The Chicago Bears squared off in front of a national TV audience on Thursday Night Football, and as so often seems to be the case, they struggled during prime time.
The Packers faced as close to a must-win game as you can get for the second game of the season. The Cheeseheads played like it, and the Bears played as if it was still the preseason and the games didn’t matter.
These are the games where you hate to pick winners and losers, because invariably you find too many losers in what is a completely forgettable game. While there is no reason to panic after a loss like this, you at least recognize early what needs to improve in order to reach the ultimate goal.
Where do I start with the list of losers?
Start with offensive coordinator Mike Tice, who was outcoached in every sense of the football cliché tonight. Dom Capers had the perfect game plan in place to deal with the Brandon Marshall—CB in-trail technique with safety help over the top.
Tice had no answers or adjustments in this game, and it showed. The protection wasn’t there, and the receivers couldn’t get open. Overall, it will be a harsh lesson learned for the rookie offensive coordinator.
The entire front five of the Chicago Bears offensive line—from left tackle J’Marcus Webb to right tackle Gabe Carimi—had a horrible game.
We’re up to six losers on offense, and there’s only five more players left to blame. Oh, don’t worry—I blame them all.
The overall offensive effort was bad—and that’s the bottom line.
Roberto Garza was overwhelmed, and we were reminded just how average to below average Garza has been for most of his career. He’s in over his head at this age and can easily be pushed around, especially in pass blocking. I would like to say that I wish for Olin Kreutz back, but Kreutz was playing at the same level as Garza when the Bears disposed of him.
Chris Spencer and Lance Louis were pretty bad as well. While the Bears managed to run the football well with Michael Bush, the pass protection and blitz pickup stood out as extremely typical of this unit.
It doesn’t matter which scheme you use on offense; when your offensive linemen play with no awareness in pass protection, your QB is going to get killed.
J’Marcus Webb had a very typical Webb game with his lackadaisical attitude. It is apparent that Webb has no heart. He has a lot of talent, but he plays like he simply doesn’t care, especially when faced with adversity. Webb so easily folds and quits once teams start to challenge him, and there’s nothing the Bears can do about it because Chris Williams has the same type of pea brain when he’s in the game.
For perspective, Cutler was sacked seven times and hit an additional 12 times in this game; nothing more has to be said.
Adding to the embarrassment was Jay Cutler in the passing game and the Bears wide receivers. Cutler apparently called out the Packers this week about how much better the talent is among the boys who are supposed to get open and catch the football.
Getting separation and running routes did not happen amongst the Bears wide receivers tonight. Marshall was completely shut down, and the one time he did get open for a touchdown pass, he dropped it. The new top-level NFL receiver played like Bears receivers of recent memory. Marshall caught two passes for 24 yards tonight and did nothing to help out Cutler.
Speaking of Cutler, tonight is another example—in a long line of them—of why Jay Cutler will never achieve the level of elite QB. Yes, I know the naysayers are going to scream from the rooftops about how Cutler was under constant pressure, but even when Cutler had time, he was making horrible throws.
Cutler threw four INTs on the night and probably could have had another four picked off, which is completely inexcusable. As usual, I fully expect Bears fans to make excuses for Cutler and for none of the blame to fall upon him. Well, not from me; Cutler is as much to blame as the rest of the offense for this debacle.
A lot has to change for the Bears to be able to compete for a Super Bowl championship. You can’t win a title like this.
Yes, the Bears are likely still a playoff team, but they have to be able to deal with adversity better in order to achieve their ultimate goal.
The closest we have to winners in a game like this is, as usual, the Bears defense.
The defense gave the Bears a chance to win, which is all you can ask for in a situation like this. The offense should have performed at a high enough level for them to win this game; they didn’t.
The defensive line got enough pressure on Aaron Rodgers to rattle him and to have the Bears in this game late. Until the kill-shot touchdown pass after the turnover, the defense kept the Bears in the game.
Tim Jennings had another good game and played at a high level, corralling another interception. He was tough in coverage and made tackles in the open field. All the things that Jennings does well, he did again tonight.
He could get a game ball—if there was a game ball to give away.
The pass rush came to play tonight, getting constant pressure on Rodgers early in the game. Shea McClellin seems to play well every time I call him out; I think I’ll do it more often. Peppers had two sacks. Melton racked up his third sack on the season.
Overall, very positive signs coming from the defensive line on the pass-rush front.
Well, that will wrap up the list of winners.
In a game like this, there’s really no reason to try and pull out another winner for the sake of patting a player on the back. The Bears played very poorly overall, even with a stand-up job by the defense. Still, that effort by the defense seemed to blow up in one fell swoop when they seemed to quit on the Donald Driver touchdown. That play is why I won’t go out of my way to select more winners from the defense.