Game Comments: Cardinals at Bears 9/20/15

18a41f773646a08830001dbf8db59e39Defense

  1. The Bears once again, had trouble getting pressure on the quarterback. Palmer took a few hits but generally speaking he looked comfortable in the pocket. This has become a major issue. Palmer was very accurate and looked good.
  2. Other than that, I thought the Bears defensive line held their own at the line of scrimmage today. Rushing yards were hard to come by as Arizona only had 30 at half. They ran the ball better after that with the Bears down by a ton of points. The outside linebackers and defensive ends began having a very hard time setting the edge in the second half.
  3. The Cardinals finally took advantage of Adrian Amos at safety as he struggled in coverage. This is something that many were surprised that the Packers didn’t do last week.
  4. In truth the entire Bears defensive backfield was exposed this game. The Cardinals have a lot of speed at wide receiver and the Bears struggled to keep up. Notably, Kyle Fuller struggled again. This was the major difference in the game.
  5. Boy, Jared Allen looks uncomfortable in coverage. I keep waiting for someone to take advantage of him by sending the running back out into patterns more.
  6. Bryce Callahan, not Terrance Mitchell, replaced Demontre Hurst as the sixth defensive back in the dime package. Mitchell should be a better cover corner in single coverage on the outside and playing the dime corner may not be his strength. Mitchell saw time at corner late in the game as the Bears are apparently searching for answers there.
  7. Brandon Dunn held his own today after being promoted from the practice squad. He wasn’t getting a lot of penetration but he occupied his blockers and wasn’t getting blown off the line of scrimmage.
  8. It was interesting to see Jared Allen getting his hands up for a tip and an interception just before half. You have to wonder if he wasn’t watching the Cardinals do it from the sideline before making the adjustment himself. The Bears got a field goal off of it.
  9. How deos Shea McClellin end up trying to cover Larry Fitzgerald on a Cardinals touchdown early in the third quarter? That may have been a broken coverage on the flea flicker but it was just one example of some of the puzzling coverage mismatches in this game.

Offense

  1. Bears came out playing a lot of double tight end, something which made a lot of sense given that injured wide receiver Alshon Jeffery was inactive with an injury. They used both Zack Miller and Martellus Bennett split out wide (along with Matt Forte) instead and did so reasonably effectively.
  2. The Bears did a good job of mixing it up and executing both on the run and the pass this game against a very good Arizona defense.
  3. More than usual, this game was going to be about the line of scrimmage offensively with the Bears trying to run the ball against a tough Arizona defensive front. The Bears held their own but the Cardinals are so fast to the ball that the Bears had a tough time of it. There was too much penetration against the run but Cutler got some nice protection. The protection for Clausen was less impressive as the Cardinals knew that the Bears had to throw from behind. Kyle Long held his own this week but he still gave up a sack in the fourth quarter.
  4. Speaking of the Cardinals being fast to the ball, I was surprised that the Bears didn’t do a better job of taking advantage of their aggression. They were clearly ready to defend the screen pass but some counter runs and reverses might have worked well.
  5. Having said that, the Bears game plan was not without misdirection. Interesting use of the read option by the Bears as Cutler faked the handoff to Jeremy Langford in the first quarter and took the ball himself to the outside for a first down. One of the many very clever and new ways that the Bears took advantage of Cutler’s mobility. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of that.
  6. Nice job by Cutler finding Josh Bellamy on the broken coverage for the first Bears touchdown.
  7. Cutler looked much, much better now that the Packers left town. He was much more accurate with some very strong throws. Unfortunately, the interception before half time on a poor throw behind Martellus Bennett marred the effort. Cutler was injured as he landed on his shoulder trying to make the tackle on what turned out to be a pick six. The Bears said that it was a hamstring injury.
  8. The Bears did a good job of giving Langford more carries this game. Not that I like seeing Forte on the sideline but the rest is good for him.
  9. It was interesting to watch the Arizona Cardinals adjust as the game goes on. They were having trouble getting to the quarterback so they simply started counting in their heads and then jumping and putting their hands up to bat passes down. It was very effective.
  10. Jimmy Clausen looked hesitant and had trouble getting rid of the ball. HIs accuracy was poor. The situation wasn’t helped by the fact that the Bears went down by so many points that the whole stadium knew that they had to pass. Clausen looked like a back up who was unprepared after being throw into the game and asked to do his job.

Miscellaneous

  1. Thom Brennaman was the consumate professional play-by-play man, as usual. I like Charles Davis when he’s doing the draft but I like him a lot less as a color man. He’s not as good as many of the best when it comes to pointing out the technical details of the game to the viewer. I’d call him adequate. Tony Siragusa was practically useless on the sideline.
  2. Things got off to a rough start on special teams once again for the return game as David Johnson returned the opening kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown. There was a horrible line drie kickoff after the Bears first touchdown. Robbie Gould has been struggling with those. Other than that, I’d say it was a nondescript performance.
  3. Both sides once again had too many penalties, especially of the pre-snap kind. Teh Cardinals committed 8 penalties for 58 yards while the Bears committed 14 for 170 which tied a franchise┬árecord. The Bears’ numbers were inflated by a couple of very long pass interference penalties as the game was tightly called in the defensive backfield. There was an inexcusable 12 men on the field penalty against the Bears in the second half. Vlad Ducasse was once again a particular problem with a false start and a holding penalty. I feel compelled to remind everyone that there’s a reason why the Bears were so hesitant to move Long to right tackle.
  4. Drops were not a problem on either side.
  5. Turnovers killed both teams today. Jay Cutler threw a pick six right before half Then the Cardinals followed up with a fumble and an interception, each resulting in only 6 Bears points. The Bears had to take better advantage of those opportunities. Jimmy Clausen picked up where Cutler left off, throwing a bad interception to Patrick Peterson, who had Marquess Wilson well covered.
  6. I’d like to thank Bruce Arians for using all of those timeouts before half to save time for a final drive, only to fumble the punt and give the Bears a field goal. I admire aggressiveness but your team better be of the type to take advantage of it or it can kill you.
  7. Once again, the Bears settled far too often for field goals in this game. They aren’t going to be able to continue to do that, especially with their defense being as bad as it is.
  8. How bad have things gotten when you find yourself desperately rooting for your team to keep the points given up under 50? And consider it to be a minor victory when they don’t.
  9. I can’t emphasize enough how bad the Bears defensive backfield is right now. The lack of pressure on the quarterback is exacerbating the problem. These sorts of games where the Bears give up huge numbers of points are going to be fairly common unless something is done. In the mean time, the team has to play nearly perfect football in every other way to make up for it. That means particularly that they can’t afford the turnovers or the penalties that we saw in this game.

 

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