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ATM: Don’t Let the Defense Off the Hook for Monday Night Debacle

| October 28th, 2020

Last week began with comparisons between the 2020 and 2018 Chicago Bears defenses. This week begins with us finding there is no comparison.

There are two simple truths about Monday night’s beat down:

One. The Bears couldn’t realistically expect to win by scoring just three offensive points.

Two. The Bears couldn’t realistically expect to win by allowing 24 points.

Only one offense this season has scored more than 24 points against the Rams. That came in a weird Week Three game as the then-red hot Buffalo Bills took a huge lead early. Since then, the Rams have allowed 10 or fewer points in three of four — Monday night included. (As you read that, keep in mind that the Bears haven’t held a single opponent to 10 or fewer points yet this season.)

To win on Monday night, the Bears needed the game to be a low-scoring slugfest. Their offense looked only slightly worse than we should’ve expected going against a top-five defense. The Bears defense, however, couldn’t get off the field in the first three quarters allowing drives that either resulted in scores or flipped the field, leaving the offense in an inopportune position. Five of the Bears first six drives began inside their own 20. For the game, they had eight drives start inside their own 20 and five inside the 10. Imagine how fun that is for Nick Foles when the team is asking Rashaad Coward to block Aaron Donald.

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Bears at Rams Game Poem

| November 15th, 2019


We come to November,

we come to the cold.

And still we remember,

predictions too bold.

We all put our trust

in a fella called Mitch

But the QB’s a bust,

And the O’s in a ditch.

Yet Sunday proposes

a chance to get square.

Where Heston played Moses,

And Caan played a Bear.

December’s before us

With games left to play

The league won’t ignore us

if we win in L.A.

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Week Eleven: Bears at Rams Game Preview

| November 14th, 2019

L.A. Story (1991) – My favorite L.A. film


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And I have nothing else to do on Sunday night. Do you?


Rama Lama Ding Dong (Rams Facts)

  • The Rams offense is broken. Literally. Center Brian Allen is out for the year. Right tackle Rob Havenstein is out multiple weeks. Brandin Cooks is still not recovered from brain injury and should really be put on the shelf for the duration of 2019, if not longer. They won’t have time to protect the quarterback. They won’t have a threat deep down the field. This is a run the ball/short passing offense now. (And it’s struggling in those two departments as well.)
  • Very few times this season will the Bears not have a significant disadvantage at the quarterback position. This is one of those weeks because statistically (and visually) Jared Goff just isn’t playing very well. But at least Sean McVay will still be utilizing the entirety of his playbook. Matt Nagy will not.
  • These two defenses are basically the same. They:
    • Pressure the quarterback at almost identical rates (26-25 Rams in the sack count)
    • Hold opposing QBs to sub-90 rating.
    • Yield roughly identical numbers in yards per game, yards per completion and completion percentage.
    • Defend the run game at clips of (a) Rams – 3.3/90.8 and (b) Bears – 3.7/94.

Tweet of the Week (from last week)

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A Four-Quarter Game Prediction For Super Bowl 53

| February 1st, 2019

Quarter One

This game starts fast. Both of these offensive coaching staffs thrive on the two weeks of preparation and script out the first 15-20 plays to perfection. Tom Brady does it with his trademark short passing game, exploiting the Rams underneath with a ton of James White. Jared Goff hits the Pats secondary over the top. Call it Brandin Cooks for a 54-yard TD. Three possessions. Three touchdowns.

Score: 14-7 Patriots


Quarter Two

Things slow down. Both offenses try and get their running games established, to limited success. Goff makes the first major mistake as halftime approaches, tossing an interception to Stephon Gilmore, and setting up the Pats for an easy score and a comfortable half-time lead.

Score: 28-14 Patriots


Halftime

Shit.

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Three Thoughts on the Actual Football Game Being Played Sunday in Atlanta

| January 31st, 2019

The best bar in Atlanta.


Thought 1. The Rams need a steady & consistent interior pass rush

Nobody pressures Brady from the perimeter because no quarterback in the history of the league is more comfortable stepping up quickly in the pocket and delivering the short-range bullet to a wide open, usually-white receiver. If your game plan to defend him is reliant upon edge pressure and disguised coverages (*cough* Vic Fangio *cough*) Brady will dice you up like a sous-chef working a garlic bulb.

You must put defenders in his face. And few teams are better equipped to do so than Aaron Donald, Ndamukong Suh and these Rams. This game has career-defining potential for Donald.


Thought 2. Where the hell is Todd Gurley?

A few months back, the player Bill Belichick would have completely removed from this game would have been Todd Gurley. “Eliminate Gurley and force Jared Goff to beat us” might have been his rallying cry. And it would have been the correct approach. The Bears showed the league that if you take away the Los Angeles rushing attack and pressure Goff, you control the game.

But Gurley seems to have eliminated himself, unless you believe the injury fairy tale spewing out of the City of Angels. C.J. Anderson has somehow become every bit the horse but Anderson does not have anywhere near the game-changing explosiveness of a man many considered the best offensive weapon in the sport in, like, October! If the Rams are going to win this game, Gurley can’t be riding the stationary bike on pivotal possessions.


Thought 3. Return Men

Three names will be involved.

For the Rams, JoJo Natson.

For the Pats, Cordarrelle Patterson and Julian Edelman.

All three are capable of conjuring the kind of game-altering play that decides which team is holding the Lombardi at the end of the evening. (And all three rank in the top ten at all the relevant return statistics.)

Who will it be? Watch out for Patterson. If Greg the Leg gives him an opportunity to give the Pats an easy six, he may just do it.

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How to Wager $100 on Super Bowl LIII

| January 30th, 2019

Today’s offering is not meant to advocate gambling. I do advocate gambling because it’s a shit ton of fun but that’s not the intention of this particular column. Today, I will be showing you how to spend a mere $100 to greatly increase your enjoyment of another Super Bowl featuring the New England Patriots.


Bet 1

$15 on the game being decided by exactly 3 points (+375)

The Pats used to play three and four-point Super Bowls exclusively and this doesn’t feel like a game that can go wildly in any direction. Plus you’re getting almost 4-1 odds on the bet so why not? It’s also far more fun to root for close games.


Bet 2

$25 on over 56.5 points (-110)

Always bet the Super Bowl over. Who the hell wants to root for teams not to score, especially when you don’t care about the result? This is the most fun bet to place for a Super Bowl party because even those who don’t know/care what’s happening on the field will be excited to know every single point scored helps them win a little cash.

[Side note: If you have access to a book, legal or otherwise, always incorporate everyone at your Super Bowl party in at least one bet TOGETHER.]


Bet 3

$20 on no field goals in the second quarter (+240)

I have almost no rationale for this bet other than (a) it’s silly and (b) I think these are two coaches who will understand the uselessness of field goals in a game like this.


Bet 4

$40 on a team scoring in the final 3:30 of the game (-170)

By the fourth quarter a lot of non-football fans are checked out on the game. So this is the bet to get them re-motivated to focus on the television set. And since the assumption on this game is that it’ll be high-scoring and close, how is the game going to remain scoreless over the final three and a half minutes? It’s not. The odds aren’t great here so you’ll have to lay out some cheese. (I’m betting way more than $40 on this.)

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