What a difference a week makes. The Bears offense took a major step back – or down if you’re Jay Cutler – as the Green Bay Packers handed the Bears their first loss of the season, a 23-10 drubbing that is not indicative of the beating that the Packers handed the Bears. Jay Cutler will be awfully sore on Friday morning as the Packers put him down 7 times and hit him numerous others.
When you’re assigning blame on this one, it’s on the offense and in all areas. I’m not sure if Mike Tice was up to the task matching wits with Dom Capers and his defense or if this was the result of a short week and lack of proper preparation but the offensive effort was an abomination.
The offensive line and guys left in for pass protection were not up to the task. Clay Matthews had 3.5 sacks to lead the way for the Packers. And he wasn’t just victimizing J’Marcus Webb. He was an equal opportunity sacker. He got Matt Forte on one, Chris Spencer on another and J’Webb on at least one other. J’Webb added a false start for good measure.
Another offensive lineman who really hurt the team with a costly penalty was Gabe Carimi. As the Bears were marching for their first positive drive of the game, Carimi got caught retaliating to a cheap shot from AJ Hawk. Back the Bears up and kill the drive.
Earlier this week, Jay Cutler almost seemed to dare the Packers to press the Bears wide receivers. Using mostly a 2-man coverage (2 safeties over the top, man coverage underneath), it sure seemed to work. Bears wide receivers combined for 5 catches for 52 yards. Brandon Marshall ended the night with 2 catches on 5 targets and dropped two sure touchdowns.
The Bears tried to get the running game going, but just couldn’t get out of their own way early on. Matt Forte left the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury that didn’t seem to be too serious and the added time off should give him time to recover for the Rams. Michael Bush provided a bit of a spark spelling Forte, but it wasn’t enough.
The Bears defense held up admirably, holding the Packers offense down to 16 points, with the other 7 points coming on another Packers special teams score, a fake field goal no less. We’ll focus on the defense with some of our bullet points, but overall it was a solid effort bottling up the explosive Packer offense.
Here’s that fake field goal:
A few more notes of my first impressions:
- It was nice to see Shea McClellin get his first sack and a half. He did a nice job getting after Rodgers. Welcome aboard rookie!
- Henry Melton continued his strong play with a sack of his own. It’s key for him to be more consistent.
- Julius Peppers is an absolute beast. I really like when he slides inside on passing downs to clean up a collapsing pocket.
- Peanut Tillman is the best ball punched of all time. Case closed.
- Lance Briggs had to nab that interception.
- Speaking of interceptions, Tim Jennings added a third for the season. He’s ballin’ out.
- Brian Urlacher was up and down, showing signs of aging and signs of working back into shape. I think he’ll be fine.
- That fake field goal had to be payback for the Johnny Knox/Devin Hester punt return from last season, don’t ya think?
- The replacement refs totally screwed the Bears on the phantom 12 men on the field. It would have been one thing if the penalty had been called on the field, but to reverse that on a challenge by the Packers was absurd. That blown call put the Packers on the board and got the ball rolling.
That’s all I’ve got in me for tonight. Plenty more coverage as we get 10 days to dwell on this one as the Bears get ready for the St. Louis Rams at Soldier Field on Sunday September 23rd.