Can the Bears hit Aaron Rodgers enough times to make him not want to finish the football game?
Greg Blache was the first person in professional football I heard publicly state sacks were an overrated statistic. He was no longer Bears defensive coordinator a few months later.
Sacks are important. They are more important than pressures and hurries. They are more important than the newest ludicrous stat: disruptions. (According to Adam Hoge’s disruption chart Lamarr Houston was having a Hall of Fame year.) The reasons sacks are important should be obvious to anyone who has ever watched an NFL game. (1) It involves hitting the opposing team’s quarterback and potentially knocking him from the game. Nobody roots for injuries in the league but knocking the opposing QB out of the game has been a goal of defensive coordinators since defensive coordination began. (2) When you sack the quarterback, he is holding the football and thus there is a chance he will drop it and you might pick it up.
I’ve never heard of someone hurrying an opposing QB out of a game. Nobody has ever disrupted a fumble.The Bears need only to look at their win at Lambeau a year ago to understand why they must hit Aaron Rodgers Sunday night. (And I’m talking about hitting him in the black-and-white highlights on an old Zenith, John Facenda symphonic narration kind of way.)
Rodgers is a rhythm passer who will dissect any defense without hitting the ground repeatedly. The Bears need to make Rodgers aware that every attempt more than five yards down field comes with a bruise. If they can’t achieve this with their front four, they must manufacture the pressure. Can they do it? Will they try to do it?
Will Kyle Fuller and Tim Jennings be lined up on Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb exclusively?
Here’s the real question: why wouldn’t the Bears do this? Kyle Fuller is the Bears best cover corner. Jordy Nelson is the Packers best receiver and Rodgers’ favorite target. Sports is, more often than not, a head-to-head competition between two athletes. If Nelson burns Fuller repeatedly, so be it. Go down swinging with your best instead of constantly losing assignment football. (By the way, the same goes for Jennings and Cobb.)
The Bears project Fuller as a ten-year starter and the anchor of the defense for years to come. Asking him to push Nelson into a space where one of the team’s non-professional safeties will assume responsibility is a recipe for 15 catches, 165 yards, 2 touchdowns.
Can the Bears offense finish drives?
Against the Packers at Soldier Field this season the Bears gained 496 yards. They scored 17 points. That calculates to roughly a point scored every 29.18 yards gained.
In their other seven games this season the Bears are averaging 333.28 yards per game and scoring roughly 23.29 points. That calculate to roughly a point scored every 14.31 yards gained. If this doesn’t prove the Packers game was anomaly, nothing will. The Bears scored at less than half their productivity average. (If this isn’t already a statistic I am thinking about making it one. Most of the best offenses are in the 13-15 range when it comes to this statistic. The Patriots are in the 11s amazingly.)
Field goals won’t win Sunday night’s game. Long, sustained drives keeping Rodgers off the field will be helpful but won’t win Sunday night’s game. The Bears need touchdowns. They need at least four of them and maybe more. If they don’t get them, they’ll lose. Simple, American football.