Game Comments (in Advance): Packers at Bears

Unfortunately with the Bears move from a noon kickoff Sunday to 3:30 PM, I will miss the game.  I have a flight back into Chicago scheduled late that afternoon.  It was set up many months ago and was going to be after the game ended.  But you can’t account for last minute television gree…  I mean accommodations that far in advance.

So, much to my chagrin, there won’t be any game comments this Sunday.  But then it occurred to me.  Why wait?  I’m pretty sure I know what’s going to happen.  So here are my comments – in advance:


  1. The Bears came out trying to run the ball and got nowhere against the Packers defense that was committed to stopping it and forcing quarterback Jay Cutler to throw.
  2. The Packers blitzed frequently, leaving the Bears receivers in man-to-man coverage.  This is pretty much the way to beat the Bears, especially with Cutler at quarterback.  The only way to beat this type of coverage is to throw with anticipation to a receiver coming-out of his break, something Cutler is and always will be totally incapable of doing.
  3. Cutler never saw double coverage he didn’t like.  The Packers regularly doubled Brandon Marshall on third down and Cutler tried to force it to him anyway.
  4. The Bears offensive line recovered to do a good job protecting Cutler. They were constantly under siege, as the Packers knew full well that pressuring Cutler and covering the receivers with tight man coverage is the way to beat him. Cutler spent a good part of this night holding the ball too long, as well.  Nevertheless the line got lots of help and the Packers had a tough time getting pressure.
  5. Having said that, the offensive line does deserve some credit and the Bears moved the ball reasonably well on the ground.  Matt Forte ran well against a Packers defense that chronically struggles with their tackling.


  1. The Packers came to play as they mixed it up and both ran and passed the ball well against the Bears defense.  The Bears played it straight most of the time but tried the occasional blitz on third down.
  2. The Bears struggled to get pressure on [insert name here].  When they blitzed, it never got home as the Packers got the ball out quickly.
  3. [insert name here] had a good day.  He was extremely accurate, something that’s easy to be when you haven’t seen any pressure all night.
  4. The Packers caught a bad break when running back Eddie Lacy went down to injury early in the game.  However it was good fortune for [insert name of JAG back up] who now looks like the next Adrian Peterson.  The Bears once again failed to stop the run despite keeping 8 men around the line of scrimmage all night.
  5. Many of the longer runs came from players being out of position. The worst offense (arguably) was when [insert name of linebacker here] was out of position on the [insert JAG back up] touchdown in the [insert any quarter].
  6. The Bears may not have watched the film but the Packers were definitely paying attention to what they saw in the Eagles game.  They attacked the edges and out-physicaled the Bears on the perimeter for big chunks of rushing yards.  Its hard to stop anyone when you are laying on the ground.
  7. On a related note, the Packers must have been drooling when the saw the success that both the Browns and the Eagles had with the screen game.  Neither of those teams plays it anywhere near as well and the Packers.  What a disaster.
  8. Poor tackling, yada, yada, yada.
  9. Chris Conte had another rough game and so did Major Wright.  The Packers did a good job of taking advantage of them and linebacker James Anderson with tight end [insert name of fan Packers pulled from the stands right before the game here].


  1. [insert names here] were [excellent/not on top of their game].  Many the major points were [hit/missed].  Color man [insert name here] was [his usual sharp self/having a down afternoon], [not] failing to point out little useful aspects of the game as they presented themselves.  I particularly liked it when he astutely pointed out that Cutler was failing to [insert any one of multiple mechanical problems here].
  2. Congratulations to Devin Hester, who broke the record for returns for a touchdown.  It was nice to see him get this.  Too bad the special teams were marred by multiple penalties all afternoon.  They’ll have to clean that up for next we…  oops.  Habit.
  3. The Bears had a number of drops, yada, yada, yada.  Brandon Marshall and [insert name here] were especially guilty.
  4. Too many penalties on both sides.  The Packers won’t get far regardless but if they have any hope of success next week in the playoffs they’re going to have to play perfect ball.  that means these stupid penalties and the drops have to go.
  5. Charles Woodson said it best:  “…it’s the same-old Jay. We don’t need luck; Jay will throw us the ball.”  [insert name here]’s fumble was very damaging for the Bears. Tim Jenning’s late interception was too little too late.
  6. The Packers exhibited all of the heart and perseverance that they showed after falling behind the Cowboys 26-3 in the first half of their game a couple weeks ago.  And the Bears exhibited all of the heart and perseverance that they showed after falling behind the Eagles 24-3 last week.
  7. Many Bears fans, I know, will be upset at this games.  But, in fact, it was the best possible result.  Let’s be honest.  The Bears weren’t going anywhere in the playoffs anyway.  As poster to Facebook,  Nat Mara, put it, “…watching the Bears in Seattle may scare me more than my own mortality”.  The Bears season has really been over since the loss to the St. Louis Rams.  The rest of the miserable division just wouldn’t let them realize it.  No, this was the best possible result because it exposed the Bears players each for what they are.  The biggest fear that I had was that head coach Marc Trestman would never have the opportunity to see Cutler play against the types of defenses that have revealed his weaknesses so fully for some years now.  That is not true anymore as Cutler came back from injury just in time to show what was needed.   After the last two games, Cutler is now naked with both his strengths and his weaknesses exposed fully against opponents that his Bear teams will be facing for years to come.  Indeed, after a year of trial, this is now true of all of the Bears players.  No matter what the team decides, in the Cutler matter and in all other personnel matters, they will be making those decisions fully informed with their eyes open.  That is far more important than the privilege of getting their brains beat in by the NFC West in the playoffs.

There you go.  Now, like me, you no longer have to watch the game.  See you in the off-season.

Mel Tucker’s Legacy

Adam L. Jahns speculates that defensive coordinator Mel Tucker may be on the hot seat:

“The number of injuries and the caliber of players lost to them have been colossal detriments, causing Tucker to change his practices so the rookies get more instruction and work on fundamentals. And it’s not as though Tucker can race out on the field, get in position, fill gaps and make tackles himself.

“With the defense due for a makeover because of all the expiring contracts, Tucker might get a second chance to really put his stamp on the defense by abandoning all things Lovie.”

I have liked Tucker ever since I watched a fundamentally sound Jaguars defense make the Bears work for every yard last year (until they finally wore down after being hung out to dry by an incompetent offense).  But there’s no denying that performances like Sunday’s shine him and the entire defensive coaching staff in a bad light.  The only rookie on that field was Jonathan Bostic at middle linebacker and he (relatively speaking) didn’t play that badly.  It was the veterans, who were supposed to carry this defense, who let him down.

Tucker catered to those veterans by keeping the defensive scheme from last year, including the language, intact. Those veterans have now, in my opinion, lost the right to such consideration.

My suggestion would be that if Tucker is going to lose his job, that he lose it in his own way, not compromising for a bunch of players who have done nothing but disappoint.   The Bears should give Tucker a fair opportunity to succeed by implementing the defensive scheme that he prefers and the one that he feels most comfortable running in the off-season, not what they think will make the Bears defensive players comfortable.  Perhaps something a little less comfortable will cause them to concentrate a little better on what they are doing out on the field.

Martellus Bennett Defends Bears Preparation

Rich Campbell at the Chicago Tribune quotes Bears tight end Martellus Bennett during his visit on WSCR radio yesterday:

“You have 53 guys … doing everything they can and staying after work … whether it’s film, you know, doing everything they can. So for anyone to say they weren’t ready or they were not prepared … is an idiot. …Our coaches do a great job putting us in position to make plays.”

Have it your own way, Martellus.  Everyone was fully prepared and the team is just that bad.

The truth is that the Bears weren’t prepared for what they saw – not schematically, but mentally and physically.  The Eagles came out and punched them in the mouth and the team was simply unable to respond.

Marc Trestman, despite a lot of experience coaching pro football, is learn gin on the job to be an NFL head coach.  I’m not entirely sure what was learned here but I hope it was something that will prevent this from happening again.  Because you can’t just sit back and accept that “it was one of those games”.  If you do, there will be a lot more of them.