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Bears at Jets Game Preview Addendum

| September 19th, 2014

ON THE JETS RUN GAME…

  • 179 yards a game thus far, admittedly against two fairly poor defenses. Only Houston has run the ball more and only five teams are averaging more yards per carry. Especially considering the shaky health of Eric Decker, I’d think Rex Ryan would not be disappointed with a forty carry night.
  • Give you a stat to keep an eye on. If the Bears limit the Jets to less than five yards a carry, the game is over by the fourth quarter.

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Chicago Bears at New York Jets Game Preview

| September 18th, 2014

Jonathan Hughes is a die hard New York Jets fan. On Sunday, as the Jets sprinted ahead of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, I sent him a text message.

Jeff: J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!

Jon: Best start in ten years. Both sides of ball.

I haven’t spoken to Jon since.

Now the Bears travel to the New Jersey swamplands, in the shadows of my hometown, smells that define my childhood, air pollution that will inevitably land me at Sloan Kettering.

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

WHY ELSE?

  • Jets may field their worst collection of corners in recent memory. Antonio Allen vs. Alshon Jeffery? Self-proclaimed great corner but actually terrible player Dee Milliner vs. Brandon Marshall? Hell, Darrin Walls or Kyle Wilson will struggle with a motivated Santonio Holmes. (Not to mention Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte will be a nightmare for the Jets in the passing game.) Once the Packers realized the Jets had no chance to cover their wide receivers they went on the attack and were borderline unstoppable. If I’m the Bears my approach from the onset is getting the ball in the hands of the weapons on the outside and forcing the Jets corners to make plays.
  • Jets will approach this game by believing they can run the football right up the gut of the Bears defense – especially if Jeremiah Ratliff is inactive with a concussion –  and they’ll give that game plan ample time. Chris Johnson was their high profile acquisition this off-season but Chris Ivory has been the far more productive back and I expect them to test Jon Bostic’s gap discipline all night long. Bears had a few breaks Sunday night, causing their run defense to look better than it actually was.
  • Rex Ryan is considered by many to be the most dynamic blitz schemer in the NFL and I don’t have the time or wherewithal to dispute that opinion. You know they’re coming. And you know they’re coming from every direction. But when Ryan blitzes he often either (a) leaves his corners on an island or (b) puts his safeties (Dawan Landry, Calvin Pryor) in the uncomfortable position of either defending over the top or covering tight ends they have business being matched up against. When Ryan’s group doesn’t hit Cutler, Cutler will rip them to shreds.

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Three Thoughts After Two Games

| September 16th, 2014

peanut

Thought 1

The Bears are 1-1 through two games. Exactly where everyone thought they’d be. But if they had achieved this record in the conventional manner – beating Buffalo at home and losing to San Fran on the road – the team would currently be shrouded in questions regarding their status as contenders. Instead they endured a media storm of criticism and responded by playing their most complete half of football in the Jay Cutler era. Now they are being showered with praise on the pages of the dailies and on radio airwaves. They should be 1-1 after two games, no question, but how they’ve reached that mark should inspire them through this difficult stretch of the 2014 schedule

Thought 2

I have often stated Charles “Peanut” Tillman is my favorite Chicago Bear of the modern era. And I can’t remember a more difficult-to-watch sequence in my football viewing than Tillman, tears pouring down his cheeks on a Santa Clara sideline, coming to the brutal realization a second consecutive season and perhaps career had been ended by a flukish injury.

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Repost: Dismal Sunday Display Presents Opportunity for Santa Clara Salvation

| September 16th, 2014

levi

If the Bears had a rinky dink opponent on the schedule for Sunday (though I’m not sure those exist in the NFL any longer) there would be little they could do in Week Two to erase the disappointment of Week One. But they don’t. Instead they are traveling to Santa Clara, where they haven’t beaten the 49ers since the invention of the forward pass. They are opening a new stadium, in prime time, in front of one of the league’s rowdiest fan bases. They are playing the most difficult game, at least contextually speaking, on their schedule.

And if they win, week one is forgotten. If they win, the season is reborn. Hell, even if they play a terrific game and lose the conversation changes from the End is Nigh refrain currently singly somewhat proudly from the pages of the Chicago dailies to Bring on the Jets and the 2014 campaign!

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But You Told Me the Season Was Over: Bears Over Niners Rapid Fire Recap

| September 15th, 2014

Marshall 2

Just a spectacular, improbable victory for the Chicago Bears in San Francisco.

  • If Charles Tillman’s season is over, and his eyes certainly told that tale, I don’t want to discuss it. I have made it clear Tillman is my favorite modern Bear as both a football player and man. For his Bears career to end with successive season-ending injuries isn’t right. He deserves better.
  • But I’m pretty sure Kyle Fuller is the real deal. I can’t remember the last performance by a young Bears defender that elicited so much hope for the future.
  • You know who played well last night? Shea McClellin. Maybe it takes a few weeks to learn an entirely new position.
  • Chris Conte’s interception is the reason he’s so frustrating as a player. You can’t make that play if you’re not a superb athlete with football instincts.
  • Here’s something I am starting to think. Brandon Marshall is the second best offensive player in the history of the Chicago Bears. (This will be a full column midweek once I’ve thought through the idea.)
  • Hey look, the Bears just dropped another pass.
  • Hey look, Bears special teams just committed another penalty.
  • Time to give Chris Williams a look as return man. Senorise Perry may be headed down Micheal Spurlock way.
  • Jay Cutler’s numbers don’t tell the story of his game. He was excellent throughout.

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