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The Season Ends. Rapid Fire Recap of Pathetic Bears Loss to Lions.

| December 7th, 2020

Bears blow a game they had no business blowing.

The season is over.

Now what?

[Note: The thoughts below were written in REAL TIME. So as things change, thoughts change. That’s life.]


Quarter One

  • Cordarrelle Patterson’s opening kickoff return told me something: the Lions have not realized that kicking to Patterson is a terrible idea with this offense.
  • Television perfectly frames the sport of football. Why on earth would Fox move the camera off the line of scrimmage?
  • On the second first down of the opening drive, Mitch could have run for 20 yards. But instead throw a ball into Cole Kmet’s crotch. Can we officially stop calling Trubisky a running threat?
  • Would I have gone for it on that first fourth down? Yes. But Matt Nagy is coaching with a different mindset than I would be. Nagy is coaching to make the playoffs this year and field goal is the clear percentage play.
  • The thing I miss most about watching the Bears in a bar is not listening to broadcasters. Did Spielman just refer to Roquan Smith as RAEKWON Smith? Like the rapper?
  • The back-to-back tackles from DHC and Buster Skrine on third and fourth down were exactly the kinds of plays Nagy was looking to see from his defense after Sunday night’s debacle.
  • Bears first TD drive: no third downs faced, ran it down their throats, brilliant David Montgomery drive to finish. Can the Bears play the Lions every week?
  • The pass rush is officially non-existent. Mack is invisible. Quinn continues to be invisible. No lead is safe if you’re completely unable to pressure the quarterback. Stafford did not have to complete a difficult pass on the quarter-closing touchdown drive.
  • A blocked and doinked extra point in one quarter. It’s not surprising that neither of these teams have winning records.
  • Trubisky actually throws the football away on first down, instead of taking a ten-yard sack. But why is he so opposed to getting a few yards with his legs? At this point it is malpractice for him not to use what is his most unique asset.

Bears 9, Lions 6


Quarter Two

  • There is nobody in this Lions secondary that can cover Allen Robinson. He should have 150 yards today.
  • One positive thing about Mitch is he does have a good hard count. And for this offense, the difference between 1st & 5 and 1st & 10, is miles.
  • Cordarrelle walks in for an easy touchdown and makes the game 16-6. This is the best performance by the offensive line and backs all season. And it’s not close.
  • Mack sacks Stafford and Skrine commits an illegal contact, giving Lions life. Just feels like a moment the Bears will rue. (On replay, the call is abysmal.)
  • 3rd & 10, 4:36 remaining in the half: Mitch throws a ball over the middle that should have been intercepted. Slow read, slow delivery, tight window. It is simply a throw he can not attempt in that spot. And it’s those kinds of decision that hold back his development. When it’s not there on 3rd & 10, dump it off to Mooney in the flat and let your playmaker try to make a play.
  • Roquan “Don’t Call me Raekwon” Smith just defended a screen to Kerryon Johnson about as well as a linebacker can. Sniffed it out, the ball got completed, tracked down the back for a two-yard gain. Brilliant, brilliant stuff.
  • Then on 3rd & 13, no pass rush. Zone defense. Easy completion for Stafford. Then a bomb touchdown on the next play. What has happened to this defense? Why is there zero pass rush? How much money has to be poured into that position to make Stafford mildly uncomfortable? On both of those big completions, per Adam Hoge, Mack and Quinn were in one-on-one situations. Nothing.
  • Every time I watch Stafford I think the same thing. Put him on a contender next year and he’s winning playoff games.
  • Anthony Miller performing on the first-half ending drive like he’s expected to perform. Tough catches. Tough runs. If this kid showed up weekly, he’s be a viable second option for this club. But he doesn’t do that.
  • David Montgomery played his best half as a Chicago Bear.
  • With time winding down, Skrine gives Jones the inside leverage for ANOTHER long completion. No, the pressure did not do its job, but with safety help over the top, why are the corners giving this kind of space?
  • The Hail Mary could easily have been caught.

Hard to see a scenario where the Bears don’t hit the 30 mark in the game. So if this game is lost, it falls entirely on one side of the ball: the defense.

Bears 23, Lions 13

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Reflections on Watching the Other Teams Play Football

| November 24th, 2020


(1) Colts came into the week as the league’s top-ranked defense. Chiefs came into the week as the favorite to win the Super Bowl. Both teams allowed 31 points. Both teams won. The above Tweet from Mike Francesa mirrors something Gil Brandt Tweeted not so long ago and something I’ve been harping on this season. The days of building a team around the defense are over. You have to build a team that can score seven points with a minute remaining. Explosive players. Speed. Oh and someone who can accurately throw the football to explosive players with speed.

Monday Night Football’s game between two top 5 defenses should have cemented this idea.


(2) Just marvel at what the Steelers have done. This was a team defined by running the ball and playing defense for fifty years. They still do the latter well, drafting consistently good players on that side of the ball. But they saw how the league was changing and completely shifted their offensive philosophy. And year-after-year they’ve added more weapons, and more speed on the outside. Smith-Schuster. Washington. Diontae. Ray-Ray. Claypool. They’ve adapted to the modern game. And they have the quarterback.


(3) Carson Wentz is broken. His mechanics have gotten shaky. His internal clock is way off. Sometimes he rushes throws because of phantom pressure. Sometimes he holds onto the ball for an eternity. Is it fixable? Probably. But one has to believe Doug Pederson is considering more than just a Jalen Hurts package. Can Hurts possibly be worse than this?


(4) Everyone needs to stop with their anti-NFC East nonsense. We have divisions. You win the division, you get into the tournament. That’s the sport. And for those who don’t know, the NFC East carried the league’s ratings water for about twenty years. This was the best division in the sport for a long, long time. They’re having a down year. But I’m going to seriously enjoy watching this play out. (And I think it may be decided on the field, Week 17, when the Giants and Cowboys meet.)


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Week Ten: Lions at Bears Actual Football Game Preview

| November 7th, 2019


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And now that the whole of their fan base has seemingly given up on them, you can see them winning.


Three Things About the Lions

  • Detroit allows north of 135 yards per game on the ground, as last year’s mid-season acquisition of Snacks Harrison has turned into a bit of a dud for Matt Patricia and the boys. With the Bears desperate to get back into the win column, I’d be surprised if David Montgomery doesn’t find himself carrying the ball 20+ times Sunday.
  • From my buddy and frequent podcast guest Dave Birkett of the Free-Press:

The Lions, by any metric, have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. They rank 31st in total defense, 30th against the pass, 27th in points allowed and 27th against the run. Their takeaway luck has dried up; on Sunday, they didn’t force a punt for the first three quarters.

I don’t know what the answer is to fixing the Lions’ defensive woes, and I doubt it can be now, with no means to acquire effective talent until the spring. They need more pass rush, they need to tackle better, they need their best safety (or two) back on the field, and they need to play with the urgency they showed early in Sunday’s fourth quarter…Part of me thinks we were duped by their strong defensive play down the stretch last season.

  • The Lions, by just about every statistical analysis, are one of the most dynamic and diverse passing attacks in the league. (Stafford may be having his best season.) With their talent outside and at the TE position, it all comes down to the Bears pass rush this week. If it plays the way it has the last few weeks the Lions are going to move the ball through the air with ease. This is the week Khalil Mack breaks out. (It better be.)

Tweet of the Week

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Week 10: Lions at Bears Game Preview

| November 8th, 2018

Detroit has for years been a difficult team to root against. They’ve sort of been lovable losers. But then…they hired…this prick.


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and it’s time for this team to play like they are top of the NFC North table. That means burying the Lions at home. Thanksgiving, in their building, is always a difficult game. This is at Soldier Field, with Detroit coming off two miserable performances. Good teams don’t lose this game. Hell, mediocre teams don’t lose this game either.


The Game Sonnet

In football exists a team called ‘da Bears

Who play beside the greatest of great lakes

Those who do not love them are hapless squares

Mindless joy killers in sea of flakes

Their quarterback is a vigorous stag

Born in an Ohio town called Mentor

He’s more than half human and no part nag

But he plays with the zeal of a centaur

Cometh the Lions to challenge these Bears

Their ill-bearded, unkempt leader in tow

Sweet, sweet victory will never be theirs

One must wonder how it is they don’t know

Oh! To be a fan of the pride and joy

Serving with grace the folk of Illinois


Why the Bears Will Win…

  • When Dave Birkett of the Free-Press can write a paragraph like this, you know things are not going well: “Of the Vikings’ 10 sacks Sunday, I’d attribute five of them to poor play on the offensive line. Two of the remaining five sacks were coverage sacks, an eighth was due to a mix-up by a Lions wide receiver, the ninth came on a cornerback blitz when Matthew Stafford or someone on the offensive line didn’t set the protection right, and the last sack was a result of Stafford simply not pulling the trigger when he had someone who appeared to be open downfield.” (Read the whole piece, breaking down each sack, by CLICKING HERE.) Needless to say, if there was a game ripe for Khalil Mack’s return, this is it. And Mack…is back.

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Week 15: Bears at Lions Game Preview

| December 14th, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. And yes, they may have fooled me last week. Again.


Poem

once more unto the breach, dear friends, he wrote

and so i do commit myself to battle

many know not to trust these capricious lads

many, like i, are merely cattle

so unto the breach i go, once more

believing, yes always believing

and surely you know, come saturday night

i shall, once again, be grieving


Five Thoughts on The Actual Game

  • Don’t look now but Jordan Howard is only 73 yards behind Le’Veon Bell in the race for the NFL rushing title. In their first meeting this season, Howard put 125 yards on the board and the Lions defense has actually gotten worse at stopping the run since. Just last week they allowed the Bucs, one of the league’s worst running teams, to average nearly 5 yards a carry. Could be a big Saturday afternoon for the unheralded Bears superstar.

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Data Responds: Lions at Bears

| November 19th, 2017

Chicago’s offense had their best game of the year, but their defense played possibly their worst game of the year. All in all, that evened out, but the Bears ended up falling to 3-7 because their kicker is terrible.

Offense

  • Now that’s more like it. The offense was finally run like an NFL offense, mixing things up and keeping the defense off its feet, and unsurprisingly it led to good things happening. Chicago stayed run-heavy in the game, but mixed up how they were running instead of making it so predictable, and thus the run game really took off. As a result, the offense scored more than 17 points in regulation for the 1st time all year.
  • This also helped the passing game open up a bit as well, since the Bears didn’t routinely end up in 3rd and long. This was a nice change from how their offense has functioned most of the year.
  • Another nice wrinkle we saw on offense was a number of read-option looks for quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. He kept it several times (though there was at least one more where he should have) and made Detroit’s defense pay for crashing down on the running backs.
  • After ignoring Tarik Cohen on offense for several weeks, the Bears made a point of getting him involved early and often. He had 8 carries and 3 pass targets in the 1st half alone after getting 8 total touches in the previous 3 games.
  • Another nice wrinkle was lining Jordan Howard up as a fullback, with Tarik Cohen at tailback. This set Howard up with a few nice runs as he could spring through the line quickly and the linebackers had to worry about Cohen.

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Week 11: Lions at Bears Game Preview

| November 16th, 2017

He’s not quite a lion. But he is Bear the Cat. And on this album cover he represents how I feel about this Bears team right now.


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. And they can’t play as badly as last week, right?


An Original Limerick

I once bet a horse called Fox

Who slowly came out of the blocks

He’d pick up some speed

And get near the lead

But leave me with only my socks


Three Reasons The Bears Win

This section is now an exercise in futility since the Bears have shown little interest in studying their opponents and attacking their weaknesses.

  • Detroit Can’t Run the Ball. Only Miami, Arizona and Cincinnati get less on the ground weekly and those are three terrible offensive teams. The Bears defense looked bad a week ago but the primary reason is they were pushed around at the point of attack by Green Bay and delivered their worst performance against the run all season. Shouldn’t be an issue this week.
  • The Trubisky Development Train Keeps a’ Rollin. While the film of the 2017 season was taken over by director Lars von Trier Sunday, the future was not so bleak. Mitch Trubisky had his most prolific day throwing the football and Detroit’s secondary can be beaten through the air. (The Lions were the first secondary to make DeShone Kizer look like a professional quarterback.) Seeing Adam Shaheen and Dontrelle Inman develop a rapport with the young signal-caller, even with limited opportunities, should lead to some productive performances down the stretch and those performances should start Sunday at home.

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Across The Middle — Week 14

| December 7th, 2016

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The Bears have a 26-year-old quarterback who is playing well but it shouldn’t change any of their offseason plans.

I’ve been as impressed with Matt Barkley as anyone but if the Bears like a quarterback enough to take him in the top five — thus grading him as a franchise quarterback — they shouldn’t let Barkley change their plans.

After seeing Barkley continually complete passes deep down the field to the likes of Deonte Thompson, Cam Meredith and Josh Bellamy in a blizzard, I won’t rule anything out for these last four games. He could very well be the latest star quarterback who was just waiting for his shot. And if he is, he’ll keep his job. If he isn’t, the Bears should have another talented young quarterback waiting in the wings.

The Bears passed on Aaron Rodgers and didn’t try to sign Drew Brees as a free agent because they had Rex Grossman.  They passed on Russell Wilson and Derek Carr because they had Jay Cutler. You can bet the Chargers don’t regret taking Eli Manning — who was later traded for Phillip Rivers — instead of Sean Taylor, Kellen Winslow or Roy Williams solely because they had Drew Brees in 2004. There’s a reason the winningest franchise of this era keeps taking quarterbacks high, even though they have Tom Brady.

If Ryan Pace is on the clock this April with a quarterback who he has graded as a franchise quarterback, he simply has to take him. If Barkley ends up being a star, that’s just a bonus.

The Disconnect

Maybe I’m reading too much into some pretty basic comments but it seems there is a disconnect between the coaching staff and the front office.

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FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Bears Finish Season at Home Against Detroit

| January 1st, 2016

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Sell Chicago Bears Tickets

WHY DO I LIKE THE CHICAGO BEARS THIS WEEK?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

GAME POEM

And so the Bears lie their head
Upon the season’s unmade bed

With drool of last night’s revelry
saturating sheets
Fans across Chicago serve up optimistic Tweets

We dare to dream of better days!
(Though dreaming bares the soul)
For glory’s the result of dreams!
(And glory is the goal)

Sleep, dear Bears.
Sleep well.
And rest each coming day.
Remember, Bears
Another year
Is just nine months away.

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