can struggle, but it doesn't have to be like this (insert Switch from The Matrix here). The Bears aren't a good team. But, as I said in yesterday's WCG Sunday Livestream, even though the Bears could in theory have a worse record than last year's 5-11 embarrassment, it won't be worse than last season. Last season had letdown factor, pettiness, awful defense, scapegoating, circus factor... This team is losing, but there's a much more business-like, professional air to go with it, and a little more hope that things can turn around here and maybe in the future. Last year with last year's staff could have continued a few more games, and each of those games could have been the same way. The Bears haven't won a regular season game since November last year.
Next week it's Oakland, and we're still looking at a possibility of the Bears starting as rough as 0-5, and it could certainly get into worse territory, especially if Jay Cutler isn't at the helm. But, we still have this game to go through.
- Jay Cutler haters, I hope you got your enjoyment of that, because that game is life with a bad football team and a quarterback they don't trust to make plays. Jimmy Clausen went 3.3 yards per attempt (about 4.5 per completion) and missed the few deeper shots he did take - although I was surprised he could overthrow a receiver on a really deep shot. Yes, Clausen is a backup, and with good reason. 9 completions, 10 punts. 146 offensive yards, 477 punting yards for Pat O'Donnell; 166 punting yards for Jon Ryan.
- 7 first downs, 2 via the air. The Bears committed 6 penalties for 40 yards; they netted 48 passing yards. I give you these numbers not to make you sick, though that probably doesn't help - but in this game, with Jimmy Clausen at the helm and with Matt Forte putting up 74 yards on 20 carries, the Bears still had no offense, and no scoring threats. None. Those numbers just go to emphasize just how bad it was.
- Offensively, there's next man up, and then there's recognizing that you can't just say "next man up" sometimes and alter your style. The gameplan involved heavy runs, easier to slide to with a backup, and much easier to slide to with Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White hurt. The tackle eligible and extra tight ends really enabled Matt Forte to do some damage in the running game, but him leaving the game for a time was really disconcerting. That would be a true "Murphy's Law" test - anything that can go wrong, will go wrong - and I'd be hard pressed to figure out what next week's version of "Murphy's Law" would have been. Forte did return, however. But I'm off the point - sometimes you can plug and play, and sometimes you just admit you need to do different things. Any quarterback would struggle in this situation throwing the ball, but nothing about Clausen was exactly glowing. Unless you're Phil Simms and praising him for diving for fourth down with an open Marquess Wilson downfield. I just can't help but think if there was a certain other single-digit-numbered quarterback, something would have been said about that quarterback not hitting the open target and living to play another series, or that he would have missed a supposedly risky throw. I'm just spitballing, though.
- Somehow, if the first couple games are any indication, I'm really going to get used to saying "Man, if the game's out of reach, it'd be really nice to see what some of the younger players mean going forward in roster evaluation." That means Jeremy Langford could use some more plays. As opposed to the zero carries he got today.
- Special teams is seeming like the continuing liability that it was last year, which is a scary thought in a game that the defense finally shows up to play in. This is the third consecutive week that the Bears' special teams allowed a return for a touchdown, which probably extends this beyond "seeming," but there is time to solidify things. The problem is that, at 0-3, any time to turn anything around is relatively nil, but it can be done.
- The Bears' pass rush finally came through. Raise your hand if you had Jarvis Jenkins picking up the first sack of the season - and now put it down you filthy, dirty liar who probably played an athlete doppelganger on TV that has cable.
- Jenkins and Pernell McPhee both had huge days against a right side of the offensive line that plain out stunk.
- Jimmy Graham against Brock Vereen is a mismatch of the highest order. Graham converted a touchdown just bouncing off Vereen up the middle of the field.
- Thomas Rawls is going to be just fine for the Seahawks.
- You know, it wasn't exactly something that crossed my mind immediately, I'll admit. But falling off hard at the turn of the half is really coming in as a theme, and it's not a good one at all. Granted, one can be attributed to losing the starting quarterback around halftime, but against Green Bay and Seattle, that's kind of scary that it could be a thing.
- Charles Leno filled in when Jermon Bushrod left with a concussion, and there wasn't really anything remarkable one way or another about how he played in that brief time. Then again, it was really hard to single out individual line play with so many quick possessions over in a hurry. Bushrod was bad before he got hurt, so maybe it's time for a Charles Leno or Kyle Long transition. More likely Leno.
- Speaking of Long, and Vladimir Ducasse, I can really do without these drive-killing pre-snap penalties. This time, Long contributed to it, and Ducasse put his stamp on a drive with a holding penalty early in a drive. But, Long looks more and more comfortable at right tackle.
- I know it's hard to catch everything in real time, but I mean, it'd be cool if a ref could occasionally make the right call before it went to review. Or make the right call after review. Clausen fumbled. Sherrick McManis had a punt deflection recovery off a Seahawk's ankle. Both stood. But don't blame the refs for the game getting out of hand or the Bears losing. The Bears were simply bad.
- Willie Young was inactive yesterday, and given how the sacks and pass rush turned out, it may have been the right move; the question becomes, if the offense had actually been a little productive, could the defense have not been so beat up late in the game? The time of possession difference was only about five minutes, but Seattle ran 63 plays to the Bears' 46, gained 225 more yards of total offense... It wasn't pretty as the game grew on.
- At least the Bears didn't turn the ball over. Too bad that's the same number of points they've scored.
Next week it's Oakland. But for now, what'd you notice about yesterday's game?