Game Comments: Panthers @Bears 10/2/11

Defense

  1. For some reason I don’t understand the Bears were giving Steve Smith no apparent extra attention.  Its fairly obvious that Cam Newton depends heavily on him.  I had flash backs to Wes Welker last year.
  2. The Bears were playing a lot of straight up zone.  The times they blitzed they frequently got burned by a screen play.  They did blitz much more often and more effectively in the second half.
  3. The Panthers called plenty of misdirection and cutbacks against the aggressive Bears defense.  The Bears weren’t in their gaps, especially in the first half.
  4. Bears really tackled poorly.  I got very tired of watching DeAngelo Williams run though them.
  5. Cam Newton looks a whole lot more accurate than we were led to believe he was coming out of college.  He’s going to be a good one.
  6. Its near the end of the first quarter and Brandon Meriweather gets caught out of position covering over the top and allows Smith a completion on the 1 yard line setting up a touchdown.  This is why the Patriots didn’t want him.  Inexcusable.
  7. Not a lot of pressure on Newton from the defensive line.  The Bears were really trying to rush with discipline and keep Newton in the pocket.  As a result Newton frequently had a long time to throw the ball.  What was tough was that the Bears just couldn’t get him down.  He’d just step through the tackle and get out of the pocket anyway.  He’s like Dante Culpepper was only better at it.
  8. Poor clock management at the end of the half by the Panthers.  You don’t want to leave that last time out in your pocket.
  9. Jeremy Shockey has got to shut up and play.

Offense

  1. The Bears came out running and the Panthers insisted on meeting it with seven in the box.  Its was a contest of wills until just before the end of the half when the Panthers wisely finally started sneaking a guy up.  They wanted Jay Cutler to have to throw – as well they should.  One big mistake they made is that they didn’t do more.  There’s no reason whatsoever to respect the Bears passing game at all.
  2. They didn’t throw much in the first half but I don’t have words to express the utter disgust I feel for the pass protection by the offensive line.  There’s no excuse for the poor protection against a four man rush.  Pulling Frank Omiyale from right tackle and replacing him with Lance Lewis helped.  Martz quickly started leaving more people in to block as he did against the Packers.
  3. The run blocking was pretty good but a lot of the offense was Matt Forte making yards on his own.  He continues to look extremely good.
  4. Like Cutler, I’m a little tired of seeing this team have to call time out because the plays aren’t getting in fast enough.

Miscellaneous

  1. Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick did a reasonably good job.  Billick pointed out a few things I missed.
  2. Give credit to FOX for being sure to catch Jay Cutler congratulating D.J. Moore after his touchdown.
  3. Outstanding special teams play by the Bears.  In contrast the Panther’s special teams are pretty awful.  The Devin Hester touchdown was on a line drive punt.  The blocked field goal by the Bears was well done but as Billick pointed out, it was a poor kick.  I’m not sure what that last kickoff by the Panthers was supposed to be.  If it was supposed to fool me because most sane people expected an an onside kick, it did.
  4. The Bears got a key turnover and left at least one or two on the field.  Cutler threw a bad interception (see below).
  5. There were plenty of disturbingly open Panthers receivers who didn’t make catches.  That won’t happen every week.  The Bears continue to fail to fight for balls and allow opposing defenses to knock balls away and/or drop passes when they’re hit.  You aren’t going to be wide open all the time.  The drop by Dane Sanzenbacher on a key third down took place at a poor time.
  6. Greg Olsen obviously needed to settle down.  Two penalties on opening drive.  The Panthers constantly shot themselves in the foot with lots and lots of penalties beside that.  The Bears weren’t clean but they weren’t hurt as bad as the Panthers who had play after play eliminated by it.  I’d like to point out that Brandon Meriweather was dancing on the edge of the rules for a lot of this game.  He had at least one helmet to helmet hit on Steve Smith that really needs to be called.
  7. Lots of pink out there for breast cancer awareness.
  8. Certainly the story of this game was the Bears commitment to the run.  But I’m concerned.  Its obvious now that the book on Jay Cutler is to hit him and he folds.  I understand that the protection isn’t good but he’s has got to stand in against the rush.  He sees blitz and no matter how much protection he’s got, he panics.  He’s constantly throwing off of his back foot.  He short armed the interception and it flew high.  Someone has to do something about this or its gong to be a miserable year passing no matter what the line does.  They aren’t going to win many games like this.
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