Chicago Bears: O-Line Detrimental to Team's Success
The O-line is definitely the weakness that could derail the offensive unit's effectiveness and keep Chicago from making the playoffs.
Quarterback Jay Cutler was hit more times than a piñata, as the offensive line let him get sacked six times with 10 quarterback hits and numerous knockdowns on 45 dropbacks.
Saints safety Roman Harper and defensive end Junior Galette each sacked No. 6 twice.
The offensive line, which lost Lance Louis to injury against the Falcons, gave up all its sacks once first round draft pick Gabe Carimi suffered a sprained knee and had to leave the game. Carimi was replaced at right tackle by Frank Omiyale, an extremely poor blocker.
The game was 16-13 New Orleans with the Bears driving when Cutler dropped back, and he was murdered on his blind side when left tackle J'Marcus Webb and tight end Kellen Davis allowed Saints defensive end Turk McBride sack him so hard that Cutler fumbled the ball and linebacker Jonathan Vilma recovered.
Drew Brees and the Saints promptly scored a touchdown to make it 23-13.
That same quarter, Cutler was brutally hit in the throat, causing the Bears' O-line to almost instigate a brawl in a skewed attempt to protect their battered quarterback from harm. Cutler's voice was horse, making it difficult for him calling plays in the huddle and barking out the snap count.
Ridiculously poor blocking culminated into three straight Culter sacks in the fourth quarter. After those horrendous plays, Cutler just threw the ball out of bounds to stave off further bodily punishment.
Will the Bears survive a poor offensive line and make the playoffs?
Omiyale, along with Webb, both had two foul start penalties that hampered drives.
If Cutler is not protected, the receivers cannot make plays. On one of the three straight sacks, Devin Hester, Johnny Knox and Dane Sanzenbacker were all open after running excellent routes that created separation from New Orleans' cornerbacks. However, Cutler was dropped in three seconds.
Besides not protecting Cutler, the running game did not get any production, having 60 yards with running back Matt Forte accounting for 49 yards. So far, Chicago has 148 rushing yards in two games.
Some of the blame goes to Marion Barber being injured, but the offensive line is not creating a strong push or creating good running lanes for Forte and Kahlil Bell to make plays.
The Bears' defense also got really burnt out in the second half, as the offense did not produce anything. The Saints had a fourth-quarter drive for 8:01 that concluded with a 12-yard touchdown reception to Darren Sproles for the final knockout blow.
Green Bay, a strong defensive team with elite linebackers in Clay Matthews and A.J. Hawk, will make Cutler wish he was on a different team if Omiyale is at right tackle instead of Carimi.
Without a proper passing game and no running game, either, the Bears' offense cannot function. It will remain stagnant and overwork the defense, leading into more poor losses and a long offseason.
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