Monday, September 19, 2005

Game Notes - @ Bears: Ouch...

Is there really any other way to describe it? Maybe Jeckyl and Hyde may be more appropriate. Our favorite team once again laid an egg, after looking so much better last week. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to figure out how we can beat the Packers and have our D look that good one week, and then look so bad against the Bears the next week. For pete's sake, that was the BEARS out there, not the Chiefs! Yet, our D made the Bears O - with a rookie QB no less - look like the second coming of the late 80's 49ers. And if that wasn't enough, our O once again looked like we'll be in for a very long season. Unfortunately (or maybe actually lucky), I'm writing this while sitting in between flights at a Chili's in Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport, so I can't perform my usual dissection with the TiVo. Doesn't matter, I saw enough the first time around to tell this tale of woe. Oh well, here comes the cold hard brutal truth...

As I've said before, everything always comes back to the line play. If our guys do their job up front, everything else feeds off of it. In this game, they didn't even come close. Sure, it's easy to point the finger at Joey and his 5 INT's (more on that in a few seconds), but the real problem here is the O-Line. Joey was getting hammered all day long, getting hit on some of his three step drops again. He never got the chance to look comfortable in the pocket, mostly because the pocket didn't exist. That's not to excuse his throwing, but it's the foundation for all the problems.

I'll put it this way - When KJ gets 8 carries for 22 yards (or however bad the final totals looked), the line couldn't have been doing too good. What I saw in the brief time I had to review the game, it appeared to be DeMulling, Backus and Raiola getting beat consistently, with the emphasis on DeMulling. I'm not sure if it's a blocking technique, style, or scheme issue, but he was nowhere near this bad in Indy last year. Paul Smith doesn't make matters any better, as the guy couldn't pick up a blitzer to save his life. Couple this with the unexplainable lack of slants and crossing routes to counter their blitz - we screened, but they were pathetic - and this had to be nearly as bad as the Rams preseason debacle.

Now for Joey - ah Joey. I can understand getting the jitters because he's getting tagged so many times, but what he did with the ball was not OK. By my views, 2 of the 5 INT's appeared to have been due to him getting hit as he was throwing. The first INT was a fluke as I've never seen a ball land and bounce on so many shoulder pads for an D-lineman to pick it out of mid air. And then there was the throw to Roy. That one was all on Roy - not Joey. Roy runs the dang route, and the worst thing to happen is an incomplete. Joey was off on a lot of throws today, but he wasn't helped out by the drops either. This loss wasn't entirely his fault, but he clearly was one of the big reasons.

On the other side of the ball, I'm still scratching my head. How do we hold the Packers to 3 points, then give up 24 O points to the Bears? We hold Brett Favre down and make him look average at best, then give up that game to Kyle Orton? We hold Ahman Green to around 55 yards, then give up 125+ to Thomas Jones? I'm sorry, but this D is straight out of the twilight zone. Which one will show up each week? This looks to be another incredible source of frustration for us this year.

What was most frustrating was to see the Bears convert so many 3rd and long situations. It seemed like every time we had them in 3rd and 10, they would gain 15 - on a run, no less. Dirty Davis looked to be the invisible man in run coverage, as did James Hall, and Big Daddy had a bad game, after a great game last week. The Bears were able to run off their left side consistently, and usually had Kreutz able to make it to the second level and pick off Holmes. Thank god we have Kennedy this year, or else the Bears may have scored 3 more times running over Brock Marion.

When the Bears were throwing, again, they seemed to stay away from throwing at Dre. He did give up one or two catches to Muhammad, but all in all, he held his side of the field down pretty well. Bryant got hurt, but he was the target of the passing attack again this week. Although most of the Bears passes were quick hitters in the flats - hard to keep from being completed, but usually for not too many yards. I think Orton only finished with 150 yards passing, so it wasn't like we were giving up huge chunks of yardage there. But just like the running game, we seemed to give up 11 yards on 3rd and 10 nearly every time the Bears got there. Again, not good.

And here's where the really brutal part comes in - our special teams STUNK. Drummond had a few good returns - he had enough attempts after all - but we missed an extra point ($4700 for one week of Remy Hamilton for that?) and we gave up a TD return. This was a BAD game in most every area.

I'm not sure what to say beyond this. I have to get moving to catch my next flight, so I may have to add some stuff when I get the chance to think about this disaster some more. Or maybe I won't because this is already too painful to think about. Damn good thing we have the bye next week, so maybe we can find a new LG...

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