Quick Game Comments: Lions at Bears 11/10/19

Defense

  1. The Bears came out in base 3-4, presumably expecting the run. That’s exactly what they got and it was the smart play on the Lions part. By running the ball, the Lions protected Jeff Driskel, who was in for Matt Stafford with a broken back. It also set the Bears defense up to be worn down to a nub by the 4th quarter, as has happened many time this year.
  2. I thought maybe the Bears generated just a tad more pressure today than has been their habit. It still wasn’t a great game for it and Khalil Mack is still slumping. But it seemed like Driskel saw more than usual. The games at the line of scrimmage that they started running in the second half helped.
  3. The Bears did a good job of holding the line of scrimmage and stopping the run early.
  4. The Bears are playing more and more zone defense as they try to keep the defensive backs facing the quarterback to see if they can get more turnovers. Its not generating many, though and its making it a bit easier on the other team to scheme completions.
  5. Nick Kwiatkoski had yet another outstanding game in relief of Danny Trevathan. He was all over the place in the second half.

Offense

  1. Cody Whitehair was back at center and having the same problems snapping the ball that he had in his first year at the position. He was obviously rusty.
  2. The Bears offensive line had a rough game through three quarters as they couldn’t run the ball. To head coach Matt Nagy’s credit, the run pass balance at half wasn’t bad. At half the it was 10 passes to 9 rushes on just 19 plays. The time of possession wasn’t terrible at 16:59 Lions to 13:02 Bears. But other than the last drive of the half by the Bears it was total ineptitude. The final count was 24 rushes to just 16 passes and the time of possession was about even at 31:47 – 28:06 Lions.
  3. Once again, the Bears could not get Trey Burton or Anthony Miller going in the passing game, relying almost totally on Allen Robinson or Tarik Cohen when they needed a catch.
  4. It was nice to see Cohen, however, have a nice game as he occasionally looked like his old self after a rough month where he definitely didn’t.
  5. David Montgomery was breaking some tackles today and made some tough runs. This is the guy they drafted.
  6. They needed to be tough because the offensive line generally struggled. They struggled to block the run with 3.2 yards per rush and Trubisky was sacked 5 times.
  7. The Bears were a miserable 2 for 12 on third down. That just has to change and is in drastic contrast to last year when Trubisky had a habit of pulling big plays out to get first downs.

Miscellaneous

  1. Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts were fine. Fouts tried to provide unique insight and, like the rest of us, explain the ineptitude of the Bears offense in the first half. Also like the rest of us, he failed but I can’t blame him for that and at least he gets an “A” for effort.
  2. Eddie Pineiro missed an extra point. He actually almost missed two as he suck the fist one inside the left upright. That point was critical as the Lions had the ball with 3 minutes left down 7 points instead of 8.
  3. Taylor Gabriel had a bad drop that was preceded by a bobble. Both were on third down and both would have been badly needed first downs. The Lions had a couple of critical drops down the stretch with only a few minutes left.
  4. Both teams had too many penalties and the Bears should have had a couple more with a couple missed face masks that they were lucky to get away with.
  5. Nick Kwiatkoski got an important interception early in the second half that the Bears turned into a Taylor Gabriel touchdown catch.
  6. I loved it at the end of the first half when running out of time but with the clock stopped, the Bears wast4ed a time out. Trubisky threw a touchdown to Ben Braunecker anyway so no harm. But it was typical.
  7. This was a tough game for the Lions. You wonder if they would have won with Matt Stafford at quarterback. The Bears showed some life in the second half and all credit to them for winning this game. But once again they wasted almost an entire first half with inept play on offense. I think its time to wonder about this team’s failure to improve over the first half of the season and I think we have to start pointing to the coaching, especially on the offensive line. Right now this team is stuck in the mud in more ways than just the failure to win.

Quick Game Comments: Bears at Eagles 11/3/19

Offense

  1. The Bears came out running the ball but that was about it. They had just 3 rushing attempts in the first half. Not that there were many plays overall. The play calling was more even in the second half as the final count was 18 runs compared to 22 passes.
  2. Instead they chose to rely once again on their struggling quarterback. Trubisky was inconsistent to be kind. Some times his confidence just looks completely shot. The Bears eventually calls swing passes and even a wide receiver screen just to get him some easy completions.
  3. The Eagles started coming with heavy blitzes on third down because they knew that Trubisky would never find the open receiver under pressure.
  4. It was nice to see Trubisky finally hit a deep pass to Taylor Gabriel in the third quarter. It set up a David Montgomery touchdown. I’d say Trubisky needed that in the worst way. It seemed to be part of a half time adjustment where the Bears decided to throw more long passes. It was reasonably successful as the Bears eventually mounted a comeback.

Defense

  1. The Eagles had a smart game plan against the Bears defense. They used heavy misdirection against an aggressive Bears front seven.
  2. On a related note Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was very effective with the hard count today, getting the Bears to jump offsides a number of times.
  3. The Bears once again lost at the line of scrimmage too often this game. The linebackers were getting caught up in the wash and couldn’t run to the play.
  4. Jordan Howard certainly ran well today and looked like the Bears version two years ago. No one should be surprised. He’s now fully recovered from his knee injury.
  5. The Bears didn’t always do a good job of stopping it but they were very aware of the screen pass today. That was obviously a big part of the plan.
  6. It was nice to see Leonard Floyd show some life today by bringing some pressure.
  7. Carson Wentz didn’t look as effective in the second half as he did in the first. His accuracy wasn’ quite on point. It looked like the Bears adjusted at half and started to take Zack Ertz away in the middle of the field.

Miscellaneous

  1. Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth were on the call. I eventually just turned the sound off. It wasn’t that it was terrible. There was just nothing added.
  2. Special teams
  3. Tarik Cohen had a couple bad drops that did not help Trubisky much today. Cohen hasn’t been himself this year. He’s not running with vision and his head doesn’t seem to always be in the game.
  4. Penalties were horrendous for the Bears, especially presnap penalties. Nine penalties for 70 yards is too many. Many of them like Nick Williams roughing the passer penalty in the first half after the Bears had stopped the Eagles on 4th down were just plain dumb.
  5. The Eagles won the time of possession battle and wore the Bears defense down, holding the ball for 39:53 (including most of the final 9 minutes of the game) compared to the Bears 20:07. It was Eagles 20:45 Bears 9:15 after a miserable first half.
  6. Zack Ertz went wild today. Anyone heard from Trey Burton? Anyone?
  7. Turnovers weren’t a factor today as neither team had any.
  8. This turned out to be a winnable game for the Bears after some half time adjustments that enabled them to get back into the game. But once again, dumb mistakes and missed opportunities were too much to over come and the Eagles offense wore the Bear defense down in the end (again).

Quick Game Comments: Chargers at Bears 10/27/19

Defense

  1. I’d say the Bears defense generally played with some extra energy today on defense. They definitely came out with an edge.
  2. Interestingly after playing much more 3-4 base defense for the first 6 games of the season, the Bears played mostly in the nickel formation today. That probably means that they didn’t have much respect for the Chargers running game. With reason.
  3. The Bears also played a lot more zone defense. The guess here is that it was meant to generate more big plays with the defenders facing the quarterback
  4. To my eye, the Bears got better play from the defensive line this week. That made a huge difference in the run defense and the pass rush.
  5. Having said that, the Bears had a tough time getting pressure on Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. If you are going to play a lot of zone defense you have to get pressure with a four man rush. Neither Khalil Mack nor Leonard Floyd got much pressure. The Bears eventually had to resort to the blitz.
  6. I also thought Roquan Smith played better today as well as he showed up more often around the ball.
  7. The Chargers came out of half time with adjustments and had some big gains on some zone beaters.
  8. Having a hard time understanding what was wrong with Keenan Allen but the guy looked like he was running on ice. He couldn’t keep his feet.

Offense

  1. The Bears came out running and definitely committed to it this week. The result of that patience with the run game was some good runs. They gained 162 yards on 38 rushing attempts.
  2. Having said that calling a running play as the clock wound down at the end of the first half with no timeouts was a bit boneheaded. I’m not big on criticizing play calling but having to spike the ball on 3rd down with one second left isn’t great clock management. A pass into the end zone would have given them one more shot at the end zone.
  3. Trubisky was inconsistent as usual but had some decent to good throws today. Notably, those throws came when he had good protection and didn’t see much pressure. The better protection can, I think, be partly attributed to the commitment to the run. Chargers pass rushers had to slow down for fear of it and the Chargers linebackers had to play it.
  4. The troubles in the red zone were notably for the Bears today. Four trips into the red zone in the first half yielded 9 points. That can’t happen.
  5. The commitment to the running game gave the Bears a definitive advantage in time of possession in the first half. They almost doubled the Chargers in that stat in the first half. The final stat was 37:56 to 22:00.
  6. Bobby Massie had a tough time with Joey Bosa all day. Bosa got a critical sack with 2:30 to play taking the Bears out of field goal range. You had to wonder why the Bears gave him no help on such a critical play knowing what a sack would mean.

Miscellaneous

  1. Thom Brennaman and Chris Spielman were your announcers. Brennaman is a pro. Spielman isn’t my cup of tea. He spends a lot of time critiquing individual players but I don’t find his insight to be compelling and to my mind he added little to the game.
  2. Eddie Pineiro missed a field goal early as did Chargers kicker Chase McLaughlin. Of course, Pineiro missed the game winner.
  3. Drops weren’t a big issue for the Bears but the Chargers had one or two that were drive killers. Mike Williams and Keenan Allen both dropped a touchdown.
  4. Penalties were horrendous for the Chargers. The stat line won’t show it as bad as it was because the Bears refused some but the ones that counted were damaging. The Chargers had the Bears off the field in the red zone twice and twice let them off the hook with penalties – one horse collar tackle and one pass interference in the end zone. The Bears still only scored a field goal but it was still really poor play. Rashad Coward had a bad game with multiple penalties.
  5. Kyle Fuller had an interception deep in Los Angeles territory. The Bears converted only a field goal. Trubisky threw an interception early in the fourth quarter that set the Chargers up on the Bears 20 yard line. He also gave up a fumble midway through the quarter, also in deep in Bears territory at the 25 yard line.
  6. Well, the Chargers did everything they could to hand the Bears this game and the Bears just wouldn’t take it. The Bears playoff hopes are gradually fading.

Quick Comments: Saints at Bears 10/20/19

Offense

  1. The Bears came out with the short passing game and the run as they have done in recent games. They had no success on the goround and limited success through the air, largely because the short passes were all they could complete. Without stretching the field it was evident that they were going nowhere.
  2. Trubisky’s accuracy was off, just as it was before the bye. The offense will always be limited as long as this is the case. He seemed to be mighty low with a lot of those short throws. Whether they are caught or not there’s little chance of yards after the catch with throws like that. Ball placement seems to be an issue.
  3. Allen Robinson is doing a great job but he can’t be the whole offense. Trubisky needs to start finding someone else. It looked like they were starting to find Trey Burton and Anthony Miller in the second half of the Oakland game. They needed to pick up where they left off with that.
  4. Matt Nagy forgot about the run in the first half. Again.

Defense

  1. I haven’t seen the statistics but one of the things I’m noticing about the defense under Chuck Pagano is that they are playing a lot more base 3-4 defense. It got a lot to recommend it in terms of versatility as long as Eddie Goldman can get some pass rush.
  2. The Bears had a tough time getting to Teddy Bridgewater on the pass rush as the Saints offensive line did a good job on the Bears front.
  3. On the other hand, I thought the Bears were solid against the run coming off of a terrible performance in London against the Raiders. Presumably they weren’t jet lagged playing at home.
  4. HaHa Clinton-Dix came to Chicago with a reputation for making big mistakes and we saw an example of it today as he was cheating up on the run and let Ted Ginn Jr. get behind him for a huge catch to set up a touchdown coming out of halftime.
  5. The Bears offense is wearing the defense down to a nub. They are being hung out to dry and are worn down in the second half. These are grim days. But very familiar to anyone who has watch this happen over and over over the last 20 years.

Miscellaneous

  1. Thom Brennaman and Troy Aikman did a nice job as usual. I kind of like Brennaman better than Joe Buck, who usually has some strong opinions that I don’t always agree with and who was presumably doing the baseball playoffs.
  2. Good play by the Saints to block the punt on the first Bears posession. The Saints schemed up a huge gap up the middle with to linement going in opposite directions to allow J.T. Gray to go right up the middle. The ball was alertly batted through the end zone by punter Pat O’Donnel to take the safety rather tha let the Saints recover for a touchdown. The Bears gave up another blocked punt in the second quarter.
  3. Heck of a kick return by Cordarrelle Patterson in the first quarter. He’s a big guy and he’s not particularly easy to bring down.
  4. Trey Burton had a bad drop before half time that should have been a first down. There were a few big catches that I thought the Saints receivers should have had for Bridgewater.
  5. The Saints went 52 yards in 12 plays aided by a terrible spot and worse review that failed to reverse the call in the second quarter.
  6. Anthony Miller is frustrated but when he finally get a chance to do something, he fumbles the ball deep in Bears territory. Maybe if he pulled his head out and played good fundamental football, good things would happen. Tight end Josh Hill cashed the turnover in for a touchdown. David Montgomery fumbled the ball deep in Bears territory early in the third quarter.
  7. Kudos to the crowd at Soldier Field It was pretty loud out there. Including the boos.
  8. The Bears opened as 6 point favorites over the Chargers and I’m wondering. How in the hell are they going to score 6 points?
  9. It seems evident that the Bears are set up to waste yet another championship caliber defense with putrid offensive play. The offense looks about as bad as it has since the early 2000s under Dick Jauron and John Shoop. As happened then, teams stacked the line of scrimmage to play the run and defended the short pass knowing that the Bears had little chance of stretching the field with big plays.

    Despite the Bears efforts to spread the blame around, its hard not to lay most of this at Mitch Trubisky’s feet. His inability to get on the same page with his receivers and throw an accurate pass more than 10 yards is a large part of the problem here. Matt Nagy abandoning the run early didn’t do him or the offensive line any favors as the Saints simply pinned their ears back and rush the passer.

Quick Comments: Raiders at Bears

Defense

  1. The Raiders came out with two tight ends and smashed the Bears right in the mouth. It was a old fashioned game plan where they spent their time running over the Bears defense and they did a fine job of it.
  2. The Raiders offensive line blew the Bears defense off the line of scrimmage. They physically dominated the Bears in a way that makes you wonder just how bad the Viking offensive line that couldn’t block the Bears last week is.
  3. Richie Incognito cost the Raiders with some penalties but the bet here is that his being in the line up brought a physical presence to the offense that may have been lacking in previous games.
  4. The loss of Akiem Hicks was a big deal for the Bears defense. I’m not sure how much difference it would have made but generally speaking, Khalil Mack ordinarily makes the defense dominant but Eddie Goldman and Hicks make it run but occupying blockers and keeping the linebackers clean.
  5. Ordinarily this would be where I would bring up the fact that the run set up the play action passing game for the Raiders. They did some of it and it was damaging when they did but the truth is that they didn’t really even need it. Just running the ball was sufficient.
  6. Some really bad Bears tackling did not help their cause today. It may have gotten a bit better in the second half.
  7. The Bears also started to blitz more in the second half and that was reasonably effective.
  8. The defense was gassed again at the end of the game. The Raiders dominated the time of possession and they spent the whole game blowing the bears off the line of scrimmage with the run game. That will certainly do it.

Offense

  1. As was the case with the defense, the Bear offense got physically dominated at the line of scrimmage in the first half.
  2. The Bears didn’t run the ball enough in the first half and they couldn’t run it when the plays were called (again). We’re used to that. But today they were giving up sacks and that is not characteristic. The Raiders were blitzing and playing games at the line of scrimmage and everything seemed to work today. When the Bears came out of half time they tried to correct this problem by forcing the run a little more. This had the effect of slowing the Raiders pass rush some.
  3. Typical of the first half was Charles Leno on the very first series of downs. A holding penatly backed the Bears up and that was followed by a sack by his guy, thus killing the Only decent drive of the half.
  4. Something is wrong with Tarik Cohen. The blocking wasn’t good enough and that was certainly the biggest part of the problem. But he seems to lack vision this year and some of the quickness that he had last year wasn’t showing up.
  5. It seems evident that the Bears tried to make adjustments at half time that did help their cause a bit. Besides running the ball more, it looked like Daniel was making a conscious effort to get other receivers involved, especially Anthony Miller and the tight ends.
  6. Chase Daniel looked to me like he was leaving the pocket a lot earlier in the second half as well. He probably avoided a lot of sacks that way and got a better look at the field while on the move.
  7. Some really nice, big catches by Miller and Allen Robinson today as the Raiders had them well covered.

Miscellaneous

  1. Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth were on the call. This was Schlereth’s kind of game. An ex-offensive lineman, he knows dominance at the line of scrimmage when he sees it. As it turned out, he was the right guy for this game. Stockton was not at his best. He was frequently confused by the action on the field.
  2. A huge kick return by Tarik Cohen set the Bears up in good field position in the third quarter. A big fake punt in the fourth quarter deep in their own territory gave the Raiders a big first down with 5:40 left in the game.
  3. There were an irritating drops on both sides but I can’t say they were a huge factor.
  4. Richie Incognito return came with some damaging penalties for the Raiders. A frustrated Miller’s taunting penalty after Robinson’s touchdown in the third quarter was particularly damaging as it, along with a good punt return, gave the Raiders the ball in excellent field position near the end of the third quarter. Charles Leno had a rough day with some damaging holding calls. The Raiders had a very damaging roughing the passer by Maurice Hurst that eliminated a Raiders interception.
  5. As usual, turnovers determined how this game went more than any other dingle factor. Besides the game clinching interception with less than 2 minutes left in the game, Chase Daniel threw a big interception in the first half that resulted in a Raiders score. Both passes you had to wonder where he was throwing the ball. The one to practically end the game, in particular, looked like a miscommunication. A bad exchange gave the Bears the ball deep in Raiders territory in the third quarter. They scored a touchdown. A huge fumble by the Raiders Trevor Davis at the goal line basically took a touchdown away from the Raiders. Sherrick McManis made a good play to knock the ball out.
  6. Stockton mentioned that it was a Bears crowd in London and it certainly sounded like it in the second half. I pity the poor European who innocently adopted the Bears not knowing the misery they have let themselves in for.
  7. It’s very evident that the Bears weren’t ready to play today. Oakland came in last Sunday after their game while the Bears chose to come in Thursday in an effort to not disrupt their routine. It looks like Oakland did it right. Jon Gruden emphasized the opportunity to bond with this team on this trip and they certainly did look better for it.

    Meanwhile the Bears are left to gather themselves during the break and see if they can come out better after the bye than they did last year when an inferior Dolphin team took it to them.

Quick Comments: Vikings at Bears 2019-09-29

Offense

  1. The Bears came out mixing it up throwing and passing. Matt Nagy still occasionally forgets about the run, though. He went a pretty longs stretch of the second quarter without calling one. The balance at half was 24 passing attempts and 13 rushes. The final for the game was 32 rushes and 33 pass attempts, aided by the offense trying to run out the clock for much of the second half.
  2. The Bears stuck mostly to the short passing game, which was evidently what Minnesota decided to give them. As a result, they had to sustain some pretty long drives in order to score. Which was, of course, the idea.
  3. The Vikings came out switching their defense at the lat minute in order to negate the Bears no huddle offense where Trubisky has Nagy in is ear to advise him on how to handle the defensive formation. It was hard to evaluate the effectiveness of this since Trubisky hurt his shoulder in the first quarter and was ruled out for the game.
  4. The Vikings were really going for the ball every chance they got. For the most part the Bears did a decent job of holding on to it anyway.
  5. Chase Daniel looked fine coming in in relief of Trubisky. I’d say there was no drop off in the quarterback play with him in there. He had some trouble with some of the shallow out routes to the running backs.
  6. The Bears have to find a wide receiver other than Allen Robinson at some point. Some balls went to Jevon Wims (including a nice 37 yard catch in the third quarter) but with Taylor Gabriel out, Anthony Miller was basically invisible again. He looked frustrated.
  7. Tough situation at left guard with both Kyle Long and Ted Larsen being injured. The Vikings tried to take advantage of Rashaad Coward a bit in the second half.

Defense

  1. The Bears very evidently were concentrating on stopping the run this game. They played a lot of base 3-4 defense instead of nickle.
  2. They also seemed determined to limit the deep play action passes. This left the short passing game open and the Vikings tried to take advantage of the poor coverage skills of Nick Kwiatkoski (who actually didn’t play too bad). The Vikings, like the Bears, were forced to execute and sustain long drives. There were Only 5 total possessions by both teams combined in the first half.
  3. You wondered if the absence of many starters on defense, including Roquan Smith, Akiem Hicks, and Bilal Nichols would result in the defense wearing down. To my eye it didn’t happen.
  4. Pretty used to seeing Roy Robertson-Harris come through and play well in games like this dating back to last year. But Nick Williams kind of came out of nowhere.
  5. You want to credit the Bears defense but with the constant pressure that Vikings quarterback Kurt Cousins saw you have to wonder if the Vikings still don’t have major issues along the offensive line.

Miscellaneous

  1. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo were your announcers. Romo did provide some insight into the Bear offensive scheme but I did think he may have been a little off after trying to make the cut in a PGA tournament last week. Still, you can’t help but like both him and Nantz and I’d rather have them than most even on an off day.
  2. Special teams
    1. Both teams seemed like they were starting deep in their own territory an awful lot this game. I guess that’s a credit to the special teams on both sides. Tarik Cohen took a lot of fair catches.
  3. Penalties
    1. What was Eddie Jackson doing anywhere near that pile near the end zone in the second quarter? The shoving match he apparently became involved in gave the Vikings a first down after the defense had them off the field on third down.
    2. Both teams had a load of penalties that hurt them in important spots, especially the Vikings.
  4. Drops weren’t a major factor in this game.
  5. Turnovers
    1. A huge catch and fumble by Sefon Diggs in the second quarter with the Vikings driving after Eddie Jackson’s brain fart penalty near the Viking goal line.
    2. Khalil Mack forced a big fumble at the beginning of the second half, giving the ball to the Bears on the Viking 16 yard line. The Bears got a field goal.
  6. The Bears were slipping around an awful lot out there. When you are at home you should know your own field. It looked like some guys needed some different shoes.
  7. Big win for the Bears today. Losing would have meant two divisional losses, both at home and an uphill fight in the division with the resurgent Lions also to be dealt with. It was also nice to see a team challenged by numerous injuries step up and come through. Those are the kinds of efforts that allow you to find out what you are made of.

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.