The Game Poem
I entered this NFL season
Abounding with patience and reason
A week in the books
Da Bears dug in their hooks
I hope they weren’t only teasin’
A Not-So-Quick Thought
Sunday is a playoff game for the Chicago Bears – figuratively speaking.
The Bears, whether they want to admit moral victory or not, gave many of their fans hope for a 2015 campaign that began with the tiniest expectations in more than a decade. They had every opportunity to beat one of the best teams in the league. So why is a contest with the Cardinals in week two a “playoff” game?
- The NFC is not particularly deep and the Cardinals will be a team in the mix for one of the six spots in the tournament. If the Bears pulled off a win Sunday, who is going to argue they can’t be playing meaningful games in the month of December?
- Fans were pleasantly surprised Sunday but remain skeptical. If the Bears improve off Sunday’s performance you could see expectations rise around the city of Chicago very quickly. Fans want to believe. Will the Bears give them that opportunity?
- The Bears are not going to win in Seattle in Week Three. And they are not recovering from an 0-3 start.
Sean Payton on the Cardinals Defense
On if they had to take what was given to them on offense:
“One of the things we saw others have success with a year ago was misdirection. It is a pressure defense, they do a good job of getting after the quarterback. We had a few of those different plays in for this plan. We had some opportunities though. (Zach) Hocker did a great job. You hate to be kicking four field goals, and as that game was unfolding, he did a very good job.”
On if he felt that the Cardinals were susceptible to running screens:
“We felt like we couldn’t sit back there and allow that pass rush to rush five and pressure the QB. We needed something to counter that a bit.”
Expect quick throws and lots of Forte in the passing attack.
Irish Video of the Week
One of the greatest songs ever written.
(Okay, maybe it will be recurring.)
Carson Palmer Moves…Not at All
The Bears pass rush was non-existent a week ago against the Green Bay Packers and if they no-show Sunday Carson Palmer will tear their secondary apart. He has plenty of weapons and those weapons have plenty of speed. The Bears front needs to collapse his pocket and collect trouble at his feet.
Three Bears of Intrigue
- Pernell McPhee remains the top item on this list until further notice. Vic Fangio should not need to manufacture a pass rush when the team is paying McPhee the fortune they are paying him. Carson Palmer is the least elusive quarterback in the league not named Peyton Manning. McPhee needs to hit him. Often.
- New Orleans moved the ball at will against the Cardinals defense (on the road) but stumbled in the red zone. Why? Because the Saints exiled arguably the best red zone target in the sport, Jimmy Graham, to Seattle. Adam Gase and Jay Cutler need to isolate the talented Cards secondary on their receivers and then attack the middle of the field with Martellus Bennett.
- Someone has to cover Larry Fitzgerald and I’d be surprised if the Bears didn’t give the responsibility almost exclusively to Kyle Fuller. Fitz is going to get his catches. Fuller has to limit the damage afterwards.
Watch Out for Darren Fells
Palmer went to Fells in big situations throughout their game with the Saints and the Bears don’t necessarily have a player capable of covering an athletic tight end on this defense. Might this be the first time we see how Shea McClellin or Christian Jones handle coverage assignments? Might it be time for Adrian Amos to show up on the game tape? Fells is the wild card in this Cardinals attack.
Take a look at his 2014 season as compared to his first game of 2015.
ARIANS ON CUTLER
From a piece at ESPN.com:
“I met a guy that was very passionate about the game, wanted to win and was willing to do whatever it took to win,” Arians said. “I always felt he might be the most misunderstood quarterback in the league.”
Arians understands some of his struggles better than most, having been a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator. Cutler is on his fifth offensive coordinator in seven seasons with Chicago.
“It’s hard,” Arians said. “It’s a lot easier when you stay in the same system your whole career, but when you go through three or four in four or five years, it’s extremely hard on you. He’s a very bright guy. It’s a matter of learning the language, all the little scenarios of hots and blitzes and those things, especially if you are changing personnel, which he has had to do.”
Phil Emery is still the Bears GM if he hires Bruce Arians.
Bears continue their commitment to run and controlled passing game, keep game close and win on a late Robbie Gould field goal from 47 yards out.
Chicago Bears 27, Arizona Cardinals 24