Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?
I always like the Chicago Bears.
And they have started the season 2-0 without playing anything resembling a complete game. Maybe we’re seeing what they are offensively, a group incapable of consistency due to the failings of the quarterback. But defensively, they’ve been far more bend-don’t-break than one would expect. Once the pass rush hits stride, that should stop. That begins Sunday.
Thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons
- Hayden Hurst is a problem. And the Bears have not shown a particular ability to contain tight ends, with both Hockenson and Engram delivering solid performances in weeks one and two. (Moving Trevathan from the starting lineup may help sure up this issue.) When Matt Ryan has time in the pocket, he’s looking deep down the left sideline to Ridley or over the top to Jones. But when he senses pressure, Hurst is becoming his most reliable target.
- Takkarist McKinley (#98) is the team’s best edge rusher, and he’ll attempt to bull rush Bobby Massie on most passing downs. But he’s the only reliable factor on their front four. When they need to create pressure, they’ll bring John Cominsky (#50), often as a blitzer from the inside. (He’s listed as a defensive end but he sure doesn’t seem to play there very often.) If the Bears identify those two players and neutralize them, Trubisky will have plenty of time to look down the field.
- The Falcons seem soft in the middle of both their offensive and defensive lines.
- On offense, they rely almost exclusively on their passing game in short yardage. Yes, they’ll occasionally hand one to the fullback to get ten inches but on 3rd and a couple they haven’t been able to get any push up front through two weeks.
- On defense, they’ve been in shootouts so they’re allowing 372 yards per game in the air. But when Dallas needed to get the game back under control, they handed off consistently to Ezekiel Elliot and there were gaping holes for him. Can’t imagine the Bears don’t think they can control this one on the ground.
Three Best “Georgia” Pieces of Art
[Note: I have not seen the show Atlanta. There are too many shows and it takes me years to get to them all. I really don’t think it’s a bad idea for the world to take a three-year sabbatical from making new television programs to allow everybody to catch up.]
(3) Sherman’s Ghosts: Soldiers, Civilians, and the American Way of War.
Matthew Carr’s seminal text analyzes Sherman’s Civil War marches and the concept of “total war”. It also traces the impact of his military strategies through the many American wars which followed over the next century. There are many great works on Sherman. This is by far the most compelling narrative.
(2) Black Man Seated on a Chair (1910). A painting by Lucille Desbouillons Murphy.
A beautiful sketch by a beautiful, relatively-unknown artist. This is a work I have used as inspiration often when working on the musical that’s consumed me for a decade plus. (I won’t get into that but here’s a story.)
(1) The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.
What are the great story songs? Run Joey Run is insane brilliance. Patches is Clarence Carter at his best. Harry Chapin wrote a million of em, including Mr. Tanner and A Better Place to Be. But there ain’t a better one than this.
Worth the Gamble
We lost in Week 2. But man, it looked like it was gonna be an easy hit at halftime. This week I have a hunch.
I’m dropping $50 on the Bears to get to 11 points or more in the first half. This Falcons defense isn’t good. Bears should get to that number in the first quarter. If they don’t, it’s likely a quarterbacking issue.
The “Pressure” Haiku
The win rate is fine.
The pressures are happening.
It is time for sacks.
Tweet of the Week
Hall of Famer Dick Butkus: “Will miss a great friend who helped me become the player I became because after practicing and scrimmaging against Gale I knew I could play against anybody. We lost one of the best Bears ever and more importantly we lost a great person.”
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) September 23, 2020
Forget the Cowboys game. Dallas fumbled in their own territory several times and failed on two ludicrously-timed fake punts. They also decided not to cover, well, anyone. Atlanta’s performance against a good Seattle defense is the better comp and I think that’s about where things will land for them Sunday. Can the Bears match the Seahawks’ offensive production? No. But they don’t need to.
Chicago Bears 26, Atlanta Falcons 23