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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 16th, 2015

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  • Once again, I’m not upset with the fact that the Bears lost, but how they lost. The Redskins have talent, probably as much or more than the Bears, but they were coming off of a short week and they can’t win on the road. Meanwhile, the Bears were coming off a disappointing loss and questions about why they can’t win at home. You’d think the Bears would be motivated, right? Nope. They came out flat again. Six flat quarters against the 49ers and Redskins very well could’ve cost them a spot in the playoffs. That isn’t acceptable. They looked like a Trestman-coached team for six straight quarters before turning it around in the second half.
  • In defense of the coaching staff, I don’t think they’re particularly worried about wins and losses right now. They’ve been coaching for the future for about 10 weeks.
  • My guess on the Kevin White situation: The Bears players and coaches fully expected him to be available, but Ryan Pace made the call.

  • I’ll get more into it later, but expecting Gould to make that kick isn’t any more unreasonable than expecting Alshon Jeffery to make the catch on the second down play. If Gould had made that kick, it would’ve been a great play. The same is true with Jeffery’s possible catch.
  • Before we say the Bears need to cut Gould, look at the options. Even in a down year, he’s been better than most of the kickers in the league have been in their careers. The Packers, Vikings and Lions wouldn’t have been confident in their kickers making the same kick that Gould missed and all three of their kickers are considered good. The argument that Gould has to make that kick because “it’s his job” shows how spoiled Bears fans have been by him. The Bears need to bring in competition, but they can’t just cut him and risk going years with the likes of Chris Boniol and Paul Edinger again.
  • Love Zach Miller. Who doesn’t? In every broadcast you hear the announcer talk about how much Cutler and the coaches love him. Even ESPN’s fantasy guru Matthew Berry says it. The Bears are spreading the word as far as possible because they’re going to cut Martellus Bennett or give him away. But they can’t go into next season with Miller as the unquestioned top tight end. How can you count on him to stay healthy?
  • I really like the idea of having Forte and Langford splitting carries all of next year. I don’t trust Langford enough to think he can handle 100 percent of the load and I think Ka’Deem Carey is strictly a situational player. Forte is still the best back on the team and with Langford breathing down his neck, he doesn’t have a choice but to run hard. It’s bringing out the best in both players.
  • Going forward, I have a lot more confidence in Kyle Long at guard than I do at tackle. He might one day become a really good tackle, but he’s got a long way to go and he’s already a great guard.
  • Lamarr Houston and Willie Young have combined for 11.5 sacks. Teams should always look to add pass rush, but the emergence of those two means the Bears won’t have to spend a lot of money or invest a high draft pick to find a player opposite Pernell McPhee.

This Still Doesn’t Make Sense

If Gould is really as bad as my Twitter timeline suggests, then shouldn’t the coaching staff be getting a lot of heat for how they managed the end of the game?

50-yard kicks are difficult. Game-winning kicks are difficult. Kicking in the rain and wind is difficult. Add all of those factors with a  kicker whose confidence is already shaken and, well, you get what you ask for. I didn’t think for one second that Gould was going to make that kick and I’m on the island of people who still think he’s good.

They had to attempt the kick at that point, but the second and third down plays were horrendous. They didn’t need deep shots, but that’s what they took with only one receiver running a route under 20 yards on both plays. They should have tried to pick up a couple more first downs then taken a shot with as little time remaining as possible. If they had to kick it, make it as easy as possible and make sure the Redskins wouldn’t have had enough time to down and win the game after that. Even if Gould had made the kick, I don’t think the Bears would’ve won because the Redskins had plenty of time to get back down in field goal range.

The end of the game was almost as mismanaged as the end of the first half, when they let 40 seconds wind down despite having all three timeouts. Luckily, Cutler made a couple of great plays to save them before halftime. They were relying on players making great plays again at the end of the game and it didn’t work because they don’t have enough great players to rely on that time after time.

Player of the Week

Cutler was the only player who played well for all four quarters. Hell, he might have been the only player who was just not terrible for all four quarters. While Adam Gase is getting a lot of credit for the work he’s supposedly done, the Bears best plays are still the plays in which Cutler moves around and makes something happen down the field.

Goat of the Week

The middle of the Bears defense remains a major issue. Jordan Reed has had three games in his entire career in which he has finished with 120 or more yards, two have come against the Bears.

It wasn’t just McClellin or Jones or Anderson or Amos, it was all of them. It wasn’t even just Reed who tore them up. It didn’t matter, they all stunk. I still consider Amos a part of the Bears core going forward, but he has hit the rookie wall. I think McClellin will be back next year but I don’t see the point in playing Jones anymore.

Bold Prediction for Week 15

Bears win on a 37-yard field goal by Gould in overtime.

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