In Marc We Trest: A Look at the Man Guiding the Chicago Bears
Going into Sunday night’s game, the Chicago Bears were perfect on the season at 2-0. Their opponent, the Pittsburgh Steelers were also perfect on the season, but they were perfect in all the wrong ways at 0-2.
The game was played in Pittsburgh. The Bears haven’t faced many 3-4 defenses, Steelers HC Mike Tomlin has taken the team to the Super bowl twice with one Lombardi Trophy to show for it. DC Dick LeBeau has been playing or coaching football since the late 1950s; he is a HOFer and knows how to destroy a good offensive game plan.
New Bears HC Marc Trestman is in his first year as an NFL Head Coach. He is considered to be an offensive genius and understands how to call plays to be effective. He has a bit of a different style of coaching and he is trying to make his way through the NFL season as the man in charge.
This game had all the makings of a trap game.
This game reminded me of the quote “If you truly want to test a man’s character, don’t give him adversity; give him power.”
The Bears started the game off very well. Trestman had a solid game plan to begin the game. They took their opening drive down the field in methodical fashion (13 plays) and kicked a field goal. It may not have been a touchdown, but it was points. The drive lasted 6:58 and covered 51 yards. It seemed to put Bears QB Jay Cutler into a rhythm and get everyone on the offense calmed down.
It also took some of the air out of the crowd. For a while.
The Bears second drive started at the Steelers 17 yard line after the Bears new MLB D.J. Williams ran through the line virtually untouched and hit Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and caused a fumble which was recovered by the Bears new OLB James Anderson. Three plays later and the Bears are in the end zone, up 10-0.
The Bears third possession is where things began to get interesting from a coaching perspective. The Bears were able to drive down to the 1 yard line and had 1st and goal. It took four attempts from the 1 yard line to score. Three of those attempts sent the Bears big bruising running back 245lb Michael Bush up the middle. On Bush’s second attempt, it looked like he might have crossed the goal line but it was close. The Bears chose to challenge the ruling on the field. After looking at replays I had a feeling the play would be upheld (no touchdown) because there wasn’t indisputable evidence to change the ruling on the field. I was right. The Bears punched it in on the next play anyways and led 17-0.
What made the challenge so interesting was, since Chicago lost the challenge, they were out of timeouts for the remainder of the half and there were still 17 minutes before halftime! The Bears had already called timeouts at the 9:36 and 3:16 marks of the 1st quarter; the failed challenge left them with zero.
In this game and this particular situation, I am actually okay with this. I realize it was early in the game and things can change quickly but “burning” these timeouts so early in the game didn’t affect me at all. If the team would’ve needed them later in the half and didn’t have them, I might be singing a different tune.
At this point of the game; the Bears had power. They were up 3 scores, and they were dominating the Steelers in every way.
Cue the character building…
Quarters 2 and 3 were a little frustrating as a coach and as a fan. I don’t like seeing the defense give up huge chunks of yards and, I don’t like seeing the offense not really do anything for long stretches of time; but that is exactly what both sides of the ball did.
By my count, the Bears drives in the 2Q consisted of 5 plays-16 yards, 3 plays-1 yard, 3 plays-4 yards. The Steelers where able to score a touchdown on a deep pass right before halftime and cut the lead to 24-10.
The 3Q wasn’t much better; 6 plays-14 yards (which resulted in a FG), 5 plays-7 yards and 3 plays-9 yards. I honestly don’t know if the offense went strictly into “slow down mode” as jay Cutler talked about in his press conference immediately following the game or if Dick LeBeau’s defense was giving Cutler and the offense fits. The Steelers were able to score another touchdown on a long play and pull to within 4 points 27-23.