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No Ugly Victories: Bears Beat Jets, Re-Take First Place in the NFC North

| October 29th, 2018

Very strange game. The Jets didn’t have anywhere near the weapons to move the ball consistently. The Bears were just error-prone enough to keep the game competitive for three quarters. But it’s a win they absolutely needed. And unlike many recent vintages of the Chicago Bears, they got it. Rapid fire…


  • Conditions were brutal for the passing game. But the Bears made the plays they needed to make. The Cohen screen set the tone for the entire afternoon but Trubisky’s brilliant throw and Miller’s brilliant catch put this game away. It was so good, I’m going to show it to you again.

  • In conditions like this, Matt Nagy has to rely upon his ground attack and he seemed to figure that out as the game went on. But Trubisky also has to learn that the deep shots aren’t worth it when the wind is howling north of 25 MPH. When the first down is there, just get it, whether that means him tucking-and-running or accepting the check down option. That’ll come with experience.
  • Folks can complain about Trubisky all they want, but through seven games Mitch is completing 64.6% of his passes for 1,814 yards, 15 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and a rating of 97.8. He’s also got nearly 300 yards rushing. This kind of production, and this position, simply doesn’t happen in this town. And it’s about time fans start appreciating it.
  • Great, great job by the fans at Soldier Field. All of those pre-snap penalties go into the fan column.
  • Jordan Howard is not complicated. You give him 20+ carries, you get big time production. No, they numbers weren’t gaudy but he single-handedly put this game on ice in the fourth quarter. He’s not been a focal point of this offense so far. He should be.
  • Khalil Mack was the most dominant defender in football through four games. And now we’re seeing what this defense would have looked like if Ryan Pace didn’t make the franchise-altering trade on September 1st. They’re a toothless pass rush. Leonard Floyd is invisible. Opponents can double Hicks inside. Without Mack, this secondary is going to be under a lot of pressure when instead of Sam Darnold it’s Aaron Rodgers or Kirk Cousins or Matt Stafford taking the snaps for the other side.

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Week 8: East Rutherford, New Jersey Jets at Chicago, Illinois Bears Game Preview

| October 26th, 2018

Chicago, IL – December 26, 2010. Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and this is the first must-win of the 2018 campaign. If the Bears are going to mount a serious challenge for the NFC North they have to be 5-3 after eight games. That record will more than likely give them the division lead at the halfway point with five division games remaining.


The Game Haiku

From Ed, the chants come.

J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!

Silence, ladderman!


The Asshole From the Haiku


Why the Bears Will Win!

  • Prolific Bears Offense.
    • Chicago has scored 48-28-31 in their last three.
    • Jets defense has allowed 30+ in three of their last four games, and are bottom third against the run, pass, overall and in turnover differential.
    • This is a game that should allow Matt Nagy, Mitch Trubisky and the entirety of the offense to flourish. Especially at home.
  • Sam Darnold vs. Bears Secondary.
    • The Jets are decimated by injury at wide receiver, with Robby Anderson being their only viable outlet on the outside.
    • This week they signed Rishard Matthews after needlessly cutting Terrelle Pryor a week ago. When you’re trying to find contributors on the waiver wire after Week 7, things aren’t where you want them to be.
    • The Jets drop a million passes, often into the hands of defensive backs.
    • Darnold leads the league in interceptions with ten. Kyle Fuller is tied for the league lead with three interceptions.
  • Bears NEED the Game. It is only their seventh game of the season but all one has to do is listen to comments from coaches and players to realize they feel a sense of urgency right now. Matt Nagy said the Bears are “in a valley” and need to get out. Roquan Smith and Mitch Trubisky – the young leadership of this team – wouldn’t accept “close” a week ago and both stated unequivocally it is time to get a win. The Bears are a touchdown favorite at home to a rookie quarterback. Good teams don’t lose in that scenario.
  • Text From My Brother: “If the Bears throw it to back in the flat or the tight end over the middle, we can’t cover it.” Yea, I think the Bears can do these two things.

Why They Won’t

  • Bears Rush Defense. Both New England and Miami got every yard they needed on the ground, with the Dolphins flat out dominating the line of scrimmage and pounding Frank Gore into the second and third levels. The Jets are one of the rare run-first teams left in the league. Everything they do offensively flows from the two-headed monster of Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell. With Powell on IR one would expect rookie Trenton Cannon to play a larger role at Soldier Field. The Bears can’t let the Jets keep the game in second/third-and-short.
  • Todd Bowles Loves to Blitz. It’s how he made a name for himself as a defensive coordinator, matching Bruce Arians’ offensive aggressiveness on the defensive side. Bowles will want to send pressure at Trubisky from every direction and try to force the young QB into mistakes. Bears will need outlets ready. (They don’t need to look much further than last week’s tape to see how Flip/Cousins handled this.)
  • Special Teams. The three best return men in football will now be facing the Bears in three consecutive weeks and the Jets’ Andre Roberts is a top five kick and punt returner. The Bears allowed the Pats to score on specials; a cardinal sin. But with the Jets, they can’t allow Roberts to flip field position. Make the Jets play on long fields and the Bears will find themselves on short ones.

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Money Where My Mouth Is: Three Picks for Week Ten

| November 12th, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 3.01.04 PM

Rumor is I made a few picks last week. I have no recollection of this but it has been brought to my attention by several associates. (I was not disappointed in the Rams pick. That game could have gone either way. But I just didn’t think the Packers would lose back-to-back games or that the Bears defense could hold the Charger offense to 12 points.) This week, a rebound…and a theme! Road dogs!

BUFFALO BILLS +3 AT NEW YORK JETS

Here’s why I like the Bills to win outright tonight:

  • When Buffalo’s had their starting quarterback and star wide receiver, they’ve been a different team. Both will be looking to make their 2015 statement in front of a national audience tonight and thrust their team into the playoff race.
  • Jets defense has hit a wall. The Patriots got them for 30, the Raiders got them for 34 and last week the Jags offense managed 23 and – most importantly – kept the game close throughout.
  • I know the coaching staffs are entirely different (including a swap) but the combined score of the Bills/Jets games in 2014 were 81-26.

CHICAGO BEARS +7 AT ST. LOUIS RAMS

St. Louis will be in the 20s. The Bears should be in the 20s. Points just seem too many for a team quarterbacked by Nick Foles.

DETROIT LIONS +11 AT GREEN BAY PACKERS

This has all the makings of a back door cover, especially against a defense that just allowed the Broncos and Panthers – two struggling offenses – 29 and 37 respectively. I’ll take the points.

Season Record: 13-12-2

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Brandon Marshall Traded to Jets

| March 6th, 2015

the-purge-poster

This move has nothing to do with football or money. The new Bears leadership doesn’t want Brandon Marshall in their locker room in 2015.  This is a personality purge – the type Emery and Trestman should have executed on the defensive Lovie Loyalists a few years back. Does it mean anything for Jay Cutler’s future? Who knows? Does it make the Bears a better team? Who knows? The Bears lost one hell of a productive wide receiver, sure. But where did that production get them exactly? And was his behavior – the details of which we still don’t know – worth the production? Clearly Ryan Pace and John Fox did not believe so.

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No Such Thing as Style Points: Rapid Fire Recap of the Bears 27-19 Win Over the Jets

| September 23rd, 2014

David+Nelson+Kyle+Fuller+Chicago+Bears+v+New+q8bJO-ri047l

This was an ugly win of an ugly game for the Chicago Bears. But I have news for you. Every team that goes into the Meadowlands to play the Jets is due for an ugly contest. The Jets have the best young defensive line in the NFL. They have a coach who is a mastermind at blitz schemes. They want ugly. They thrive on ugly.

Here are my thoughts on the Bears.

  • Did Mike Tirico have the “Mundy Night Football” call ready to go? If so he just out-Nantzed everything Jim Nantz has ever spewed at the end of the golf tournament. (And why would he have that call ready?)
  • Did Jay Cutler play a great game? No. But he was brilliant at times and if he doesn’t miss a few throws high the night would have looked much better. His first touchdown pass to Martellus Bennett showed a wonderful presence in the pocket and trademark arm strength. But his drive at the start of the second half was a thing of beauty and ultimately won the game for the Bears.
  • Last night with a hobbled Brandon Marshall, a useless run game and an over-matched offensive line, he was cool. He was a leader. And as he sits with 750 yards and an 8-2 TD-INT, he is starting to make the MVP talk seem less silly.
  • Was that Jared Allen starting his Bears career in the fourth quarter? Sure looked like it. He was manhandled by Brick Ferguson for the first three.
  • Through three games, Mel Tucker’s defense has not allowed a touchdown in the second half. They have allowed only 12 points. No opponent has scored more than 20 points. He is having a solid year as defensive coordinator thus far.

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Overconfidence, Opportunity & Oh Shea: Three Final Thoughts for Monday Night Football

| September 22nd, 2014

taylor-ham1

Thought One – Overconfidence

I can’t recall a Bears game wherein the Bears were underdogs and an overwhelming number of Bears fans were predicting a blowout victory. Perhaps the expectations of 2014 have gotten the best of you? On face value the Bears would have no reason to blow out the Jets because the Jets do the two things that prevent blowouts: run the ball and stop the run. If the Bears win tonight I expect it to be a tough chore.

Thought Two – Opportunity

The Bears have a brilliant opportunity to seize control of the NFC North – almost unfathomable ten days ago.

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Bears at Jets Game Preview Addendum

| September 19th, 2014

ON THE JETS RUN GAME…

  • 179 yards a game thus far, admittedly against two fairly poor defenses. Only Houston has run the ball more and only five teams are averaging more yards per carry. Especially considering the shaky health of Eric Decker, I’d think Rex Ryan would not be disappointed with a forty carry night.
  • Give you a stat to keep an eye on. If the Bears limit the Jets to less than five yards a carry, the game is over by the fourth quarter.

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Chicago Bears at New York Jets Game Preview

| September 18th, 2014

Jonathan Hughes is a die hard New York Jets fan. On Sunday, as the Jets sprinted ahead of the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, I sent him a text message.

Jeff: J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!

Jon: Best start in ten years. Both sides of ball.

I haven’t spoken to Jon since.

Now the Bears travel to the New Jersey swamplands, in the shadows of my hometown, smells that define my childhood, air pollution that will inevitably land me at Sloan Kettering.

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

WHY ELSE?

  • Jets may field their worst collection of corners in recent memory. Antonio Allen vs. Alshon Jeffery? Self-proclaimed great corner but actually terrible player Dee Milliner vs. Brandon Marshall? Hell, Darrin Walls or Kyle Wilson will struggle with a motivated Santonio Holmes. (Not to mention Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte will be a nightmare for the Jets in the passing game.) Once the Packers realized the Jets had no chance to cover their wide receivers they went on the attack and were borderline unstoppable. If I’m the Bears my approach from the onset is getting the ball in the hands of the weapons on the outside and forcing the Jets corners to make plays.
  • Jets will approach this game by believing they can run the football right up the gut of the Bears defense – especially if Jeremiah Ratliff is inactive with a concussion –  and they’ll give that game plan ample time. Chris Johnson was their high profile acquisition this off-season but Chris Ivory has been the far more productive back and I expect them to test Jon Bostic’s gap discipline all night long. Bears had a few breaks Sunday night, causing their run defense to look better than it actually was.
  • Rex Ryan is considered by many to be the most dynamic blitz schemer in the NFL and I don’t have the time or wherewithal to dispute that opinion. You know they’re coming. And you know they’re coming from every direction. But when Ryan blitzes he often either (a) leaves his corners on an island or (b) puts his safeties (Dawan Landry, Calvin Pryor) in the uncomfortable position of either defending over the top or covering tight ends they have business being matched up against. When Ryan’s group doesn’t hit Cutler, Cutler will rip them to shreds.

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