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Data Responds: Bears at Bengals

| December 10th, 2017

Is this real life?

The Bears dominated on both sides of the ball, scored 30 points for the first time in over two years, and generally rolled over the dormant Cincinnati Bengals.

I know Cincinnati is bad and banged up, but so are the Bears, and this was a lot of fun. More importantly, this as led largely by young players for the Bears, which bodes well for the future. Let’s take a look at what happened.

Offense

  • The Bears came out and threw it on their first 2 plays! The first resulted in an awful Jordan Howard drop (drink), while the second was a beautiful play action rollout to Josh Bellamy for a 1st down. This unsurprisingly caught the Bengals’ defense off guard, and they backed off the defense into standard 7 man boxes instead of loading 8-9 up. As a result, the Bears ran it the next two plays for about 40 yards and a touchdown. That marked the first time this season that the offense scored a touchdown on their first possession of the game.
  • Before I get too down on Howard, how about giving it up for a great game from Chicago’s stud running back? He had his 12th 100 yard rushing game in 26 career starts and passed the 1,000 yard mark for the 2nd year in a row, making him the first running back in Chicago history to start his career that way. That’s pretty remarkable when you think of the great running backs who have played in Chicago.

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423 Comments

Data Responds: Bears vs. 49ers

| December 3rd, 2017

The Bears led for almost the entire game, but pretty much everybody watching the game knew what was coming when San Francisco got the ball back down 14-12 with just over 4 minutes to go. The 49ers methodically marched down the field and longtime Chicago kicker Robbie Gould drilled his 5th field goal of the day to send Chicago to their 5th straight loss.

Offense

  • Chicago’s offense came out on the first possession and ran the ball twice in a row out of heavy sets. Anybody who’s watched Chicago this year can already guess how that ended: with Chicago in 3rd and long. That led to a sack of QB Mitchell Trubisky for a nice quick three and out.
  • Speaking of running on first down, the Bears did it 11 times in 14 chances today. Only one of those runs went for more than 3 yards; most went for 0 or 1.
  • It looks like any confidence rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky earned from the coaching staff completely evaporated after a bad game last week. They finally opened things up two weeks ago, and the offense shockingly had their best game of the year. Now they’ve had back to back terrible weeks after reverting to horribly predictable play calling.

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Postseason Positional Analysis Part VIII: Secondary

| January 20th, 2016

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Here are a few sentences I never thought I’d write, or think, in 2015:

  • The Bears really struggled covering the slot without Bryce Callahan.
  • Tracy Porter is playing like a corner who wants a contract extension.
  • The secondary has been the best level of the Bears defense several games this season.

My predictions were (1) the Bears would field the worst secondary in the league and (2) perhaps one of the worst secondaries in the organization’s history. Neither of those predictions were accurate. Neither was even close.

WHO IS BACK

Kyle Fuller and Adrian Amos both had up-and-down 2015s but both will be prominent members of the Bears secondary next season.

Tracy Porter isn’t a top tier corner but his ability to close on the football is somewhat astounding. If Calvin Johnson does actually retire this offseason, does Porter’s value increase?

Antrel Rolle doesn’t actually cost the Bears much in 2016 so it wouldn’t make sense for them to cut bait before Bourbonnais. Even if the Bears target safety in free agency or the draft, Rolle could provide cheap depth off the bench.

Bryce Callahan was arguably the defense’s most pleasant surprise and a player the Bears coaching staff will surely want to continue developing.

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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 23rd, 2015

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• I hate to be “that guy”, but this is now three straight games that the Bears have barely bothered to show up for. We can talk all we want about a culture change and can claim it has already happened, but, to me, it’s pretty clear that John Fox still has a lot of work to do. At this point, it would be a surprise if they didn’t finish with the same record they finished with last year.

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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Bears Try to End the Losing in Minnesota

| December 18th, 2015

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Sell Chicago Bears Tickets

8-8 is still on the table. 3-3 in the division is still on the table. Neither remains there if the Bears lose in Minnesota Sunday. I don’t think a John Fox team ever lacks for motivation and this one has no reason to.

THE GAME POEM

“Shall fair ladies never learn that I,
from blows me shielding, backward turned me;
nor shall ever Ingibiorg taunt me,
in Sigtuna sitting, that from sword-blows I fled.”

-From the Old Norse poem, Hialmar’s Death Song

3 THOUGHTS ON THE MINNESOTA VIKINGS

  • Blaine Gabbert, Kirk Cousins and now Teddy Bridgewater. The Bears are facing three very similar quarterbacks in a row and Bridgewater might be the most limited of the bunch. As a quarterback he does two things I don’t like consistently: (a) he doesn’t create plays with his legs when he feels pressure in the pocket and (b) he doesn’t stretch defenses with his arm. He’s a quick read/quick toss dink-and-dunker. If the Bears play soft on the outside, they deserve to have the ball moved on them.
  • Hard to evaluate the Vikings defense in recent weeks as arguably their three best defenders have been on the bench. But Linval Joseph and Harrison Smith returned to the practice field this week and there’s a very slight (very) chance Anthony Barr will give it a go Sunday. It shouldn’t be expected that any of them are 100% but their presence in the lineup can only be positive.
  • Minnesota is arguably the best kick return team in the league. (They already did some damage against the Bears this season.) The Bears coverage units can’t allow the Vikings to score on specials or play on short fields. Although, with the way the football is leaving Robbie’s foot these days, I’d expect the Vikings to have several shots to make a game-changing play on specials.

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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 2nd, 2015

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• The Bears should have been running into a buzz saw. The Packers seemed to right whatever was wrong with them four days earlier, the weather conditions suited them perfectly and it was a night in which they honored one of the greatest players in their franchise’s history. Shit, Ron Wolf even referred to the field they were playing on as the house that Favre built. At no point did I think the Bears were going to win until about five seconds after — waiting for a flag — Aaron Rodgers’ fourth down pass hit the ground. How sweet it is.

• This wasn’t just a win for the Bears and it wasn’t just a loss for the Packers. The times are a changin’ in the NFC North and both teams know it.

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