Game Comments: Bears Vs. Saints 9/18/11


  1. There were lots and lots of Saints at the line of scrimmage for much of this game as they tried to stop the run and confuse the Bears with the blitz.
  2. The Saints coverage was pretty good. Jay Cutler couldn’t find his targets in tight single coverage. Similar to what the Packers did to the Bears last year, they did a nice job of taking them out of their offense.
  3. The Bears seem to be using play action effectively in the red zone.
  4. Matt Forte was running the ball so well. Just wonderful patience and vision.
  5. Its a shame that Marion Barber wasn’t ready to play this week. He would have looked like a cannon ball coming at the Saints defense after Forte spent most of the day shifting around them.
  6. It probably goes without saying but this was a poor game for the offensive line, especially on the left side. Lots of confusion. There’s work to be done there before the Packers come in and do the same things next week.
  7. As color man Troy Aikman did a good job of pointing out, the hits on Cutler were affecting his play. All of those good mechanics from last week went out the window. Cutler also paniced in the pocket early and often under pressure, often running when it wasn’t necessary. It all added up to a pretty rough day.
  8. Aikman also made a big deal about the imbalance in the offense. In Mike Matz’s defense, when the Saints are loading up at the line of scrimmage and leaving your wide receivers in single coverage, I can’t blame him for calling passes.
  9. I can’t emphasize enough what a poor game this was for the wide receivers. It wasn’t just the drops. Some of the routes were poorly run and they frequently didn’t seem to be on the same page as Cutler.
  10. Once the Bears fell behind and had to pass, this game became the worst I can remember having to watch. Worse than any game when John Shoop wa offensive coordinator.  Anyone who knows me, know how bad I think that is.


  1. The Saints running backs run hard and seem to be really strong.
  2. It also hard not to notice that the Saints block really well. Good fundamental ball club.
  3. The Bears mixed it up, blitzing occasionally but for the most part played straight defense. The Saints took what they gave them and kept it to short passes, dump offs over the middle and good hard runs. They waited patiently for the opportunity to hit Devery Hederson on the long touchdown in the Major Wright error in coverage.
  4. The Bears were letting the Saints off the hook on third down far more often than they should have. Part of that was the Saints offense but part of it was being out of position on defense as well.
  5. The play on the defense continues to be good up and down the line of scrimmage.
  6. I understand why Sean Payton thought the hit by Lance Briggs was late in the second quarter. From the backside I’m sure it looked like Briggs pouched him well out of bounds. But the replay from the front side who wed that Briggs hit the runner just in bounds and then disengaged.
  7. I thought the defense got tired in the fourth quarter, not surprising given that the Saints were working ahead and they were spending so much time on the field.


  1. Aikman and Joe Buck are ordinarily pretty good and they always make good points, as they did on occasion today. But I hate it when they do Bear games. It’s not that they don’t say good things about the Bears – they do. But they have biases that come across when they do their broadcasts. For instance, I thought the roughing the passer penalty on Jay Cutler was a little border line but wasn’t the “terrible” call that Buck, in particular, thought it was. There’s little doubt that Roman Harper continued with his hit well past the point where he knew Cutler didn’t have the ball. There’s also little doubt that he did take his whole weight down on Cutler when he didn’t have to. When it was pointed out to Aikman, he actually scoffed as if to say, “Yeah, so he broke the rule. Big deal.” Both announcers brought it up at least four times afterward in relation to the well earned Bear scoring drive and the replay was shown at least three times. All of this after they failed to note that Harper lowered his head and used it as a weapon to injure Earl Bennett. Pretty much any break, real of imagined, that appears to benefit the Bears is like the end of the world with these guys.
  2. Special teams were good, Sam Hurd interfering with a fair catch aside. The Saints punter had an unbelievable game. He gave them field position all game.
  3. The Bears need turnovers to succeed. They aren’t getting enough of them. Cutler coughed up the ball once but you can hang that on the offensive line.
  4. The offensive line, once again, was responsible for most of the penalties. That has to be cleaned up. The officiating this game specifically and this year in general has be abysmal. An unbelievable number of missed calls.
  5. Bear wide receivers were dropping the ball all over the field. It was an embarrassment.
  6. I found this game to be very disappointing. It isn’t that the Bears got beat. That happens, especially when you are playing a team as good as the Saints. What bothers me is that the Saints did it with the exact same defensive game plan the Packers used against the Bears last season. Lots of guys at the line of scrimmage, lots of blitzes and extremely tight press coverage. The Bears had an entire offseason to address the problems this presents and as far as I can tell, they’ve completely failed. They still don’t have a wide receiver who can get separation in these situations. The guys they have might have a better chance if they could legitimately threaten deep but as long as the offensive line is a work in progress and Cutler is running for his life, that’s not going to be possible. Until they solve these problems, they aren’t gong to beat any team that can do this to them, Packers included.
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