Packers goal vs. Bears in rubber game: Stop the runContinue reading.
The Pros and Cons
It was an ugly, ugly game, even though the Bears eked out the win.
Here are three pros and three cons.
1) Matt Forte and Chester Taylor are a very nice one-two punch.
It’s obvious both can thrive in Mike Martz’s offense. Forte also showed his speed on the 89-yard touchdown.
2) The defense dominated.
Sure, it would have been great to rack up a few more sacks. But the unit forced eight — yes, eight! — three-and-outs and got three turnovers. That the offense didn’t do much isn’t the defense’s fault. All told, the defense held the Lions to 168 net yards and only allowed them to convert four of 14 third downs. Most encouraging of all, in my opinion, was the play of the cornerbacks, who helped limit Calvin Johnson and Nate Burleson to a combined 64 yards.
3) The special teams was solid.
Not spectacular, but solid. That’s an achievement, given the dreadful preseason they had. They didn’t pop any big returns, but they also didn’t give any up. Robbie Gould made both of his short field goals, and Brad Maynard had a decent day, often punting from Lions’ territory.
1) Jay Cutler doesn’t look comfortable.
The numbers look great: 372 yards passing, with a rating of 108.3. But, by my count, Cutler held the ball too long on at least two of his four sacks. He also looked tentative when he had space in front of him. It also didn’t help that his receivers dropped his passes or ran what appeared to be the wrong routes. The biggest drop was by Devin Aromashodu, who would have had a 38-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game.
The miscommunication that comes to mind was early in the fourth quarter, on a third-and-four, when Johnny Knox broke for the right sideline and Cutler threw the ball down the field.
2) The offensive line not opening up running lanes.
The Lions defensive line is vastly improved, especially inside. Corey Williams, rookie Ndamukong Suh and even Sammie Hill made their share of impact plays. But, the Bears struggled to get a push at the line of scrimmage, averaging a modest 3.3 yards per run. Subtract Cutler’s 22 scrambling yards, and Taylor and Forte averaged three yards per carry.
3) The defensive end opposite Julius Peppers.
Peppers didn’t disappoint in his debut, with a sack, forced fumble and two other quarterback pressures. And while Mark Anderson and Israel Idonije each had a tackle for loss, they didn’t exactly harass the Lions quarterbacks. They’ve got one-on-one match-ups, and one of them is going to have to be able to consistently beat them for this defense to be at its best. According to the official game book, neither Anderson nor Idonije had a quarterback pressure. Against a suspect Lions offensive line, the Bears defensive line had one sack (the other sack was by Brian Urlacher) and four quarterback hurries (Urlacher also had one of those).