Quick Game Comments: Bears at Saints 1/10/21

Defense

  • The Bears were occasionally packing the box whenever they thought Alvin Kamara was going to run. I don’t think they had much choice, really, and they couldn’t afford to do it too often. And frankly, it didn’t help that much. The New Orleans offensive line is very good and did a good job.
  • Some really bad tackling out there. Admittedly many of the Saints players are pretty good at making defensive players look pretty miserable. All the more reason to emphasize the fundamentals.
  • Tony Romo pounded away on this but its something I’ve noticed the second half of the season. The Bears have flat out stopped playing man-to-man coverage. I’m guessing they’re trying to generate turnovers. But they’re struggling to cover with it. It just wasn’t going to work against the Saints. Or anyone else who is any good.
  • Manti Te’o is mobile enough but he’s not very physical to me. I thought the Saints came out and picked on him in the second half. Credit to him for being a high effort guy, though.
  • The Bears had this weird lineup I’ve never seen them do before. They had all three defensive aligned to the right of the center – to the same side Kamara was on in the backfield. They ran a stunt off of it to rush Brees on the play. Perhaps a little creativity from defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano.
  • I thought Tashaun Gipson had a really good game today. He was really aggressive and quick to the ball.
  • Truth be told what I said about Gipson really goes for the whole defense. I thought they all looked more lively and were faster to the ball today. I was glad to see it. I felt like they’d been missing it for most of the last half of the season.
  • Also kudos for getting pressure on Drew Brees. They did a surprisingly good job of this against a very good offensive line.

Offense

  • Mitch Trubisky was right on target with his passes today. About as good as he’s ever been. Kudos to him.
  • I thought the offensive line did a reasonably good job of protecting Trubisky as well. They held up even when the Saints brought pressure.
  • Unfortunately they had a tougher time making hay in the running game against a highly rated Saints defense. Not a surprise but if the Bears can’t run the ball, they aren’t going to be able to do much on offense.
  • I love the way David Montgomery runs. Just maximum effort on every play.
  • The Saints did a really good job of stopping those naked boots that Trubisky has made a living on. You knew a good defense was going to do that.

Miscellaneous

  • Matt Nagy decided to go for it on 4th and 4 from roughly the Saints 35 yard line in the first quarter. I really thought with Cairo Santos being as hot as he is, I would have kicked it. It was still early and they needed to get on the board.
  • How in the world did Javon Wims drop that touchdown in the end zone in the first quarter?
  • I lost count of the number of pre-snap penalties in this game but it was too many on both sides.
  • Anthony Miller’s ejection was inexcusable. Plain and simple.
  • 4th and 2 from the Bears 12 yard line with 5 minutes left in the third quarter. Eddie Jackson jumps off-sides. The Saints eventually scored a touchdown to make it 14-3. Awful.
  • Duke Shelley appeared to have an interception in the second quarter but the call was reversed. I thought the refs did the right thing.
  • John Jenkins got an interception (the called it a fumble) on a tip ball by Tashaun Gipson in the second quarter. It was a huge play as the Bears were really doing nothing and things were looking grim at 7-0. After Cole Kmet got a stupid unsportsman-like conduct penalty that cost the team 15 yards, the Bears settled for a field goal. But at least they got on the board.
  • Well, it wasn’t like this was unexpected. The Bears got beat by a better team.

    A very shorthanded defense played better than I expected for most of the game. I thought we finally saw a little bit of the team that we saw at the beginning of the year. Generally speaking they were fast to the ball and played with a little fire. It was nice to see.

    But what really stuck with me was the way that the Saints solved the Bears offense. It confirmed what I have thought for weeks. Head coach Matt Nagy was forced to simplify his offense for Mitch Trubisky for the third year in a row and when they finally ran up against a good defense, they had it covered. The movement in the offense, the naked boots that cut the field in half, none of it worked.

    I give Trubisky credit. He really threw the ball reasonably well today. But his arm is connected to his head and his head just isn’t there.

    The Bears face an off-season with a lot of holes and with very few resources to fill them. The defense is aging and needs an injection of youth. The offensive line needs a make over. They need better receivers and they need more dynamic play makers. But, as usual, no need is greater than the one at quarterback.

Quick Game Comments: Packers at Bears

Offense

  • The key to this game for the Bears offense was what it should always be. Run the ball successfully. The Packers weren’t packing the box with players to stop it early on. That isn’t really surprising. It isn’t Green Bay defensive coordinator Mike Pettine’s style. They definitely were concentrating on stopping it, though.
  • I thought the Green Bay defense came out a little flat. They were just a step slow and maybe not all there mentally. I’m surprised. There was a lot for them to play for. Someone woke them up because they picked it up after the first series.
  • Trubisky was wild and high on his passes early. I thought he got better as the game progressed but he was never what you’d call accurate. At 5.8 yards per pass, he will have to go down field more in the playoffs if the Bears expect to make a run.
  • The Packers had the Bears in very tight coverage most of the game. First possession aside, they were very quick tot he ball and swarmed the receiver allowing very little yards after the catch. I think this is how Chuck Pagano envisioned the Bears defense playing today. It didn’t work that way.
  • Trubisky tried hard to throw another red zone interception. Kevin King dropped it in the end zone with 6 seconds left in the first half. The Bears kicked a field goal.
  • Darnell Mooney had a good game today and was a bigger part of the game plan than was Allen Robinson, who the Packers shut down.

Defense

  • The Bears came out playing a lot of zone. It seemed that the plan was to pressure Rodgers with the front four, tackle well and limit the yards after the catch. There were still some bad missed tackles that gave the Packers a lot of critical yards.
  • The Bears definitely did crowd the line of scrimmage a little to concentrate on stopping the run, as well. They were very conscious of Aaron Jones. As well they should have been. They did a pretty good job of shutting it down.
  • Late in the game, the Packers lined Jones up as a receiver more often to set him up in a mismatch. He made some nice plays. It was a nice adjustment.
  • First quarter and the Packers have 4th and 3 deep in Bears territory on their first possession. The Packers put Devante Adams in the slot on Duke Shelly. Shelly can’t give him room because he has to defense the line to gain. Adams blows by him and draws a pass interference call. Nice play call there. The Packers picked on Shelly all day. Marquez Valdez-Scantling beat Shelley at the beginning of the second half for a deep pass that would have been another touchdown had he not dropped it.
  • As nice of a receiver as Allen Robinson is, the play immediately above is one that you simply can’t run with him. He’s not that kind of explosive player. That might explain why the Bears aren’t offering him what he wants.
  • Somehow Valdez-Scantling ends up on Danny Trevathan midway through the second quarter. That, my friends, is a mismatch. Touch down. Another good play. Rodgers doesn’t miss anything.
  • Similar to the first match up, the Bears struggled to get pressure on Aaron Rodgers with their highly paid front four in the first half. That’s pretty much death most of the time when playing Green Bay. They did better in the second half.
  • The Bears had a couple of interceptions that they dropped today (Eddie Jackson and Kindle Vildor). Had those been caught it could have been the difference in the game.

Miscellaneous

    • Cordarrelle Patterson made a good play on the opening kickoff, stepping out of bounds while touching the ball down. The Bears got the ball on the 40 yard line.
    • Cairo Santos had a good day kicking three field goals. But that was more of a negative as it was a positive. The Bears failed to score touchdowns in the red zone this game and that made it very difficult to keep up with the Packers offense.
  • The Bears did an exceptional job of limiting penalties with only 1. It was the pass interference penalty on Shelley mentioned above and it saved a touchdown. SO nice work there.
    • Demetrious Harris forced a fumble on a Bears punt in the first quarter. It gave the Bears the ball on the Green Bay 20 yard line. The Bears settled for a field goal.
    • I’ve noticed that sometimes Cole Kmet can have a little bit of a tough time hanging on to the ball. He turned it over in a bad spot this game, giving the ball to the packers at the Bears 22 yard line in the second quarter. Just like that it was 21-10. The Bears simply can’t afford those kinds of mistakes against good teams.
    • Trubisky threw an interception with 3 minutes left in the game with the score at 28-16. It was a bad decision but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt by saying that at that point you are just doing everything you can to make a play.
  • There’s little doubt that the turning point in this game was a long, sustained drive that the Bears had that ate up half of the fourth quarter. They went for it on fourth and one twice and made it but failed on a third attempt. They came away with no points. The game felt over at that point.
  • Well, it wasn’t a blow out until the end. That’s the best you could say about this one. But it is evident that the Bears aren’t in the same class with the best teams in this league as this one really never felt like the Packers weren’t in control. The one difference between the teams (other than the quarterback) is the lack of explosive play makers on the Bears. Darnell Mooney was the only Bears player on the field to compare with what the Packers had out on the field.

    The Bears will likely have a chance to prove me wrong at least once more as they will back into the playoffs with the Arizona Cardinals down big to the LA Rams late in their game as of this writing. But this team doesn’t appear to me to be competitive for a championship and that means they aren’t where the front office expected them to be at this point. Ownership will have some interesting decisions to make this offseason.