Bears Hangover and Hodgepodgedy Tiddly Bits
**Note, after my first full week here and the finding of a new hobby I have set a tentative outline for columns and dates. Mondays will be Recap Hangovers with recaps and miscellaneous other items, both sports and non sport related (and side note, the recaps will not be very lengthy as many, many people already do that and will instead be a brief recap with various stats/issues from the game). Tuesday thru Thursday will feature at least two columns on specific Bears issues or items from my point of view. Friday will feature the Friday Binge and miscellaneous; the opposite of Monday. Thanks for the reads and check back. I plan to branch out to Cubs/Sox/Hawks/Bulls/Fire in the months upcoming.
The St. Louis Rams, as expected, came to Soldier Field on Sunday. Also as expected, the Rams left Soldier Field with a loss against the newly minted 5-7 Chicago Bears. In the Friday Binge (note: It’s name is newly coined so it is not called this in the article) last week, as noted in paragraph three, I predicted the Bears would win if they could keep Jay Cutler off the ground, keep the pressure off of him and avoid interceptions.
Although the offensive line probably isn’t capable of keeping Cutler free from pressure they did do a good job of keeping Cutler’s jersey clean and keeping him upright. The Rams managed only two sacks on Chicago’s franchise quarterback and hit him only three more times. As also predicted in that column, the Bears won in a game that was closer than it should have been (although I was way off on the score).
Jay Cutler did a nice job of choosing which throws to make and keeping the dreaded interception out of the offense’s stat sheet for only the third time this year (all wins). Fans at Soldier Field even went on record as seeing a rare site in Chicago: Cutler wisely throwing the ball away on the run, as opposed to throwing into traffic or double coverage.
The Bears got back to Chicago Bear football and made a commitment to the run and a commitment to protect the ball from careless turnovers. The Bears rushed twice as many times as they passed and grinded out 120 yards on the ground, with 91 of those yards belonging to the often talked about Matt Forte, whom also added a touchdown to his fantasy stats this week. In contrast, fantasy stud Adrian Peterson of the Vikings averaged only 1.5 yards/attempt and was outrushed by his backup and by a wide receiver.
Watching the Bears try to run it wasn’t pretty by any means but it was also beautiful to see again. Cutler averaged about eight yards/attempt and the running game as a whole averaged about three yards/attempt. Not great numbers, but passable: Especially passable when Cutler doesn’t throw a pick and the team only turned the ball over once (the Bears did TRY to turn the ball over more with their fumbling, but much like a majority of this season they failed at that simple task. I’m not going to fault them for not losing the ball though).
Was this win something Bears fans should get excited about? Not really; beating a one-win team by eight points isn’t something to write home to mom about. However, the Bears did seem to be in control of this game from whistle to whistle and in the NFL, a win is a win. And the Rams, although I will continue to take them lightly, did indeed play the Cardinals, Jaguars and the undefeated Saints closely so perhaps instead of worrying about how the Bears got the win fans should focus on the fact that a team in desperate need of a win got one. Playoff hopes, although slim and virtually none, are still alive in the windy city.
Monday Hangover Tiddly Bits
· As mentioned above, Jay Cutler has only gone interception-free three times this season: wins against Pittsburgh, Detroit and now St. Louis. The Bears are 3-0 with Jay throwing zero picks, 2-2 with one pick and 0-5 when Cutler forgets what team he is throwing to.
· The bears fumbled a total of six times but only lost one of those fumbles, courtesy of Matt Forte (in his defense he was going against himself in fantasy and wasn’t expecting to have the day he did and it is playoff time).
· The leading tackler in the Bears/Rams game? You guessed it, Jamaar Williams with 18 total tackles. The Rams leading tackler was James “WWWHHHATTTT A RUSHHHHH, jr” Laurinaitis (if that confuses you, then it’s your fault for not reading religiously).
· Matt Forte averaged 3.8 yards/carry; pretty respectable numbers, even though they came against the Rams. If the Bears can continue to give him the ball and he can manage to keep his yards/carry above three the Bears should be more competitive. Bears fans should STOP asking the team to win at shootouts each week with the passing game; read comments from this now proven correct article.
Miscellaneous Tiddly Bits
· As mentioned above, Adrian Peterson only had 19 yards of rushing. He did chime in with 46 receiving yards but neither were enough to stop the Kurt Warner retirement and or comeback tour, version 2.009. Perhaps A.P. took the State of Minnesota’s request to slow down a bit too literal.
· While looking up the link to the Peterson story I noticed another story. Did anyone know that Bernard Berrian, former Bear, got caught doing almost exactly the same thing? I watch SportsCenter and read up online, but I must have missed this story. It is up on ESPN (obviously) but I don’t recall seeing it up on the page. Am I breaking news here?
· Speaking of ESPN, an amazing read is Gregg Easterbrook’s Tuesday Morning Quarterback. It’s hard to describe as it’s literally all over the place, quite random and not solely about sports but one stat stood out to me: The Colts are undefeated in 21 out of 22 games with that one loss being in overtime where they never touched the ball. Amazing stat Gregg and just amazing for Indy; not so amazing for the NFL’s overtime rules.
· The Colts kept up their end of the undefeated bargain and minutes later the Saints did the same in overtime; I’d like to personally thank the NFL for taking the Saints/Skins game off of my TV in order to watch the start of the Cowboys/Giants game. After all, it’s only history, not money.
Picks that you shouldn’t have taken to the bookie results, winners in bold, from the Friday Binge:
PHI (-5.5) over ATL
CHI (-9) over STL
CIN (-13) over DET
TEN (+6.5) over TEN
DEN (-4.5) over KC
NE (-4) over MIA
OAK (+14.5) over PIT
NO (-9.5) over WAS
TB (+5.5) over CAR (I’d even take that straight up)
JAX (pick em’) over HOU
CLE (-13) over SD
DAL (+2.5) over NYG
SF (pick em’) over SEA
MIN (-3) over ARI
BAL (+3) over GB
Record: 7-7 (not counting the Monday game, I’ll put the updated record in the Binge on Friday)
I was way off on the Bucs straight up and the Vikes game. In the seven incorrect games I at least had the winner right in three of the games. I was just wrong on the Pats, Bucs, Boys and Vikes. If you bet with me this week, you broke even so a bookie won’t have to break anything on you. Glad I can be of service.
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