The Bears beat the Rams with an unimpressive 17-9 win earlier today. I’ve been pretty uninspired to write my post-game wrap because frankly the game was pretty unimpressive. Two non-playoff teams looked the part on a crisp December day on the putrid Soldier Field turf.
The offense looked good coming out of the blocks early, with Jay Cutler stretching the field with some deeper throws. Then, the Bears jump-started that broken down bus that they got off of running and actually moved the ball on the ground. A little bit. They toted the rock 38 times for 120 yards – barely over 3 yards per attempt.
On the other side of the ball, the Rams offense was in way over their heads, even against the banged up Bears defense. It seemed like the Bears did a decent job holding Steven Jackson in check, but when you look at the final stats, he totaled 112 yards on 28 carries. Jackson is a complete BEAST and is truly the only thing going for the Ram offense. Kyle Boller is really bad and consistently missed easy throws. Let me thumb through my notes and see what else jumped out at me. Filling in
The Bears entire opening day starting linebacking corp sat out today, with last man standing Lance Briggs sitting out with a knee. I have to admit, the trio of backups- Jamar Williams, Hunter Hillenmeyer and Nick Roach filled in quite well. They did a decent job holding Steven Jackson in check and looked good in pass coverage too. Hunter had an INT and Williams had a couple of passes defensed to go along with about 18 tackles.
Chris Williams moved from right tackle to his first start at the left tackle position, filling in for the injured Orlando Pace. Williams got schooled and gave up a sack on one play by Chris Long (Howie’s son), but otherwise held it down pretty well. I’m not ready to anoint him the starting left tackle of the future just yet, but he did OK. It’s hard to judge when you are playing such a weak opponent, but hey, it’s a start.
Overall, I’d say the O-line played above average. Again, it’s hard to judge when the opponent sucks as badly as the Rams do, but all in all, there were glimpses of potential. Hell, Frank Omiyale even had a nice play in the running game.
One Step Off
The wide receiver group didn’t exactly have a stellar game. It was nice to see Earl Bennett to get his first career TD and even more enjoyable to see him take a quick and bust off a long run after the catch. But as with most plays made by the receiving corp, there was a dark cloud to go with the silver lining. In Bennett’s case, it was a fumble at the end of his long run. Actually, before that it was him not being able to take that pass to the house for 6. He was a step off.
It really struck me with Devin Hester not even making a good effort to try to get his feet down on the near-TD pass from Cutler. A #1 wide receiver makes that play 10 out of 10 times. A #2 wideout at least tries to do the tap dance along the chalk. Hester is neither and the sooner we recognize that they sooner we can go about the business of getting a legit target for Cutler.
A Bad Day
In the ugly win, one unit that was particularly ugly this Sunday was Dave Toub’s Special Teams unit. Where to begin? Coverage units didn’t get the job done as it seemed that the Rams spent the entire first half in Bears territory. The punting unit had to burn a time out when they didn’t have enough men on the field. The fake field goal was a good idea, but poorly designed. The most exciting play of the game – the Johnny Knox electrifying kickoff return – was called back for a holding penalty. Special Teams have been good the better part of the season, but today was not their day. My special teams highlight had to be Brad Maynard with a solid tackle in punt coverage. Nice to see the punter get dirty once in a while.
Do a little advanced scouting, as the Bears’ next opponent – the Green Bay Packers – will be on Monday night football. Plenty of Packer week coverage to come throughout the week.