Another week, another batch of unwanted gifts in the form of lessons from the Chicago Bears.
Lets go to the headlines.
Jay, Please Don't Throw That Baaaaaall...Damnit
The Bears' offense is impossible to watch without some kind of alcohol or punching bag. It is the same formula of doing nothing early, then deciding to turn it up after the other team scores two touchdowns.
The Bears' first four possessions resulted in 25 yards on 11 plays, with one first down and one interception. The Bears' offensive line had 15 yards in penalties in the first four possessions, including a holding penalty by the great Frank Omiyale, which cost the Bears a 21-yard scramble by Jay Cutler.
The Bears' offense then turned things up after, of course, the defense had given up a touchdown and two field goals on Green Bay's first three possessions.
Cutler (23-36 209 yards, 2 TDs, 2 INT) completed seven of 10 passes for 87 yards on a 13-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 19-yard touchdown pass to Johnny Knox. Cutler completed passes of 28 yards to Knox on 3rd-and-18, 19 yards to Devin Aromashodu on 3rd-and-9, and 19 yards to Knox for the TD on 3rd-and-12.
Where was this offense the entire game? You can't take nearly a quarter-and-a-half off offensively in the NFL.
However, Cutler's trigger-happy arm is what put the final nail in the coffin in this game, and in the Bears' playoff hopes, when he under-threw a pass to Knox on 3rd-and-5 at their own 32, with a 14-13 lead in which Nick Collins intercepted the ball and took it back to the 11, leading to the Ryan Grant's game-winning touchdown.
The ball was underthrown because Cutler took a hit on a blitz, but that ball has to either be tucked away for the sack, which Cutler has learned to do this year thanks to the offensive line, or be thrown out of bounds.
The Bears' Offensive Line is Getting Coal for Christmas
This was the only headline I had in my head that didn't involve curse words or referring to the offensive line as a slang term for female genitalia.
The Bears, as a team, had 13 penalties for 109 yards; nearly double the amount of yards rushing. The offensive line was responsible for much of them.
As stated above, a holding foul on Omiyale nullified Jay Cutler’s 21-yard scramble on 3rd-and-11 in the first quarter, and a 15-yard facemask penalty on left tackle Chris Williams wiped out a 16-yard screen pass to Matt Forte in the fourth quarter.
The Bears drew four false start penalties, three of which came on first down. A terrible offense cannot work with 1st-and-15.
Williams had the trifecta: getting whistled for a false start, illegal use of hands, and a facemask. That is literally hard to do as a lineman.
All this while not really blocking, as Cutler was sacked three times and, although Forte had 51 yards on 12 carries, most of the yardage came after he had to roll off a clogged hole.
The offensive line is like Lindsay Lohan: everyone gets in. No? How about the offensive line is like Arizona State: everyone gets in? Okay, how about this one: The offensive line is like Tiger Woods: They let everyone in for the sack and they clog holes.
A guy that Jay Cutler has been talking about for a while and wanting to get involved in the offense hauls in eight receptions for 76 yards and touchdown.
It makes you wonder who is making the decisions and why won't they listen to their quarterback.
So far, we've seen the offense look its best in the no-huddle with Cutler calling the plays, after Cutler drew up plays on the sideline, and with a receiver who Cutler has been talking about all season.
Perhaps the coaching staff should listen to someone else besides the offensive coordinator, who was good 10 years ago.
Perhaps the coaching staff should stop listening to themselves.
The Defense Was Not Too Bad
Going against Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, Ryan Grant, Donald Lee, and Jermichael Finley, it was a safe bet the defense would get torched. And, at first, it did.
The first play from scrimmage was a 62-yard touchdown run for Grant, who of course was on my bench for fantasy football. And although the Bears gave up back-to-back field goals on the next two Packer possessions, it could have been much worse considering those were two red-zone trips for Green Bay, one of which was after Cutler was intercepted by Charles Woodson.
Once again, however, the defensive line only generated one sack leading to not only Grant running for nearly seven yards per carry for 137 yards, but Rodgers having all day to throw.
The secondary was able to limit Greg Jennings and completely shut down Donald Driver, who of course was starting on my fantasy team, but if you give Rodgers all day, he will find guys like Finely, Lee, and Brandon Jackson.
Bears, that is what time in the pocket looks like for a good quarterback. Perhaps one day you will try it.
The problem with watching the Bears play the Vikings and Packers is seeing how far they are from coming anywhere close to either of them.
The Packers, for the third straight year, are the youngest team in the NFL, and they look more mature than the Bears by 10 years.
With the Vikings' offensive threats, plus their offensive and defensive lines, it seems as though anything with arms could be quarterback and they'd be fine.
The fact is that the Bears have no solution. They have no picks in the first or second round in next season's draft, a coaching staff that needs tweaking, and a general manager that should, but for some reason doesn't, have fingers pointing at him.
I try to give Lovie Smith the benefit of the doubt in terms of this team being more Jerry Angelo's fault than his, but Smith is the man who let Ron Rivera leave, put a lot of draft picks into this defensive line, and is the one throwing challenge flags after using a timeout, only to get the call wrong, losing another timeout.
Someone needs to find Smith's challenge record, because I assure you, it is awful.
Things are not looking good currently, or in the future, for the Bears, and the worst part about it will be watching Jay Cutler and Matt Forte go completely to waste.