Bears Offensive Line Improving, Deserves More Respect After Win

Every once in a while I’ll quickly write up game comments and put them up, then sleep on it and regret some things I said.  Well, probably more common than every once in a while.  Last was one of those times.

Steve Rosenblom at the Chicago Tribune makes a good point that I probably should have emphasized more strongly:

“The offensive line has been the biggest reason to doubt the Bears this season. On Monday night, the line was perhaps the biggest reason there was no doubt they’d beat the Vikings.”

You can say a lot about the team that the Bears beat last night.  The offense was banged up with their best player, Adrian Peterson, on the sideline.  They got more beat up when they had to put in their third string quarterback.  But there’s not much wrong with the Viking defense beyond the fact that they just plain aren’t play well.  And even that isn’t true of defensive tackles, Kevin and Pat Williams.

Like the rest of the team, the Bears offensive line starts slow.  That biases people like me for the rest of the game because, like most men, we see what we expect to see.  Though I did say that “all of it got better as the game wore on”, the offensive line deserved better than I gave them last night.  They allowed the team to attack off tackle on the ground and everything flowed from there.  The pass protection got better as they were allowed to run more play action.  Despite the fact that the Vikings kept on blitzing, they plugged the holes and gave quarterback Jay Cutler a decent amount of protection.

The line is still a weakness.  They still make too many mistakes, especially early in games, and they commit too many penalties.  But it appears to me like they might also be coming together and there really is hope that in a few weeks they’ll be good enough to carry this team into a deep playoff run.

I sincerely hope so.  Last night they were a big reason why this team succeeded.  But as Rosenbloom points out, one bad game in the wrong spot and they could also be the biggest reason why they won’t.  It that important.

Bears Spread the Ball Around in Dominant Win

Mike Florio at made an interesting point about the Bears game last night:

“Despite the placement of 54 total points on the board, no quarterback threw for more than 200 yards, no running back rushed for more than 100 yards, and no receiver generated more than 100 receiving yards.”

I don’t know if this was supposed to be complimentary (Florio is a Vikings fan) but I took it as a positive sign.

The fact that so many pints were scored despite the fact that no quarterback threw for more than 200 yards is an indication of how well the running game was working, at least for the Bears.

No running back for more than 100 yards?  No receiver for more than 100 receiving yards?  All good.

In particular, much has been made about the Bears’ lack of a receiving threat.  But this game serves as a reminder that there are advantages to that.  If you are an opposing coordinator, who are you going to concentrate on?  No one.  It simply up to Cutler to find the open man and throw it to him.  Lately he’s been pretty good at that.

Michael Vick, “a True Story of Redemption”?

My favorite feature, Pro Football Weekly‘s Audibles, has another provocative (and anonymous) quote:

“(The Eagles) had one of the greatest comebacks I have ever seen (against New York). (Michael) Vick is a true story, (a true example of) redemption. They are on a run. Andy Reid keeps looking better by the week. The best football is being played in the East right now — New England, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.”

Michael Vick “a true story of redemption”?

Let me get this straight.  The guy goes to jail for dog fighting.  He gets out and now his job, his teammates and his family depend absolutely on him staying out of trouble.  So what happens?  He immediately goes back to associating with people who slave their problems with guns.  He goes to a party where his friend shoots somebody literally minutes after he leaves.

How long before this guy finds himself suspended again?  How can anyone depend on his to be their starting quarterback?

Michael Vick has been conning people most of his life by telling them what they want to hear.  He’s Cedric Benson with more talent and more dangerous friends.  In this entire affair he hasn’t once told the truth right up until he went to jail.  I was and am willing to give anyone a chance after they’ve paid their debt to society and by heaven Vick paid more than most of these athletes ([cough]benroethlisburger[cough]).  But that doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore the indications that he is wasting it.

I have no problem with Vick having a job in the league.  I have no problem with him playing.  I have no problem with him period.  He’s fine.  But it will be a long, long time before I’ll believe he has “redeemed” himself.

Game Comments: Bears Vs. Vikings December 20, 2010


  1. Bears came out with a blitz on the first play.  But beyond that, they correctly anticpated that the Vikings would try to keep it on the ground as much as possible and, though they mixed it up, they played quite a lot with eight in the box in an effort to stop the run.  They played more cover two late as they anticipated that the Vikings would pass from behind.
  2. It was pretty scary for a while in the first quarter as the Vikings literally ran over the Bears, particularly as they attacked the edges.  When a team is running on you and you are stacking the box there’s the potential for real trouble.  Fortunately the Bears tightened things up in the second quarter, playing with better discipline and speed, and they did a better job of stoping the running game.
  3. 50 seconds left in the first half and I was wondering if there was going to be another coverage break down to allow a big score.  There wasn’t.
  4. The Vikings were running at the edges, taking advantage of the Bears stunting their ends inside.  It worked well until the Bears adjusted.
  5. The Bears tackling was awful at times.  Just awful.
  6. The Bears also looked pretty slow and sluggish at the start of the game.  I’d like to see the Bears better prepared to play mentally coming out of the locker room the last few weeks.
  7. Kudos to Henry Melton and Corey Wooton for making big plays.  These are young players that need to show that they can play.  On the down side, Wooton lost contain on Joe Webb’s first ever touchdown.
  8. Webb looked OK but its obvious why he was considered to be a receiver by the Vikings scouts.  He’s quick mentally, throws sharp short passes and he’s mobile.  But, though he’s got a good strong arm, based upon what I saw this game he’s not accurate deep.  Though Brad Childress apparently decided to try, I’m not sure you can coach that.


  1. The Bears also came out running and did it with some success.  They didn’t do really well, however, until they stopped running inside and, like the Vikings, started running off tackle and attacking the edges )or at least until Matt Forte started finding the holes there).
  2. The Bears offensive line had their usual problems, particularly with the Williams boys, Pat and Kevin, inside.  Generally speaking they were allowing too much penetration inside.  They did better away from the center and that’s where the holes were.
  3. The pass protection wasn’t much better.  There weren’t many sacks but there was a lot of pressure.  It didn’t help that the Vikings anticipated the pass on third down.  It looked like a jail break out there with a lot of blitzing in those situations.  All of it got better as the game went on, as it usually does.  The running game got going and that helped.  But just once I’d like to see them come out and play well immediately.
  4. Johnny Knox’s touchdown was an example of some poor play by safety Madieu Williams.  Its nice to know that happens to safeties on other teams, too.  Tough position to play in the cover two.
  5. Wonderful game by Forte who really ran well.  Maybe the best I’ve seen him all year.
  6. As much as anything, the Bears success on the ground really set things up for success.  The play action worked to perfection and the Beas got some big plays.
  7. Jay Cutler generally looked sharp when he had time, which he frequently did once the running game got going.


  1. Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski did their usual great job.  Both Jaworski and Gruden did a nice job of noticing things that other color men often miss or fail to point out.
  2. The kicking game was definitely hurt by the cold weather.  Neither kicker could kick off very deep.  The kick coverage by the Bears was spotty and the first return was particularly long.
  3. The Viking coverage was poor on punts, giving Devin Hester a record for returns for a touchdown.  I’ve no idea why they stopped kicking the ball out of bound and started kicking to him.  In any case, there was some bad Viking tackling out there and some good blocking by the Bears.
  4. Way, way too many penalties.  As usual the offensive line was largely, though not entirely, at fault.  Successive penalties set the Bears back to first and thirty before the long connection to Johnny Knox for the first touchdown.
  5. There were too many drops, possibly because of the cold.  They have to do better than that no matter what the weather.
  6. The Bears did well in the turnover department.  I guess that’s no surprise with Brett Favre and a rookie at quarterback.  Still, its good to see them back on track in that respect.  They need to win the turnover battle if they are going to win games.  Cutler threw a bad interception under pressure.
  7. Kudos to the Bears for winning what admittedly turned out to be a weak division.  Give them credit for doing it despite some obvious weaknesses.  Hopefully they will continue to improve in those areas to get it together for a long playoff run.