Quick Comments: Bears at Broncos 2019-09-15

Defense

  1. The Bears defense was excellent, as usual. They stopped the run and got pressure on Joe Flacco.
  2. The Broncos were trying to get the ball out fast to prevent the Bears pass rush from getting to them. They had limited success, especially early. They did a good job of mixing the run and pass.
  3. The Broncos occasionally had success running right at Khalil Mack. We’ll probably see more of that as the season wears on. Phillip Lindsay had a good game running the ball.
  4. The Broncos also had some success throwing underneath and running after the catch, especially Emmanuel Sanders. On a related note, the Bears could have tackled better. Roquon Smith especially seemed to hesitate against receivers in the open field.
  5. It looked like the Bears rotated in quite a few players this game in an effort to rest their players at the high altitude, as well. Aaron Lynch and Isaiah Irving got playing time.
  6. Despite doing what they could to limit it, the Bears defense really looked worn down in the fourth quarter.
  7. Perhaps on a related note, the Bears missed some big tackles down the stretch.

Offense

  1. The Bears came out running and promptly got stuffed. They stuck with it however and did find some success with both that and the short passing game. They were able to sustain some long drives in the first half which allowed the Bears defense to rest in the thin Denver air. The Broncos did not choose to load the box to stop the run.
  2. They were also trying to wear the Broncos defense down. The didn’t, though, as far as I could tell.
  3. Tarik Cohen and David Montgomery did a good job of making yards on their own. Cohen’s quickness makes him tough to bring down. Montgomery had both patience and vision and he found some cracks and slipped through.
  4. Trubisky really still didn’t have a good game. Like last week, his accuracy was off. The Broncos coverage was generally pretty good and Bears receivers had a hard time fighting them off for the ball. Chris Harris in particular did a nice job of covering Allen Robinson this game.
  5. Ted Larsen reported as eligible for the pass late in the third quarter? Really?

Miscellaneous

  1. Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth were you announcers. I usually like Schlereth because he provide some insight into offensive line play that you often don’t get from other analysts. But today I thought his enthusiasm might have been a little overdone at times.
  2. Special Teams
    1. Eddie Pineiro made two field goals in the first half, one from 52 yards. He was the Bears offensive output in the first half.
    2. The Broncos did a good job of playing field position and the Bears started from inside their own 20 yard line quite a bit.
  3. Drops didn’t have much to do with the outcome.
  4. Penalties
    1. Broncos left tackle Garett Bolles had a tough time in the first half. He had two holding penalties and was called for a third that was declined in the first half. He was called for four for the game. It didn’t help that he was blocking Khalil Mack for most of the game.
    2. Charles Leno didn’t want Bolles to feel lonely apparently because he come out after half time and got two quick holding penalties, himself.
    3. Chris Harris had a big holding call near the goal line late in the third quarter. The Bears got the touchdown on a David Montgomery run.
    4. Eddie Goldman had a big penalty in the fourth quarter. The call looked questionable. The Bears forced a field goal anyway.
    5. Buster Skriene was off side on the conversion for the Broncos when they missed the kick. That allowed the Broncos to go for two points and the win. To top it off, they had 12 men in the huddle while driving for a field goal.
  5. Kyle Fuller had a huge interception in the fourth quarter with the Bears defense worn down and with their backs to the goal line.
  6. This was obviously could have been a tough loss. The Bears defense wore down in the fourth quarter and it allowed the Broncos to drive the field not once but twice, the second time for the touchdown. I don’t think it would have made a difference but there will be plenty of people questioning whether playing in the preseason would have made gotten the defense in better shape. I really , really doubt that 40 snaps or so would have made the difference.The Bears now avoid an 0-2 start and they won’t face the uphill battle in the division against the now 2-0 Packers they could have. But if they are going to compete, the offense has to come a live and score some points. To do that, Mitch Trubusky has to complete every open pass. This has to get better.

Quick Comments: Ravens at Dolphins 2019-09-08

Defense

  1. I was looking forward to seeing Lamar Jackson have to pass the ball this game. Unfortunately there was little reason for him to have to do it early. The Dolphins run defense was extrememly poor to start the game. The defenisve linemen couldn’t keep the blockers off of the linebackers and they were not free to move to the ball. This is essential to the success of the Dolhons defense.
  2. I was, perhaps, most disppaointed with the defense up the middle which, coming out of the preseason, I had as a Dolphins stength. Needless to say, they have some roster building to do here.
  3. Once the Dolphins started to concentrate on stoppoing the run, it opened up the passing game for Jackson. And he did not disappoint his defenders. He ahd a great game passing the football. He dropped ;some beatiful deep passesfor touchdowns this game. A mobile quarterback who fcan really throw an accurate bal could change the game. Looking forward to watching him against a better defense.
  4. Dolphins pass coverage was really poor. They gave up a deep ball in the first half rushing 3 men with the other 8 incoverage. And yet, the Baltimore receiver still go behind the defense. Everyone not named “Howard” was culpable. Jamal Wiltz, Eric Rowe, Walt Aikens, Bobby McCain. All had poor fundamentals in coverage at some point. This has to be claened up.
  5. I’ll give this much to the Dolphins defense. They didn’t give up. They were will fighting for pride in the 3rd and 4th quarters despite the blowout. That’s encouraging.

Offense

  1. Baltimore came out putting pressure on a suspect Dolphins offensive line. It was obvious that the plan was to hit Ryan Fitzpatrick as often as possble. No quarterback likes to be hit but the older quarterbacks really, really don’t like it and they tend to get gun shy. To a certain extent this strategy worked. Fitzpatrick’s interception in the first quarter came with no one reallyin the vicinity.
  2. Having said that, Fitzpatrick didn’t really fall apart under pressure. once the Ravens built a big lead and backed off just a bit late in the second quarter, he was given more room to work and he took advantage. He was reasonably accurate under those conditions and theDolphins started to move the ball just a bit.
  3. I thought it was interesting that the Dolphins thought they could beat the Ravens defense by attacking the edges. They came out with some passees to the outside to Kallen Ballage and to Albert WIlson on the wide reciever screen. Baltimore quickly adjusted and shut it down. But I think its an indication that the DOlphins, at least, think they might have a bit more speed to the outside than people think.
  4. If you are going to have Albert WIlson in teh wold cat, could you at leat be more creative than a run right up the middle?
  5. Kudos to Devante Parker with a nice catch in the second quarter. The DOlphins need him to make more of those – indeed, have needed him to make more of those for years now.

Miscellaneous

  1. Special Teams were poor, Jakeem Grant had a flash back to the stone hands he had his rookie year as he fumbled away a punt return deep in Dolphin territory. A Ravens fake punt gave them the ball on the Ravens 10 yard line. They converted that into a touchdown.
  2. Preston Williams had an awful drop in the endzone that cost the Dolphins 4 pionts as they settled for a field goal. Allen Hurns had a big drop in the second quarter. That needs to be cleaned up.
  3. Other than Grants bobbled punt, we also had the Fitzpatrick interception. Baltimore had no turnovers. Porr start with Josh Rosen as he threw an interceptionon his first set of downs as a Dolphin. Marlon Humphrey made a good play on the ball.
  4. What is the deal with the defensive holding calls on the Dolphins? Time after time these penalties killed them this game. Again, that needs to be cleaned up.
  5. I understand that the Dolphins are out manned on the field and I’m willing to cut them some slack because of that. But there is not excuse, no matter waht the talent level, for poor fundamentals. Poor tackling, penalties, turnovers, poor technique in coverage. These things goe beyond talent.

    The one thing that Dolphins fans have to look forward to is seeing the improvement in the play of their young players. And there’s a lot here to improve on.

Quick Game Comments: Packers at Bears 9/5/19

Offense

  1. The Packers tried to make Trubisky uncomfortable by crowding the line and disguising the blitz. And it worked. Trubisky never looked comfortable with what the Packers were doing all night.
  2. Trubisky didn’t have a good game. His mechanics were frequently off as he would sometimes throw the ball off balance even when there was no pressure. When he was solid in the pocket and throwing from a good base, he was pretty accurate. When he wasn’t, things got rough.That’s understandable when there’s pressure. Not acceptable but understandable. But when the pocket is clean and you are still doing it, that’s bad.

    This needs to be cleaned up. There’s no excuse for it this year.

  3. The Bears basically lost the line of scrimmage tonight. The ground game was rough going for long stretches. David Montgomery was tough to bring down and he did make some yards on his own. But generally speaking the Packers were fundamentally sound with their tackling. The interior of the offensive line struggled, especially James Daniels at center. Unlike playing at guard, it’s evident that he’ll need a few games to adjust to the speed of the NFL while having to worry about snapping the ball at the same time.
  4. The Packers played mostly man-to-man coverage and really did a superior job tonight. Open receivers were tough to find. This, along with Aaron Rodger’s mobility, was the difference in the game.
  5. Allen Robinson had a really good game and it wouldn’t be much of an exaggeration to say that he was the Bears offense. The Packers covered him well but Robinson has a gift for going up to get 50-50 balls. Its evident that Trubisky knows that. It looked like Robinson was the only receiver on the field he trusted in tight coverage. Indeed, he may have been too reliant on Robinson. Hence, the interception at the end of the game when he went to Robinson one too many times on what could have been a better thrown ball.
  6. The Bears could have helped Trubisky a bit more by having him roll out. He’d be more comfortable n the move and it would have forced the Packers defensive backs to come up to play the run. Probably Trubisky could have found some running room against the man-to-man coverage with their backs turned to him.

Defense

  1. I’d have to see the stats but it looked to me like the Bears played far more 3-4 base defense under Chuck Pagano than Vic Fangio did last year. Fangio, like many teams around the league, essentially played a nickel defense as his base.
  2. Because they played so much 3-4, Eddie Goldman was on the field more. And that’s a good thing. He had a deceptively good game clogging the middle and getting push into Arron Rodgers face up the middle on the pass rush.
  3. Despite some fundamentally sound Packers blocking (while getting away with some holding), the Bears got a good pass rush on Rodgers and that was a key to the game. Not coincidentally, the one series of downs they didn’t get pressure was the one where the Packers drove the field for their only touchdown.
  4. A expected, the Bears did blitz a bit more under Pagano than when Fangio was calling plays. But not that much more to my eye. Pagano doesn’t really need to do it and I think he knows that. Why take the chance when you can get good pressure with a four man rush?
  5. Rodgers did a good job of putting pressure on the Bears defense with his ability to move outside the pocket. Defensive backs had to hold their position close to the line a beat or two longer and that opened up some passes behind them that might have been tighter otherwise.
  6. Rodgers did a very nice, credible job of trying to run the Packers offense. He got the ball out quickly the way Matt LaFleur designed it most of the time. This is good news for Packers fans. There were many points on the field but they won’t all be like this one. This will work better against less than superior defenses. Rodgers was excellent when he had time to throw (which wasn’t often).
  7. Speaking of LaFleur, I though ht he did a credible job play calling. He caught the Bears blitzing several times with good calls for decent yardage.
  8. Like the Packers, the Bears got some good pass coverage of their own. Kyle Fuller and Buster Skrine both had notable pass break ups. If you appreciate good defense, this was the game for you.
  9. Having said that, Prince Amukamara did give up a big play to Marquez Valdes-Scantling in man coverage. Deon Bush was probably supposed to give him some help but he was held closer to the line of scrimmage on that side by the play action and respect for Rodgers mobility outside the pocket.

Miscellaneous

  1. Not much needs to be said here. Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth did their usual wonderful job. Collinsworth is the best in football and he provided a lot of insight into the relevant events. Everyone knows I hate night football. Collinsworth is the only good thing about it.
  2. Special teams weren’t really anything special tonight. I thought the Packers punter, JK Scott, did a nice job. Eddie Pineiro made his only field goal but had a kickoff go out of bounds.
  3. Drops have been a Packer trait for years. It didn’t seem to be an issue tonight. On the Bears side Tarik Cohen and Adam Shaheen both had notable drops.
  4. Penalties were horrendous on both sides. Green Bay had 10 for 71 yards. The Bears had 10 for 107 yards. Both teams had holding calls that were badly damaging as each tried desperately to keep back a good pass rush. Charles Leno had a really bad drive in the 4th quarter where he had a holding call and a illegal hands to the face call back-to-back. David Bakhtiari had a rough game with a couple Packers holding calls.

    The Bears had two delay of game penalties in the 3rd quarter along with some other rough spots. They basically didn’t play in the preseason.

  5. There was only one notable turnover and it was a big one. Trubisky’s interception as he tried to force one more to a well covered Allen Robinson. Trubisky didn’t get it far enough towards the sideline and he threw it just a little too deep, making it an easy interception for Adrian Amos drifting over from the middle of the field. The Packers Kevin King dropped a gift interception from Trubisky in the first quarter.
  6. Wonderful defensive effort on both sides of the ball tonight. I think the Packers just did an exceptional job in coverage and that really made the difference, what little there was.

    It was interesting to compare Trubisky and Rodgers tonight and it was an indication of how far Trubisky still has to go. As stated above, Trubisky never really got comfortable with what he was seeing. While Rodgers took his opportunities and got the ball out on time, Trubisky frequently held it just a beat or two too long waiting for receivers to come open. There probably weren’t a lot of open windows but had he simply let it go, thrown with anticipation and trusted his receivers more, he probably could have had a better night.

    They won’t all be like this one. These divisional games are going to be close. The Bears aren’t fooling anyone anymore with their offense which has always been a lot of window dressing disguising something that really wasn’t terribly complicated. Don’t get me wrong. Its a good offense. But nothing good defensive coordinators can’t figure out with time to study it. And within the division, they’ve got plenty of time to do that. The Bears will look closely at what the Packers did tonight and they’ll be well prepared later in the season when the teams meet again.

    So, really, its going to just be mono a mono. Tonight the Packers won the battle.

Programming Note

As some of you have noted, this blog has gone noticeably quiet over the last few weeks. Things have gotten busy for me and I have a lot of irons in the fire right now. Frankly, they will only get worse through mid-to late-October.

The NFL is not helping as they allow the networks to make a greedy cash grab by forcing people who work for a living to stay up at all hours of the night to watch their team.

I’m going to be honest. I may not be able to watch every Bears game this year. But I assure you, I’m going to watch this one and I’ll get up game comments for it. It just might not be immediately after the game.

Please bear with me for a while and things will get better. As always, thanks for reading.