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Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| November 24th, 2015

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• How many Bears players would start for Denver? Three? Four? Five, at most. Jay Cutler, Kyle Long, Marty Bennett and maybe Adrian Amos. Pernell McPhee could when he’s healthy, but he was a shell of himself yesterday. And, really, that’s it. But they could’ve won the game because they have a coach who wouldn’t let them quit and a quarterback who just kept coming after them.

• The anti-Cutler crowd didn’t waste any time, deeming him a failure again. Of course, they’re crazy. Cutler was great. How many times did he move around and find someone down field? That was their entire offense. Their quarterback had to make something out of nothing every time he dropped back. And it nearly worked against the best defense in the league. The same defense that held Aaron Rodgers to 77 yards passing. Cutler was the best player on the field.

• The Bears lack of team speed, especially on defense, is a killer. From what I hear, it’s going to be a good draft for inside linebackers and the Bears need one with speed in the worst way. Even their “good” linebacker, Shea McClellin, can’t be relied on because he can’t stay healthy.

• I don’t understand why Will Sutton played 27 more snaps than Bruce Gaston.

• Jeremy Langford just doesn’t break tackles, which makes him ineffective against good defenses. The Bears have to find ways to get him the ball because of his ability to score on any play, but if the defense wins up front and gets to him, the first guy almost always takes him down. He needs to get stronger — and he will — but the Bears are better with Matt Forte in the backfield.

• The storyline about how awful Jay Cutler is against the Packers has always been flawed, but that’s especially true lately. He was good in their Week 1 game. The interception was more of a great play by Clay Matthews than anything else. Going back to last season, he didn’t have a shot to do anything in their second game and was very good in their first game. People forget Alshon Jeffery dropped a touchdown and Marty Bennett had another that wasn’t called a touchdown, even though it clearly was. That would’ve given him four touchdowns before halftime of that game and neither of the second half interceptions were on him. The only time he saw the Packers in 2013, he was the best quarterback in the game by a wide margin.

• I kind of get the feeling the Bears are running into a buzz saw on Thanksgiving. The Packers seemed to have fixed whatever ailed them and their defense is really getting after it right now.

This Still Doesn’t Make Sense

Why call a jump ball to Martellus Bennett in the end zone on what was the biggest drive of the game? Bennett is a fine player, but he’s almost strictly a body catcher. When a defender is playing Bennett tight, he doesn’t catch the ball. In fact, there’s a decent chance he won’t even go after it and it’ll be intercepted. So, why did Adam Gase decide to throw Bennett’s way on second-and-goal, down eight?

Predictably, Bennett misplayed the ball — going up instead of cutting in — and it was nearly intercepted. Wilson then dropped a possible touchdown pass and the fourth down call left them with no options. Adam Gase is bad in the red zone. But I keep hearing how great he is and how teams are going to beg for him to be their head coach next year.

Player of the Week

Tracy Porter. Matched up with one of the premier receivers in the game, Porter did not allow Demaryius Thomas to catch a pass on him. My fear going into the game was that Thomas would destroy the Bears. He had a touchdown, but that was a busted coverage — looked to me like one of the linebackers was supposed to be there in zone coverage — followed by a missed tackle. Osweiler was only able to throw to Thomas twice with Porter on him and both were incomplete. Although probably not a player the Bears should rely on in the future, Porter has been a pleasant surprise this year.

Goat of the Week

Marquess Wilson cost the Bears anywhere from seven to 11 points by simply not doing his job.

Late in the third quarter on third-and-eight, Cutler looked his way deep in man coverage and Wilson inexplicably chose to play behind Harris and try to make a catch over him instead of going in front of him for what would’ve been a relatively easy catch and likely a touchdown. Robbie Gould then made a 37-yard field goal.

On the Bears next possession, on third-and-goal from the four, Wilson let a pass go right through his hands. The Bears then went for it on fourth down and the rest is history.

The Bears went into this season thinking Wilson could develop into a good second receiver, but he has now dropped touchdown passes in consecutive weeks,  struggles to get open and doesn’t provide anything as a blocker downfield.  Add in the fact that he doesn’t play special teams and it’s hard to see how he figures into their future over players like Josh Bellamy and Cameron Meredith.

Bold Prediction for Week 12

A Pernell McPhee sack knocks Aaron Rodgers out of the game in the second quarter and, instead of going to backup Scott Tolzien, the Packers turn to Brett Favre. Playing the second half in wranglers, Favre throws seven interceptions in the second half in a 60-12 Bears win.

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