Every once in a while I’ll quickly write up game comments and put them up, then sleep on it and regret some things I said. Well, probably more common than every once in a while. Last was one of those times.
Steve Rosenblom at the Chicago Tribune makes a good point that I probably should have emphasized more strongly:
“The offensive line has been the biggest reason to doubt the Bears this season. On Monday night, the line was perhaps the biggest reason there was no doubt they’d beat the Vikings.”
You can say a lot about the team that the Bears beat last night. The offense was banged up with their best player, Adrian Peterson, on the sideline. They got more beat up when they had to put in their third string quarterback. But there’s not much wrong with the Viking defense beyond the fact that they just plain aren’t play well. And even that isn’t true of defensive tackles, Kevin and Pat Williams.
Like the rest of the team, the Bears offensive line starts slow. That biases people like me for the rest of the game because, like most men, we see what we expect to see. Though I did say that “all of it got better as the game wore on”, the offensive line deserved better than I gave them last night. They allowed the team to attack off tackle on the ground and everything flowed from there. The pass protection got better as they were allowed to run more play action. Despite the fact that the Vikings kept on blitzing, they plugged the holes and gave quarterback Jay Cutler a decent amount of protection.
The line is still a weakness. They still make too many mistakes, especially early in games, and they commit too many penalties. But it appears to me like they might also be coming together and there really is hope that in a few weeks they’ll be good enough to carry this team into a deep playoff run.
I sincerely hope so. Last night they were a big reason why this team succeeded. But as Rosenbloom points out, one bad game in the wrong spot and they could also be the biggest reason why they won’t. It that important.
Mike Florio at profootballtalk.com made an interesting point about the Bears game last night:
“Despite the placement of 54 total points on the board, no quarterback threw for more than 200 yards, no running back rushed for more than 100 yards, and no receiver generated more than 100 receiving yards.”
I don’t know if this was supposed to be complimentary (Florio is a Vikings fan) but I took it as a positive sign.
The fact that so many pints were scored despite the fact that no quarterback threw for more than 200 yards is an indication of how well the running game was working, at least for the Bears.
No running back for more than 100 yards? No receiver for more than 100 receiving yards? All good.
In particular, much has been made about the Bears’ lack of a receiving threat. But this game serves as a reminder that there are advantages to that. If you are an opposing coordinator, who are you going to concentrate on? No one. It simply up to Cutler to find the open man and throw it to him. Lately he’s been pretty good at that.
My favorite feature, Pro Football Weekly‘s Audibles, has another provocative (and anonymous) quote:
“(The Eagles) had one of the greatest comebacks I have ever seen (against New York). (Michael) Vick is a true story, (a true example of) redemption. They are on a run. Andy Reid keeps looking better by the week. The best football is being played in the East right now — New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.”
Michael Vick “a true story of redemption”?
Let me get this straight. The guy goes to jail for dog fighting. He gets out and now his job, his teammates and his family depend absolutely on him staying out of trouble. So what happens? He immediately goes back to associating with people who slave their problems with guns. He goes to a party where his friend shoots somebody literally minutes after he leaves.
How long before this guy finds himself suspended again? How can anyone depend on his to be their starting quarterback?
Michael Vick has been conning people most of his life by telling them what they want to hear. He’s Cedric Benson with more talent and more dangerous friends. In this entire affair he hasn’t once told the truth right up until he went to jail. I was and am willing to give anyone a chance after they’ve paid their debt to society and by heaven Vick paid more than most of these athletes ([cough]benroethlisburger[cough]). But that doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore the indications that he is wasting it.
I have no problem with Vick having a job in the league. I have no problem with him playing. I have no problem with him period. He’s fine. But it will be a long, long time before I’ll believe he has “redeemed” himself.