They were so close to being great. Adam Gase almost called a perfect game. Jay Cutler almost played one. Almost. But they weren’t and that was the difference.
In a game in which they ran the ball at will, the Bears had a second-and-goal at the two-yard line and did not run the ball once. Three incomplete passes, the third coming on fourth down when a blitzed came in free and the Bears gave the ball back to Green Bay.
They had one more good chance. Jay made a couple great throws on the drive. Then he made the one that everyone is going to talk about. In reality, it was more of a great defensive play than it was a bad decision. But nobody wants to hear that. Nobody wants to give him an excuse. It’s a play he has to make. He knows it.
Outside of that series, Gase was staying one step ahead of Dom Capers. We kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it didn’t. Until then.
#Bears WR Alshon Jeffery: “Jay (Cutler) played his ass off.”
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) September 13, 2015
Outside of that throw, Cutler was Rodgers’ equal. Rodgers had some great catches made by his receivers and significantly better protection. Outside of that, Jay matched him good throw for good throw and bad throw for bad throw.
Gase is still an unknown, but Cutler usually makes big throws at big times. That isn’t a concern. The defense and special teams, however, did not submit acceptable performances.
On what proved to be the most crucial drive of the game, the Bears gave up a first down on a third-and-eight play and then 10 yards on a third-and-11 play (Green Bay converted the next play). Both were on throws well short of the sticks, but the Bears defensive backs didn’t make a play on Randall Cobb on either.
The Bears secondary might be even worse than we feared. Alan Ball had good coverage on some of the plays, but apparently doesn’t have any ball skills. I’m not sure Kyle Fuller is capable of playing cornerback in the NFL.
It wasn’t all on the secondary. Their pass rush is supposed to be good, but they didn’t tough Rodgers.
The special teams allowed two 40-yard kick returns. Something that can’t happen against an offense of that caliber.
There are no moral victories in the NFL. But this game was fun to watch. The Bears were competitive. When they screwed up, they were pissed. No one was more animated than their coach.
This team might not be good, but if they continue to submit performances like this one, they will be likable. That’s half the battle.