Quick Comments: Green Bay at Chicago 9/13/15


  1. The Bears made no secret of their desire to run, starting the game with double tight ends for the first two plays. The Packers, of course, put eight (and sometimes nine) in the box. It was fairly obvious early on that the Packers were going try to force Jay Cutler to beat them. To the Bears credit, they kept running the ball and, for the most part, did it effectively. The game became a contest of wills at that point.
  2. Jacquizz Rogers got a carry in the first series, indicating that the Bears are going to be determined to get another running back into the game to relieve Matt Forte. Jeremy Langford got a carry in the second series. Forte was still in the vast majority of the time, though. As the last coaching staff found out, its hard to take him off the field.
  3. It fairly obvious that the Bears were determined to utilize Forte to the fullest. The Bears lined up him as a receiver as well as in the backfield. I guess that’s not a shock as when you have a defense that is playing the run, you can get him on a linebacker fairly easily. He made his share of mistakes, dropping one touchdown and stepping out of bounds on the other. But I think few people are complaining. He had a nice game.
  4. The Bears offensive line was fascinating to watch this game. They mixed blocking schemes, sometimes going with a zone scheme, sometimes firing off. Generally speaking they did a wonderful job of blocking this Packers defense – much better than any of us thought they would.
  5. Kyle Long started at tackle, with Vlad Ducasse at guard. Long had some growing pains as expected with a holding call in the first quarter. But generally he played well
  6. The Packer defense often did a poor job of tackling this game and it really hurt them trying to stop the Bears on the run.
  7. It was hilarious to watch Jay Cutler at the line of scrimmage. Offensive coordinator Adam Gase must have Cutler convinced that he’s Peyton Manning.
  8. Nevertheless, I can’t say that Cutler had a good day. He was inaccurate too often and he held the ball, too long. To his credit, he often chose to pull it down and run it rather than forcing an interception.
  9. Marquess Wilson showed up with a big 50 yard completion in the fourth quarter. As color man Troy Aikman pointed out early in the broadcast in relation to the Packers, your wide receiving corp is only as good as your third receiver. Its time for Wilson to defecate or get off the pot.
  10. I kept wondering why the Bears ran the ball so well, then went to the pass so often in the red zone. Why not try to keep it going?


  1. The Packers came out with the no huddle offense and forced a three and out. It was a good start.
  2. Randall Cobb didn’t look affected by a bad shoulder. He had a reasonably good game. Of course, James Jones was the star, making some wonderful catches against some good coverage.
  3. The Packers went with two fullbacks and two tight ends active. It was a sign of things to come as the Packers game plan was clearly to take control of the line of scrimmage and run right at the Bears, complemented by a nice ball control passing game with a liberal amount of play action sprinkled in. Generally speaking they ran the ball well. But the lack of discipline on offense killed them. You can’t commit that many penalties and depend upon the running game.
  4. It was interesting to watch Eddie Lacy run the ball. The Bears did a good job of clogging up the middle and Lacy frequently just ran into the pile. But then, after pausing, he just bounced outside. It was surprisingly effective given how slow the play was to develop.
  5. Will Sutton occasionally got penetration, just like he did in the preseason. He might be a factor this year.
  6. The Bears played mostly man coverage and to my great surprise they sometimes didn’t do too badly. They lack recovery speed and they still looked rough in their technique. But generally speaking, they made the Packers work for their completions until well into the second half. Unfortunately for the Bears, the Packers generally did a good job against some good coverage.
  7. Nice job by Packers offensive coordinator Tom Clements calling this game. There was a lot of emotional upheaval in Green Bay when Mike McCarthy gave up play calling duties. Looks like much ado about nothing to me.
  8. Aaron Rogers escaped the pocket to do damage too often. As I said above, the Bears were in man coverage instead of the zones that they’ve specialize in the past. That means the defensive backs have their backs to the quarterback. This may be something we see a lot this year.


  1. Apparently play-by-play man Joe Buck was so excited about this game that he forgot to shave. (Yes. I’m old.)
  2. Unshaven look aside, Buck did a marvelous job of calling this game and was clearly ready for the season to start. Troy Aikman reminded us of why he’s FOX’s number one color man with some astute observations. He pointed out early that the Bears were getting to the line of scrimmage early to allow Cutler more time to audible into the right play and, of course, he saw as well as I did that this was going to be a contest between the Packers run defense and the Bears run offense. This was a well-called game.
  3. There were too many penalties in this game on both sides, but especially by the Packers, who continually shot themselves in the foot and wasted opportunities. The Bears did the same thing but waited until the second half to really get going with it. We now know why the Bears have been hesitant to move Vlad Ducasse into the starting lineup. He had at least two false starts, one on the first series in the red zone. The Packers committing three penalties alone on the Bears second scoring drive. You can add holding on David Bakhtiari on apparent TD in second quarter and holding on another play on the same drive on Brian Bulaga.
  4. Bears special teams were a disappointment today. Robbie Gould made all of his field goals and Pat O’Donnell had a wonderful 55 yard punt just out of bounds in the first half. But after a pretty good preseason, the kickoff coverage was putrid. The Bears have some work to do.
  5. The good news: the Bears didn’t turn the ball over until the fourth quarter (a badly interception from Cutler – what else is new). The really bad news: the Bears didn’t get any turnovers. It’s great to limit mistakes but they’re going to have to make som plays if things are going to happen for them.
  6. I kind of felt sorry for the referee in the first half. He gives the Bears a timeout when they didn’t have time to get set and he has Rogers yelling at him in one ear for not letting them snap it and John Fox yelling in the other for letting them snap it too soon. What’s a guy to do?
  7. Poor challenge by John Fox on the third quarter pass to Devante Adams on Kyle Fuller. All of the replays showed that he was in bounds.
  8. Well, it was nice while it lasted but you kind of knew the way that the first half went and the way the Packers kept shooting themselves in the foot that the better team was eventually going to win this game.To the Bears credit, they did exactly what they had to do today. They hung in despite a lack of talent by playing a good, generally disciplined football game. There were some breakdowns and some penalties in the second half but generally they looked well-coached, something that we haven’t been able to say around here for quite some time. The future looks like it might be bright. The distant future, to be sure. But there’s a future, nevertheless.


Sam Acho Released, May Come Back

Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune reports that outside linebacker Sam Acho has been released to make room on the roster for fellow linebacker Lamin Barrow.

Barrow drafted out of LSU in the fifth round by the Broncos last year and played in all 16 games, mostly on special teams.

After showing pretty well in the first two preseason games, Acho missed the last two with a mysterious illness and hasn’t practiced. Nevertheless, as Wiederer suggests, he might be back. Acho showed signs of being a playmaker, albeit against back ups, something that the Bears desperately need more of.

Better to Have Loved and Lost Than Never to Have Loved at All

Dorothy Parker once wrote:

“Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
“A medley of extemporanea;
“And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
“And I am Marie of Romania.”

Ramona Rice at SportsGalPal.com makes the case that the “almost win” is the worst kind of loss as Notre Dame pulls out a win over her beloved Virginia Cavaliers with an improbable last minute touchdown pass:

“To be a sports fan means that there are winners and losers. Yesterday my team was the loser. And I could go through all the things I saw that were much improvements from last week (and there were a ton) and I could again say, ‘hey look how hard the Irish had to work to get that win). I could find the moral victories in all of this. I don’t want a fucking moral victory – I want the WIN! “

Don’t we all.

I sympathize with Virginia fans this morning. I’ve been there. A lot. At least they lost on a legitimate play. Try seeing your Missouri Tigers get beaten by eventual National Champion Colorado because the Buffaloes were given a fifth down.

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But as much as I’m in tune with their feelings, this isn’t the worst way to lose. Its a synch that Ramona has never seen here team give up over 50 points in back-to back blow out losses, one to your biggest rival, Green Bay, in which they score 42 of those in the first half. But this is a football town, one that is split by the Cubs and the White Sox all summer and only comes together to root for the Bears in the fall. People dont’ want to go to work Monday morning. I’d be willing to wager that some people didn’t.

On the morning of the renewal of profesional football’s longest standing rivalry, Bears fans are still recovering from the trauma of last season and praying that this year, they can at least be competitive. In a backwards way, virtually everyone I know would consider that to be a victory because it means the team is getting better and, therefore, progressing towards better times. A close loss puts you close to that goal. A blow out loss means you are depressingly, soul-crushingly far away.

I’m not saying that Ramona doesn’t have a point. We all feel losses of all types acutely because we all love our teams, most of us through hope for the future. But whether you are close or far away, the future is always born in pain.