NFL Week Four Runaround: Griese Bears Losing Their Grip
One week after the Bears benched the debatably awful Rex Grossman, Brian Griese threw up his best Bad Rex impersonation in an ugly loss to the Lions.
Griese's three interceptions—one that was returned for a touchdown in an obvious ode to Grossman—doomed the one-dimensional Bears and dropped the defending NFC champions to 1-3.
Griese’s yardage numbers were decent (286), and he did throw two touchdowns. However, the QB change was made to cut down on mistakes and give the offense a jolt.
The mistakes were still there, and the offense was still going nowhere.
Where the Bears turn next is anyone’s guess. Griese may be better next week, but there’s no telling for sure—which sounds a lot like the last 13 months with Grossman.
Lovie Smith seems to have quite the quarterback controversy on his hands.
None of Chicago'a quarterbacks will succeed until the offense finds its balance. Cedric Benson has been a disappointment in his turn as a full-time starter, averaging 3.2 yards per carry and cracking 100 yards (barely) in only one game.
Not coincidentally, his 101 yards came against the Chiefs in the Bears’ only win of the year.
Last year, Chicago was successful thanks to the running of Thomas Jones, who quite literally saved several games for the team. Jones masked a number of the offense’s problems and made life easier for Grossman. With Benson struggling, opponents have had an easier time shutting down the Bears—and will continue to do so until Chicago finds a fix.
Worse still, the Chicago defense is starting to wear thin. Injuries have hampered what is usually the backbone of the team, and the unit's morale is waning.
In their last two games against the Cowboys and Lions, the Bears have allowed only a field goal in the first half before seeing the game fall apart as the offense fails to capitalize.
The timing of the collapse couldn’t be worse. While Dallas has raced ahead in the NFC, the Bears are quickly falling behind in their own division.
Green Bay is tops in the North at 4-0, and the Lions are now two games up on Chicago. The Packers host the Bears next Sunday night, before Chicago faces division rival Minnesota.
Conceivably, the Bears could be 1-5 in two weeks, having lost to all three NFC North teams.
Fortunately, Chicago isn't giving up. They still have lots of time to recover, and they have the personnel to make it happen.
Besides, it was only two years ago that the Bears started 1-3 and went on to finish 11-5.
The quarterback then?
Team of the week: Kansas City Chiefs
A win over the Vikings last week was one thing; a victory in San Diego against a mad, motivated Charger team is something else entirely.
The Chiefs were pitiful in the first three weeks, and no one gave them much of a chance. But after putting up 24 unanswered points to beat the Chargers by 14, Kansas looks to have silenced the critics.
Dwayne Bowe was great, and the Kansas City defense was solid. The Chiefs are at the top of the AFC West standings after four weeks—and even if they don’t stay there very long, the season has already been more successful than anyone could have predicted.
Bad team of the week: Miami Dolphins
The Oakland Raiders made the Dolphins look bad on Sunday, which says more about the floundering ‘Fins than it does about the resurgent Raiders.
Miami had many chances to keep the game close, and they blew every single one of them. Trent Green threw an interception that was Brodie-Croyle-bad. Cam Cameron went multiple series without calling plays for Ronnie Brown. And the run defense was atrocious.
The Raiders completed five passes all game long, and still won going away.
If the Bills and Jets weren’t in their division, I would seriously worry about the Dolphins going winless on the year.
Kevan Lee’s beverage of the week: Lemonade from concentrate
Sweetness on the cheap was the way to go this Sunday. Not only does concentrated lemon juice cost little, it also goes a long way. Sure, it tastes an awful lot like tap water, but the taste is offset by unmixed floaties and the extra money in your pocket.
Note: Lemonade from concentrate does not help concentration.
Nap of the week: Third quarter Dolphins-Raiders
I missed Daunte Culpepper running into the end zone and Trent Green running the Dolphins into the ground. If only I could have napped through the fourth quarter, too.
Most misleading stat: Houston, 2-0
The Texans’ perfect start is officially gone, and it only took two weeks.
A loss to the Colts is understandable. A loss to the Falcons is unforgivable.
Houston had won over a lot of NFL fans after their fast start, but it looks to have been a ruse. This team will struggle until Andre Johnson returns, and maybe even after that.
Painfully true stat: Trent Dilfer 12-33, 128 yards, 2 INTs
I don’t mean to kick the 49ers while they’re down...but seriously, did you see the game? When Dilfer wasn’t on his back, he was throwing erratically and leading three-and-outs.
As bad as Alex Smith has looked this year, I’m afraid to say this team needs him back.
Premature MVP Ballot
1. Tom Brady: He’s here because he plays for my favorite team, which is why I’ll never vote in a major media poll.
2. Tony Romo.: Mr. Carrie Underwood had another great week.
3. Brett Favre: Peter King talked me into this one.
Weekly Super Bowl prediction: Oakland vs. Tampa Bay
A rematch of Super Bowl XXXVII isn't out of the question, unless you live in reality. I, of course, do not. My Daunte Culpepper Raiders jersey CANNOT get here fast enough.
For Monday’s pick and more, visit www.kevanlee.com.
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