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Bears Hold On, Beat Panthers, Move to 5-1: Rapid Fire

| October 19th, 2020

The Bears are 5-1. They have played six games and won five of them. They are still not very good in almost every facet of offensive football but that doesn’t matter yet. 5. And. 1.


First Half

Score: 13-6 Bears.

  • Let’s call it The Drive 2: Just Worse. After the Bears picked off Teddy Bridgewater on the opening Carolina drive, this happened:
    • Slow flat toss to Jimmy Graham for minimal gain.
    • Run that didn’t work
    • Graham off the field, clock winds down, timeout needed.
    • Graham back on the field, clock winds down, delay of game.
    • Graham back off the field, Foles threads a beauty to Cole Kmet for a touchdown.
  • For all the talk of Kmet’s lack of production, I’ve continued to make the same argument. If the Bears wanted to involve Kmet, they could. That’s how TE’s function in this offense. Today they seem to have chosen to involve him.
  • DJ Moore on the crossing routes. Think you might have read about this in this space last week. Jaylon Johnson – and most other corners – can’t track that speed across the field. Johnson should have given up a touchdown to end the first half.
  • Kyle Fuller is good for one borderline personal foul hit a game. But what was he supposed to do on the hit to Kirkwood? Kirkwood lowered HIS head. If Fuller supposed to go after his legs? Is that what the league wants?
  • Bilal Nichols had a lovely first half, specifically the first few drives.
  • Ted Ginn looks like a disaster waiting to happen on punt returns.
  • Anthony Miller not getting the first down on 3rd and 3 is inexcusable. How can you not be aware of the game situation, especially on an offense that struggles like this one does.
  • Fuller’s tackle on Bridgewater to prevent the touchdown run is one of those great plays that gets forgotten by game’s end. I’ll make sure this one doesn’t.
  • There’s not an entirely different feeling with Nick Foles in at quarterback. Confidence. Foles knows what he’s doing. He’s limited. He knows that. But he gets the football where it need to go.
  • Did a Bears kicker just make a 55-yarder? Santos. You stay.
  • On defense, Bears have struggled with containing the outside run game and keeping Bridgewater from moving the chains with his legs. On offense, Bears don’t look like they can run it at all. If those are not corrected, this game will stay close.

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Day Game Viewing Guide From Bears Perspective

| December 9th, 2018

The most important games of the week for the Chicago Bears will be played tonight (Bears v Rams) and tomorrow night (Vikings v Seahawks). But there’s still much to keep an eye on before we hit the primetime slate.

Who should the Bears fan root for?


Browns over Panthers

Another Panthers loss would basically clear them from the wildcard fray.


Cowboys over Eagles

There’s an argument to be made for rooting against Dallas. But that’s a seeding argument. Seeding schmeeding. Fans should just want the Bears playing in January.


Giants over Redskins

This is the least important because Mark Sanchez ain’t making a run.

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Thoughts on the NFC Playoff Picture With Four Games Remaining

| December 5th, 2018


It’s been a long time. A long, long time. In 2013 the Bears had a chance to make the playoffs over the final month but they were 6-6 at this stage and a definitive mediocrity.  Per Football Outsiders, the Bears have an 85.1% chance to win the NFC North and a 96.3% chance of making the postseason. This is the kind of piece I’ve wanted to write for a long, long, long time.


NFC NORTH

Where Things Stand

Bears (8-4) are home to the Rams and Packers, followed by at Niners and Vikings.

Vikings (6-5-1) are at Seahawks, home to the Dolphins, at Lions, home to the Bears.

Notes

  • Any analysis of the remaining schedule has to begin with a basic fact: the Vikings haven’t been good. To expect them now to win their final four games is a bit of a stretch. But their contest in Seattle Monday night will set the tone for the rest of their season. It’s not a “must win” when it comes to making the postseason but it may be when it comes to challenging for the NFC North, especially if the Bears beat the Rams Sunday night.
  • Bears are 5-1 at home and their five wins have been by 7, 38, 14, 12 and 5. They have been great at Soldier Field. If they finish the season 6-2 at home, splitting their next two games, they’ll only need a win in San Francisco to host a playoff game in January.

WILDCARD

Where Things Stand

*Note: If the Bears are competing for a wildcard spot, one must assume the Vikings have won the NFC North. So we can leave them out of this equation.*

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Wildcard Weekend Game Predictions

| January 4th, 2018

There are 11 playoff games. My best record against the spread was 7-4 in 2014. This year I will take that record to the woodshed.


Tennessee at Kansas City

Saturday – 3:20 pm CT 

Pick: Chiefs -9.

For some reason I’ve been watching a bunch of Titans games lately, mostly to look at Mariota, and something is very clear: the Titans are terrible. Kansas City was 6-2 at home this season and are quietly coming into the postseason on a four-game winning streak. (The Matt Nagy bump?) This profiles as the weekend’s only blowout. Lay the points! 37-16 Chiefs.


Atlanta at Los Angeles

Saturday – 7:15 pm CT

Pick: Atlanta +6.5.

I don’t know why I think this but I think there’s a big effort somewhere in this Falcons team. I’m not sure they can win this game on the road because they don’t have a consistent bone in their collective bodies but I still need Jared Goff to win a playoff game before I can get fully on the Ramwagon. 27-21 Rams.


Buffalo at Jacksonville

Sunday – 12:05 pm CT

Pick: Bills +9.

I’m just banking on this game being unwatchably low-scoring. 16-9 Jags.


Carolina at New Orleans

Sunday – 3:40 pm CT

Pick: Saints -7.

These teams played twice this season. Saints won both. Total score: 65-34. If this game were in Carolina I think a Panthers upset would be in-play but I’m having a hard time seeing it in the dome. I’ll be rooting for Chico and the boys but that egg they laid in Week 17 against the Falcons is tough to shake from my mind. 30-17 Saints.

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Bears Win One of the Strangest Games Ever Played & a Championship Defense Emerged

| October 23rd, 2017

Here’s how Roger Ebert opened his review of Joe Versus the Volcano, the brilliantly odd 1990 film from John Shanley:

Gradually during the opening scenes of “Joe Versus the Volcano,” my heart began to quicken, until finally I realized a wondrous thing: I had not seen this movie before. Most movies, I have seen before. Most movies, you have seen before. Most movies are constructed out of bits and pieces of other movies, like little engines built from cinematic Erector sets. But not “Joe Versus the Volcano.”

I have never seen a football game like Sunday’s Bears/Panthers tilt. Never. Think about what took place.

  • The Bears attempted 7 passes, completing 4 and only 1 to a wide receiver. And won by 2 touchdowns.
  • The Bears averaged 3.1 yards per carry, with a long of 11 yards. And won by 2 touchdowns.
  • The Bears ran 19 plays in the second half (sans kneel downs) for a grand total of 28 yards. And won by 2 touchdowns.
  • The Bears were outgained in total yardage 293 to 153. And won by 2 touchdowns.
  • The Bears had the football for 17 minutes less than the Panthers. And won by 2 touchdowns.
  • The Bears got 15 less first downs than the Panthers. 15! And won by 2 touchdowns.

You could live to be a thousand years old and never see a game like this again. The iconic “They Are Who We Thought They Were” game from 2006 was not this lopsided statistically. Oddly enough, Trubisky’s four completions were matched that night by Rex Grossman’s four interceptions.


Sunday’s win over the Carolina Panthers was defined by one moment, one play. After Trubisky’s lunge for the end zone was deemed short, John Fox faced fourth-and-a-foot with about a minute remaining in the first half. If the Bears went and scored, they’d lead 21-3 and receive the ball to start the second half. If they went and failed, chances are the Panthers would have run the ball three times, forcing Chicago to burn their timeouts, but still giving the ball back to the Bears with enough time to score.

There was almost no reason NOT to go. John Fox did NOT hesitate. Field goal. 17-3.

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