Man, was I wrong about this game .
I know what you’re thinking – if Saturday night’s extended look at starters is what we have to look forward to in ’10, bring in the moving trucks because the Bears will be cleaning house come next January…if not sooner.
But remember – this is just a preseason game…at least that’s what I tried telling myself as I laid down for bed last night. Here’s a look at the good, the bad and the Lovie from the Bears 14-9 loss to the Cardinals.
Well, there was…Oh yeah, what about that one play where…Aw, forget it.
You’ll hear coaches and even some media spin the fact that Chris Williams had a good night because he only allowed 1 sack. While that’s an improvement over his hospitable 4-sack performance from the previous game, it only takes one hit on your franchise QB to turn your season south.
Julius Peppers, Mark Anderson and Jarron Gilbert each recorded a sack. It was Peppers 2nd consecutive game with a sack. And the fact that we even mentioned Gilbert’s name in association with a positive play is reason for Jerry Angelo to crack a (half) smile.
Rookie QB Dan LeFevour may have been the brightest spot of the night. He went 10 for 12 for 100 yards, including a 3-yard TD toss to Juaquin Iglesias. With Collins and Hanie ahead of him, LeFevour won’t make the opening day roster (unless the Bears decide to trade Hanie). But another strong showing vs. the Browns this week could make it difficult for the Bears to hide him on the practice squad without another team picking him up.
The Bears didn’t run the ball much (only 18 times), but they had more success doing it than the previous two games. They averaged 4.3 ypc and Chester Taylor had 36 yards on 5 carries, including a 34-yard beauty.
…take away that long run and the offense rushed 17 times for 48 yards, or 2.8 ypc.
Jay Cutler had an off night – 10 for 20, 129 yards and 2 INTs. He later admitted that last week’s 5-sack shellacking may have led him to play a little nervous against the Cards. He made some bad throws, but in typical Cutler fashion, he made some incredible ones too, including a needle-threader to Johnny Knox between 3 defenders to keep one drive alive.
The Bears have big-time concerns at safety. After arriving late on TD passes against the Chargers and the Raiders, Chris Harris looked stone-footed on Derek Anderson’s 27-yard scoring strike to Stephen Williams. He even tweeted after the game it was one of his worst games ever. Danieal Manning forced a fumble and outplayed Harris. Makes you wonder if a Manning-Wright duo is the Bears best safety combo…
Allowing 14 points in a game isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But once again, the Bears couldn’t get off the field on 3rd down. On the Cardinals first TD drive (10 plays, 72 yards), they allowed AZ to convert 3 third-and-longs.
Special teams continued to be an issue. Robbie Gould had a field goal blocked when an Arizona defender came clean off the edge. Gould also missed a 48-yard field goal that bounced off the upright.
As for injuries, Lance Briggs left early in the second quarter with a sprained ankle and didn’t return. With Urlacher already out with a sore calf, the Bears LB corps is suddenly looking depleted. Luckily, they have 2 weeks to get well.
Ever the optimist, the Chicago Tribune quoted Lovie after the game as saying:
“That’s not how we planned it. We had opportunities early on. Not getting any points out of the two field goals hurt us. Defensively, we’re playing pretty good.”
Let’s hope “pretty good” will keep us in games against the high-scoring Packers and Vikings…not to mention the up-and-coming Lions in week one.