Observations of a Mad Scientist (Bears Pillage the Viking’s Village)

The legend of the Mad Scientist and his monster goes like this: Mad Scientist brings to life a once inanimate “creation”. Mad Scientist uses the monstrous being to horrify and ravage the local town. Local mob organizes, grabs torches, hunts down the “monster” and captures Mad Scientist, sending him to asylum for the rest of his days…

But that’s not the way it really happened. 

The truth is the Mad Scientist wanted to present his monster to the world, to display with pride his life’s accomplishment; his only desire was to receive recognition for his accomplishment, his genius. But the locals weren’t appropriately impressed. They made snide comments like: It’s not a real “being”; “it hasn’t played against any tough opponents”; “it’s doesn’t have good footwork”; “it can’t convert 3rd and long against a 7-man blitz” or “wait til it hits the playoffs, then it will melt down” .

And through all of this verbal buffoonery, through all of this shallow and callous ignorance, the Mad Scientist could only wonder: why can’t they understand the beauty of what he’d accomplished? Why can’t they appreciate the sheer magnitude of his genius? Why can’t they see beyond the frayed stitching and the loosely hanging shreds of skin? This creature can move. It can run effectively (some of the time); it can pass (with reasonable accuracy and precision); it can fall down roughly and get back up tumble after brutal tumble.

If you ever wondered why the Mad Scientist commanded his creation to go to town and pillage the village, this is why. Because the Mad Scientist became overwhelmed by his frustration and exasperation at their idiocy, and decided that they deserved it!

1) Playcalling

  • The box score says: 33 rushing plays, 24 pass attempts, which for once is accurate. Cutler didn’t scramble at all, and the line only gave up 1 sack.
  • Passing Performance: JC was 14 of 24 or 194 yards, 3 TD, 1 INTs
  • Of the 33 Rushing Plays: 17 were for Forte, 11 for Taylor and Garrett Wolfe got into the action on the last series with 4 consecutive rushes.
  • This does not include the kneel downs at the end of the game.

2) First Down / Third Down

  • The story on first down was Forte’s effectiveness and Taylor’s ineffectiveness (again!)
  • 15 First Down Rushing Plays:
    • Forte: 44 yards on 9 carries, average 4.89 yards.
    • On the positive side: Forte had five carries that were for more than 5 yards.
    • On the negative side: Forte only had 1 carry of no gain and one for minus 2 yards.
    • In contrast, on first down, Chester Taylor gained 4 yards on 6 carries for an average of 2/3 of a yard.
    • Wolfe had four carries total and gained 8 yards for a 2 yard average.
    • The story on 3rd down was Martz’s pass-happy blind side (again)
      • The Bears were 2 of 10 on 3rd down for a conversion of 20%.
      • 7 of them were 7 yards or shorter (one was 8 yards and two were for 9 yards), which should mean that Cutler has a better chance, but this week (whether it was the weather or an adjustment by the Vikings), JC did not convert from that distance.
      • It’s possible that had something to do with Martz’s playcalling; Martz called pass plays on the first EIGHT 3rd downs. He only ran for it, once the game was well in hand.

3) Things that make you go “hmm”:

  • Sometimes, a play happens so quickly, that’s it hard to realize what happened. But, besides the obvious yardage gain, there’s something about it that’s seems special: the way the hole emerged, the way the defense collapsed in the second level, the way the runningback cut with authority. The play that made me very excited about the prospects for our Bears offensive line came in the fourth series.
  • The play was the “handoff-sweep” that the Bears brought out against the Eagles. Forte ran to the left side, broke into the second level and gained 14 yards.
  • The first thing that surprised me was watching Greg Olsen get a perfect edge block on their defensive lineman. Then Olin got a great cut block to seal off a blitzing linebacker. Omiyale pulled and got a great block outside. Even Bennett had sustained his block on the corner for at least 3-4 seconds.
  • The execution of this play (the BLOCKING on this play) was damn near perfect! I have written so many criticisms of the offensive line this year that I wanted to give them a shout-out for what was truly a thing of beauty!

4) Editorial Comment on the Running Backs:

  • Forte is having a tremendous year: without Forte’s production rushing the ball, the Bears would be far from where they are and JC would be in the hospital.
  • He just killed the Vikings strong safety!
  • He carried Jared Allen 5 yards on a play where Jared began his tackle at the line of scrimmage.
  • He is very patient, waits for Olin or the guards to get into position for their blocks, then hits the hole with authority. (In contrast, Chester Taylor is outrunning his blocking, because he’s pressing, and this is why, primarily, he’s been so ineffective).

5) Mad Genius Strikes:

  • The Bears can (sometimes) run inside. They ran what I thought was the same play twice. But I was deceived.
  • The first time (in the second quarter), the Bears ran an odd inside lead play.  The two guards both blocked right, actually looking like they were pulling to the right; Olin held up his inside tackle for a good 3 seconds; with Olsen leading through the hole (he did a nice job against the Free Safety), Forte ran straight-ahead for 10 yards. The beauty of this play was that the “pulling” motion of the two guards drew the weakside linebacker towards the wide side of the field (away from the hole). The Linebacker in essence was tricked out of the play.
  • The second time (in the third quarter), the Bears ran the same backfield motion, but Williams blocked inside; Olin did a nice job of backstepping around Williams to get into and lead Forte through the hole. He almost “held” the safety but released quick enough to avoid the penalty. Olsen did a nice job on the linebacker here and Forte ran straight ahead for another nice gain.
  • The same “play” but two different blocking schemes. The Bears O-line doesn’t get these right all the time, but they do seem to be getting better every week.

6) WTF –

  • Timeouts (again)! We called our first timeout on the 6th play of the game! Coach Martz, can you please script at least the first 10 plays of the game (or just the first series)? Please!
  • Red Zone
    • We started series on the Vikings 14, 47, 6, 45 and 32 yard lines. We finished those 5 offensive series with 1 touchdown (and four field goals – thank you Robbie Gould for being Mr. Consistency!)
    • The touchdown was a ridiculous 1st down and 30 after two penalties, and JC hit Knox for a fly pattern down the sideline. (A shout out goes the Vikings safety who woefully under-ran the pass)
    • But on each of the other series, we ended up with four 3rd downs that we didn’t convert.
  • Was it just me or did it seem like the Vikings were allowed to follow-through on hits against Cutler? The Vikings only sacked Cutler once, but they seemed to knock him down six or seven times, and on almost every single one, it seemed like they drove him into the turf well after the throw was away.

7) Summary

The Bears, ladies and gentlemen, are NFC North Champions! I didn’t predict it. I can’t even explain it! But, I am happy to sit here and marvel at that surprising but wonderful reality. The Vikings (like their stadium) is a shambles waiting for a complete reconstruction. The Lions are up and coming, but have a huge mountain to climb (called “learning how to win”). And the Packers… the media darlings, the offensive equivalent of ballet dancers, the Ferrari to our Bears’ Trans Am… are ONE loss away from missing the playoffs!

Going into the last two games, I would like to see the Bears continue to focus on wins, and to push for home-field advantage. They need, once again, to prove to themselves and those idiot media “experts” (like me) that they really ARE a good football team.

8 ) Special Commentary Rebuttal

And finally, I would like to make a special comment on Tim Hasselbeck’s inexplicable critique of Jay Cutler’s “lack of development” this year: Tim Hasselbeck opined that Jay Cutler is not a Top 10 quarterback , nor that he will EVER be if he doesn’t improve his technique, specifically his foot mechanics and his holding of the ball with one hand. And he claimed that Cutler has demonstrated that he is “uncoachable” because he hadn’t improved on those techniques through the course of this season, essentially saying that if he’s not willing to let Coach Martz re-train him on these fundamentals, then he will never improve under any coach.

Mr. Hasselbeck: You’re a moron! And here’s why: Mike Martz has one of the most complex offensive schemes in the league, which is dependent on a series of “hot reads” based on the alignment and blitz scheme of the defense. Jay Cutler had had three offensive coordinators in three seasons prior to this fourth one. What would YOU prioritize your time, effort and focus on: would it be “foot mechanics”? Or would it be making certain that Jay understood the Offensive Playbook, including especially the hot reads which this offense is predicated upon?!? Do you think forcing your quarterback to think about his throwing motion or drop-steps is a good idea when he’s learning an entirely new football SYSTEM??? On the fly??? Mr. Hasselbeck, you are, without a doubt, this year’s biggest “can’t see the forest for the trees” Moron!

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  • Doshi

    Better include Dilfer in that conversation of “moronic” critics. He claims that Cutler will never be a SB winning QB if he can’t carry his team to victory. I must remind you that this is Trent Dilfer, the guy that Ray Lewis quite literally dragged, kicking and screaming, to a Super Bowl victory.

    • N8

      AMEN TO THAT!! Dilfer is tbe biggest douchebag as far as commentators go. His only claim to fame is, oh wait, nothing and yet he is an expert on what makes a good quarterback just because he played for 5 different and finished his lousy career with more int’s that td’s. He might as well be on a street corner washing windshields than supposedly being a so called “analyst” of the game.

    • City

      Good catch Doshi! Besides the obvious happiness it would give me, it would make my year to make Dilfer eat his words for saying the Bears have “no chance” to make the playoffs.

      I keep coming back to this thought: the Bears are healthy. If they can get to the playoffs without any major injury losses, then they have a legitimate chance to win the NFC. When I look at Atlanta, I see an offense that’s tailor made to be beat by our Bears.

  • City

    Meant Super Bowl*