- Phil Rosenthal at the Tribune says that the Bears-Packers game drew and 80.5 share locally. That’s better than the Super Bowl loss to the Colts in 2007.
- Dan Pompei at the Tribune reviews the game film. It was pretty ugly:
“In short, all of the problems this team has experienced at different points of the season showed up in one game — and it just happened to be the most important game of the season.”
- I will quibble with only one of Pompei’s grades. He gave the linebackers a 9 of 10 and I did think they made big plays in this game. But I also strongly suspect that poor linebacker play was behind many of the huge holes that we saw in the running game in the first half. I probably would have down graded them a bit more.
- Pompei was tough on Tim Jennings and rightfully so:
“For the second time in three weeks, the Packers went right at Jennings.
“Rodgers threw in Jennings’ direction 13 times and exploited him whether Jennings was playing zone or man. Only four of the 13 passes did not result in gains for the Packers.”
I agree with all of the people who believe that the Bears need to look towards improving the team at the line of scrimmage. But the Bears also need help at cornerback. Its a need that too few people are mentioning.
- Not surprisingly, the Bears would like to extend Lovie Smith‘s contract rather than let him go into the 2011 season as a lame duck. Brad Biggs at the Tribune hits the nail on the head:
“The question now is how many years will be in a new deal.”
- Ted Gregory at the Tribune compares what Bear fans are going through to the five stages of grief.
- Mark Potash at the Chicago Sun-Times thinks that the disparity between the Packers and Bears will get bigger before it gets smaller. Given that the Packers beat the Bears with 14 players on injured reserve while the Bears barely had a scratch all season, I can only agree. In fact, the entire division is about to get very tough.
- Potash asks these questions which I’m pretty sure he knows the answer to:
“Why is it that the Packers draft Bryan Bulaga in the first round of the NFL draft (No. 23 overall) and he starts in the NFC Championship Game and shuts down Israel Idonije. While Chris Williams, the Bears’ No. 1 pick in 2008 (14th) overall, is playing his third position and was at the very least one-fifth of a poor effort against the Packers’ defensive front Sunday?”
“How can you have a quarterback [Todd Collins] like that in the NFC Championship Game? The Packers started Matt Flynn against the Patriots on the road and nearly won. How do they do that?”
- On a related note, again from Potash:
“If Frank Omiyale is the Bears’ starting left tackle next season, the Bears are in trouble. You don’t have to see the film or know what protections were called to know that the Bears should expect better than that at left tackle to win a championship. There’s room for good-but-not-great on all NFL teams, but not at key positions like that. Not when you’ve got good-but-not-great — and that’s being charitable — all the way down the line.”
For those who don’t know, the “key positions like that” are left tackle, defensive end, and quarterback. The Bears didn’t draft any of the starts at those positions.
- Those Caleb Hanie fans might want to note that he’s set to become an unrestricted free agent. Via Michael C. Wright at ESPNChicago.com.
- ESPN‘s NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert reviews a couple of the unique things Packer defensive coordinator Dom Capers came up with for the Bears matchup:
“He engineered two successful surprises: Opening the game with three cornerbacks and one safety, and then making a rare line call that resulted in nose tackle B.J. Raji‘s interception return for a touchdown. The alignment in the secondary left cornerback Charles Woodson as a hybrid safety/cornerback, and defensive end Ryan Pickett said, ‘It gave us a chance to cover and it gave us a chance to play the run at the same time. We had big guys to match up on the run and we had the guys to match up with their receivers on the outside.’ If nothing else, it was the kind of back-straightening curve ball Capers is known for. Meanwhile, Capers accurately presumed the Bears would target tailback Matt Forte on a third-and-5 pass at their 15-yard line midway through the fourth quarter. As a result, he made a rarely-used call for Raji to ‘spy’ on Forte. While rookie nickelback Sam Shields blitzed, Raji backed off the line and surprised quarterback Caleb Hanie. ‘We were taking away the quick routes,’ Raji said. ‘He looked for the check down, and I was there.'”
- ESPN compares the speed of Bear Devin Hester to that of… a bear:
“(NFLPA executive director) DeMaurice Smith aspires to be a politician and is milking the labor situation for short-term fame to blow up his name and help earn a spot in office, with no regard for future of the NFL. The longer his name is in the headlines, the better for his career. It’s unfortunate — a lockout is not as much about the players and owners as it is Smith’s ego.”
- This report from The New York Times via ESPN would seem to support that conclusion:
“I wasn’t sure about (Panthers new head coach) Ron Rivera hiring Sean McDermott — guys who get fired usually get let go for good reason. But what you have to remember, this is going to be Rivera’s defense. He’s going to call the plays and run it. It’s a lot like Rivera when he came to Chicago. Lovie Smith was there and expected to run (the defense). There’s not as much risk as you think. What Ron needed was someone who could break it down and do the dirty work and that’s where McDermott will be great for him. I think they’ll be a great team. And I like the (Rob) Chudzinski hire (as offensive coordinator). You have to remember — San Diego had the best offense and defense in the league, and they were missing a lot of parts this season. (OLT) Marcus McNeill was out. (WR) Vincent Jackson was out. They were missing a lot of receivers. The defensive line was beat up. They coached the heck out of those guys. Carolina pulled from the right tree.”
- Cutler wasn’t the only one a little teary eyed after a loss Sunday. Via The New York Times.
- Herschel Walker is thinking of trying to make a comeback at 48 years old. Via Franklin McNeil at ESPN.
- The Sports Pickle thinks these guys should get a room. Or at least a bar bathroom:
One Final Thought
ESPN’s Kenny Mayne starts trash talking since Rex Ryan wouldn’t: