Good: Four 20+ yard pass plays by Jay Cutler and company. Only three sacks and four quarterback hits allowed. Henry Melton had a monster performance with one sack, three tackles for loss. Lance Briggs looked every bit of the All-Pro linebacker he is, as the Arizona alum registered 14 tackles – ten solo, with a pair of “stuffs.” Brian Urlacher made another quick, read and react interception. Furthermore, it was an impressive diving grab. Secondary options tight end Kellen Davis and wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher each produced a terrific touchdown reception.
Bad: 12 rushing attempts for 13 yards says it all. Losing the all-important time of possession battle (37:29 – 22:31) by more than 15 minutes hurts because the offense cannot find a rhythm and have the ability to wear out the defense, while on the other hand, it gets our defense tired, which has them anything but fresh and rested for key third down plays late in the game. Speaking of third downs, converting three out of 12 on offense isn’t getting the job done, yet, what can you do when it’s always “third and forever?” Too many times Cutler was throwing high or someone, whether it was Knox (only four catches despite nine targets), Williams (zero catches on four targets), Davis or even the fullback Clutts, had a drop. Nonetheless, a whole slew of errors via the aerial attack. Anyways, Jay looked erratic and his receivers didn’t help him as much as you would like.
So, Packers safety Morgan Burnett, who had two picks, was the guy the Bears targeted in the third round two years ago – but Green Bay traded up ahead of us to snag him. Instead, we now have an injured and disappointing Major Wright. Lastly, ten negative gains makes the run game tough to stick to in defense of Martz’s lopsided, pass-heavy playcalling. Ryan Grant consistently had huge holes to run through; as evidenced by his 5.4 yards per pop average. Johnny Knox’s punt return got nullified after a Corey Graham hold, which was not needed to spring Knox to the house. Lastly, the “no-call” on the Cutler to Devin Hester deep bomb against Charles Woodson should have been either a flag or a touchdown. Tough break on what could have been a momentum-changing play.
Next: 1-2 Bears vs. 1-2 Panthers, Noon CT.
Quote to note: “Lot of miscues,” Cutler said. “There were spurts of good football, just inconsistent, and against a team like that you are never going to beat them.” Which begs the question: will the Bears brutal offense offset a championship-caliber defense, so much, that the season will fail and fall short of the Playoffs because Mike Martz’s unit is unable to exhibit balance?