451 Comments

Week Four: Bucs at Bears Game Preview

| September 27th, 2018

The shirt above was actually sold by our friends 26Shirts


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

And I think Matt Nagy and the offense are going to come out a bit spiky this week. Celebrating in the locker room Sunday, Nagy owned the offense’s failings while praising the defense’s dominance. He won’t want to be in many more locker rooms like that one.

[Editorial Note: This column is being written under the assumption Dirk Koetter won’t be benching a QB with 1200+ yards through three games.]


Game Haiku

Matt Nagy. Head Coach.

But offense is his baby.

Baby is crying.


Why the Bears Will Win

  • Bears Defense. This unit has been praised ad infinitum and deservedly so. They are the best defense in the league after three games. And the Bucs haven’t seen anything like this, especially on the road, in 2018. Two of the three defenses Tampa has played – Pittsburgh and New Orleans – are currently ranked in the league’s bottom four. One of the reasons Fitzpatrick has thrived statistically early is the lack of pressure on him. That changes at Soldier Field this week.
  • Bucs Defense. They’ve allowed 91 points in three games and there’s a reason: they are not particularly talented. They’ve rarely gotten to the quarterback with four guys and those quarterbacks are executing to the tune of a 117.1 passer rating. (That’s nearly 30 points worse than the Bears.) Trubisky is going to have plenty of opportunities to make plays down the field against a secondary featuring old guys and inexperienced rookies.
  • Trey Burton. There’s a breakout game coming for Burton and this match-up suits him perfectly. Vance McDonald and Zach Ertz both flourished against Tampa and the big Chicago tight end has increased his productivity each week. Don’t be surprised if Nagy moves Trubisky out of the pocket and gives him some easier, three-level reads to one side of the field. That could give Burton the opportunity for a big afternoon.

Tweet of the Week


Why They Won’t

  • Nagy/Trubisky. A second viewing of the Bears/Cardinals tape confirmed what I believed on first viewing: the Bears offense doesn’t make a lot of sense. It lacks coherence. It lacks identity. And right now it lacks a comfortable, confident quarterback. When Arizona brought extra pressure (or just an exotic blitz look) the coach and quarterback had zero answers for it. Can they get that fixed? Of course. But it’s very hard to make big ticket scheme changes in the six-day period between games. The Bears need the bye. But they have a game to play before they reach it.
  • Fitzpatrick’s Big Plays. The Bears have the best pass rush in the NFL but there are going to be moments this week – several – where Mack & Co. don’t get home. When that happens expect Fitz to take shots over the top because nobody has taken more early in this NFL season. Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson really haven’t been tested yet because of the success up front. That will almost certainly change Sunday.
  • Tampa’s Rush Defense is stingy, holding opponents to 3.6 yards per rush and 70.7 yards per game. Their approach will be simple Sunday: limit the success of Howard/Cohen on the ground and throw pressure at Trubisky on 2nd/3rd-and-long situations. Nobody has run it on this defense with any success yet. The Bears should leave the tunnel Sunday knowing they’ll need to toss it to win.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , ,

340 Comments

Bears at Bucs Game Preview

| September 14th, 2017

Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears. (But a man can only take so much.)

Tampa Bay in 2016

Aside from their thumping of the Bears, on a day when Jay Cutler couldn’t stop turning the ball over, the Tampa offense was mediocre or worse for the duration of the 2016 season. Their rankings:

  • Yards per game: 18th
  • Passing yards per game: 16th
  • Rushing yards per game: 24th
  • Points per game: T-18th

The fact that a team with these stats won more games than they lost is impressive. But the Bucs made two significant additions to their offense this off-season: DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard. Always. Be. Adding. Weapons.

On Jerrell Freeman’s Injury

Bears had 22 projected starters in July. 11 on offense and 11 on defense. Kyle Long, Prince Amukamara, Cam Meredith, Kevin White, Jerrell Freeman won’t be out there Sunday. Pernell McPhee will be limited. That’s 27% of their starting lineup not out there. And they’ve played one game.

Three Reasons the Bears Win

  • One-dimensional Bucs. After seeing the Bears front suffocate the Falcons rush game, with Freeman, it’s hard to imagine many teams having significant success running the football into Goldman, Hicks & co. That means this game will fall squarely on Jameis Winston and the passing attack. Can they carry the day in their first start and avoid turning it over? Hard to see it.
  • Tarik Cohen. Make no mistake about it, Bucs DC Mike Smith is spending way more time than he expected this week on The Human Joystick. Outside of Chicago, Cohen’s dynamic performance in Week One shook the football world, with Cohen establishing himself as the team’s most explosive weapon. If goal 1 of opposing defenses will be stopping the Bears run, goal 1A will be stopping Cohen. Not sure the Bucs have the personnel to do it.
  • Back to the Ground. Bucs allowed 4.4 yards per carry on the ground last season and over 117 yards per game. Bears will be handing the ball off and handing it off a lot this Sunday. Why? Because they watched the tape of their quarterback from last weekend.

Read More …

Tagged: , , ,

268 Comments

Summing Up the Bears Blowout Loss to Tampa in Seven Sentences

| November 14th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-14-at-6-57-29-am

Jay Cutler delivered one of the most bewildering and terrible performances from a Chicago Bears quarterback in recent memory; a memory including the likes of Jimmy Clausen and Caleb Hanie. Cutler’s decision making was putrid, accuracy was non-existence and concern for the football borderline criminal. As the game drifted away, others also aided and abetted this sporting crime, but the loss sits squarely and without bobble on the shoulders of one man: Jay Christopher Cutler.

One should not make leaps about Cutler’s future in Chicago off one performance – good or bad. But this was performance was SO bad, it will be impossible for many to resist. I can’t blame them. If Brian Hoyer were healthy Sunday, he’d have been on the field by the second quarter.


Administrative note: I’m off to France for a bit but the content will continue! Data, Andrew and myself from abroad will be here daily, playing out the string.

Tagged: ,

115 Comments

Match-Up That Matters: Bears at Bucs

| November 10th, 2016

screen-shot-2016-11-09-at-11-20-01-am

The Bears travel to Tampa for a match-up of two pretty evenly-matched teams. What will tell the tale?

Bears Rushing Attack

vs.

Tampa’s Poor Rush Defense

Three thoughts:

  • The Bears ran the ball with toughness and determination against a terrific Vikings defense with backup guards. From all reports, Josh Sitton and Kyle Long will return to the lineup Sunday. Long and Sitton aren’t just their two best offensive linemen. They are two of the best players on the team and leaders on the field. Their return should be worth 25+ additional yards.
  • Bucs are allowing more than 117 yards per game on the ground at 4.1 yards per carry. If Bears stay committed to the run,  and we know they will, they should have tremendous success on the ground.
  • Only one back in the league has a better yards per carry than Jordan Howard. (That would be the revelation that is Jay Ajayi in Miami. Reason #31 you don’t break the bank for CJ Anderson.) Howard isn’t going to beat a healthy Ezekiel Elliot for Rookie of the Year but I expect him to make a formidable argument over the second half of the season. That starts in Tampa.

If the Bears run it well, they win. I think they will…and do.

Tagged: , , ,

251 Comments

FrontRowTickets.com Game Preview: Bears & Bucs Play Out the String (Christmas Edition!)

| December 24th, 2015

dabearsblog banner

Sell Chicago Bears Tickets

THE GAME POEM

THOUGHTS ON THE TAMPA BAY BUCS

  • Bucs offense is simple. They want to hand the ball off a zillion times to Doug Martin and then make plays down the field to Mike Evans off play-action. If their running game is shut down it greatly limits their effectiveness to move the ball/score points.
  • Earlier in the week I paired the Bucs and Bears as two teams that weren’t ready to put themselves in the thick of a playoff chase. Four weeks ago the Bucs were 5-5 and positioned well to make a run at the 6th seed. Since then they’ve lost to a Luck-less Colts, a Saints team playing out the string and were roughed up last Thursday night by the Rams until mounting a late comeback. This is a team with a lot of weapons and a bright future. But they’re not there yet. The question will be whether Lovie can get them over the top in 2016.
  • Tampa’s rush defense is very good, allowing 30 less yards per game on the ground than Chicago. If the Bears think they’re going to control this game on the ground it’s unlikely. The way to attack Tampa is to isolate a couple familiar fellows at the backend of their secondary (Conte, Wright…etc.) and throw the ball down the field. The question will be whether any of the Bears receivers can get any separation.

NEW CHRISTMAS CLASSICS

Each year, from Thanksgiving until Christmas, I (like many) indulge in the joy that is the Christmas movie. And it surprises me that movies and television shows still find their way into the rotation. This last year produced two new additions.

A VERY MURRAY CHRISTMAS

It’s television the way television used to be made in the days of soundstages and cigarette holders and Dean Martin. Everything about it is a throwback and it’s still completely original. The highlight? George Clooney popping out repeatedly from behind Christmas trees to deliver the chorus of Santa Claus Wants Some Lovin’.

DIFFICULT PEOPLE, “DIFFICULT CHRISTMAS”

The best new comedy on television in 2015 was Julie Klausner’s Difficult People and the final episode of the season, the Christmas episode, might have been the best. The highlight? Klausner getting fired from her job as a gift wrapper for reciting the story of Capturing the Friedmans to a customer.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , , , , , ,

259 Comments

Ugly, Ugly, Ugly: Bears Beat Bucs & Inch Closer to .500

| November 24th, 2014

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Chicago Bears

Going into halftime I was fully prepared to write a “Marc Trestman Must Be Relieved of His Duties Today” column. That’s how lifeless the Bears were for thirty minutes. How thoroughly unmotivated they seemed. They would have enraged a surprisingly large and vocal crowd but the Soldier Field faithful were too bored to express anger.

Then they went into the locker room. Then they came out of the locker room.

I don’t know what Marc Trestman said to his football team. I don’t know the contents of Martellus Bennett’s MLK-inspired halftime tirade. But I do know Trestman had a tangible opportunity to display leadership. He had a chance to show the entire organization he was not only a capable leader of men but a capable leader of these specific men, in this specific locker room. And in Lovie Smith’s old locker room, Trestman delivered. If the Bears had played two second halves yesterday they would have beaten Tampa by 35 points.

Do these two wins mean a lot for the Chicago Bears? No. But they were the first essential destination on the Trestman road map to remaining the Chicago Bears head coach. Now the Bears play a month of games against NFC playoff teams (even though I don’t believe the Lions will ultimately make the postseason). Now the results are measuring sticks. Now the results matter.

More thoughts on Sunday’s win over the Bucs…

Read More …

Tagged: , ,

139 Comments

Lovie Smith Returneth: Tampa Bay Bucs at Chicago Bears Game Preview

| November 20th, 2014

They won a game. My lord of lords, they have won a game. Did they beat a rookie quarterback playing in frozen conditions for the first time in his entire existence? Maybe. Do the Buccaneers come to town with a head coach and quarterback desperate to show the Soldier Field faithful and Halas Hall hierarchy what they’re missing? Absolutely. So…

Why do I like the Chicago Bears this week?

I always like the Chicago Bears.

A SUNDAY TO LEGITIMIZE ANOTHER SUNDAY

The Bears victory over the Minnesota Vikings means nothing if they lose Sunday. These two games, the first destination on Marc Trestman’s road map to retain his job, are a package deal.

Winning both enables the Bears to play a game with at least some meaning on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit. You might argue the stench of back-to-back embarrassments against arguably the league’s two best teams is too overwhelming to overcome no matter what happens against lower level competition. That’s a fair argument but I think a misguided one. The Bears returning to national television with an opportunity to even their record at 6-6 is a significant step for an organization left for dead two weeks ago. From 6-6, with 3 of their final 4 at home, Trestman and company can begin selling a run of the table to the locker room. Whether they achieve that goal or not is relatively unimportant. Believing there is a goal to be achieved means the players will be severely motivated in December.

Losing Sunday to the Bucs, one of the league’s worst teams, will hurt Trestman terribly in Chicago. If this offense can not find motivation against their former coach they will never find motivation. And if they can’t beat the two-win Bucs at home there will be nothing the coaching staff can say in the locker room to convince players this season has any possible reward.

Read More …

Tagged: , , , ,

© Da' Bears Blog