5.) D-Line / Run: Ugh. Brandon Jacobs looked like Christian Okoye from Super Tecmo Bowl. When you give a 260 RB a few yards to build up steam, he’s going to be tough to tackle. Brandon Jacobs averaged 2.2 YPC in the first 5 weeks of the season and then 4.8 YPC against the Bears in week 6. The 31-year-old Jacobs didn’t find the fountain of youth in the last week and didn’t have enough time to go to Germany for one of Kobe’s experimental/steroid knee treatments; The Bears D-line is just bad right now. This has to be fixed soon or the Bears are in trouble because they don’t get to play the Giants every week .
6.) D-line / Pass: The Bears can no longer get pressure on the QB only rushing 4. It’s the sad truth. In 6 games the Bears D-line has 4 sacks. About halfway through the 2nd quarter, I started keeping track of how the Bears did when only rushing 4 players; On third down plays when the Bears only rushed four (BORFs) they only stopped the Giants once. I’ll be tracking these more closely the rest of the year and will have some updated BORF stats tomorrow after I watch the tape.
7.) Robbie Gould / Devin Hester: Hey Devin, don’t talk to Robbie like that. It’s not 2008 anymore. You may have been able to get away with that when you were a threat to run back kicks every week, but right now Robbie is the best kicker in football and you are a barely mediocre return man.
8.) Next Man Up: The Bears have been hit hard by injuries, but that is pretty normal in the NFL. If the Bears are going to make the playoffs, they need their 2nd (&3rd) string to step up. On Thursday Isaiah Frey, Zach Bowman, Shea McClellin, Landon Cohen, and Zach Minter all got more playing time then they would have sans injuries. Here is a quick synopsis of how they did:
Isaiah Frey: Blitzed twice in the 1st quarter and recorded two QB hurries. Eli also threw INTs on both plays. For some reason the Bears went away from blitzing Frey after that, but either way he made a big impact early. Frey missed a key 3rd down tackle on Bear Pascoe on a drive that eventually resulted in a Giants TD, but for the most part was solid. I feel comfortable with him on the field.
Zach Bowman: Had the INT on the Giants first drive, but that was really the last positive play Bowman made all game. Bowman missed two tackles, seemed to always be a step or two behind in coverage, and graded out at a -2.6 in coverage according to Pro Football Focus. Let’s hope Tillman is back next week.
Shea McClellin: I mentioned Shea earlier, but not sure that was enough to cover how bad he was against the run. The Giants repeatedly ran right at McClellin and he was dominated by a mediocre rookie RT (mediocre is generous). PFF graded McLellin at -2.6 verse the run and -.7 verse the pass. Basically McClellin didn’t have a positive impact on any aspect of the Bears D. Unless rookies David Bass & Cornelious Washington can get better in a hurry, the Bears are stuck with McClellin at DE so hopefully this was just a fluke. I would be shocked if the Redskins don’t come out running right at McClellin like the Giants did.
Landon Cohen: Considering that Cohen has only been on the team for two weeks, he did a decent job Thursday. He put a little pressure on Eli (2 hurries) but got pushed around vs the run. I would feel a lot better about Cohen if he was our 4th DT and not forced into a starting role. Hopefully he will get better as he gets acclimated to the Bears scheme. Trestman singled out Cohen for his strong play in his post-game comments, so perhaps there were some positive plays that I missed.
Zach Minter: I’ll cover Zach Minter and the rest of the rookies in my Rookie Report tomorrow.
9.) Corey Wooten: There wasn’t much to be happy about on the defensive side of the ball, but Wooten was the exception. He provided consistent pressure up the middle on Eli and was the only D-lineman that got any penetration when the Bears only rushed four (6 hurries). It looked like Wooten also forced at least two holds that were uncalled by the refs. He was by far the most disruptive of the Bears d-lineman in only his 2nd game at DT. If Wooten can become competent at DT and Stephen Paea can come back next week, then at least there is a chance the Bears run defense can be respectable again.
10.) Defense Bombs: This may sound crazy and if you aren’t superstitious at all, you might want to stop reading now. Back in 2007 when the Bears made their last Super Bowl appearance, my friends and I used to watch the games at the Wild Goose Tavern on Lincoln & Montrose. Back then most of us were single, so Sundays usually were a drunken mess. Jager bombs were the shot of choice at the time and we somehow stumbled on to the idea that every time we did a bomb something good happened for the Bears. We started doing the bombs strategically when the Bears needed a good play and thus the legend of the Defense-Bomb was born. The Bears defense was awesome in 2006-2007 so it may have been somewhat of a coincidence, but I can count on 1 hand the times that “Defense Bombs” failed to result in a key stop or turnover. It’s been six years since the magic of the Defense Bombs helped carry the Bears to the Super Bowl and most of our group has moved away or become adults with wives/kids, so we no longer dominate the bar at the Goose during Bears games. But last Thursday a few of my friends made their way back to the Goose to watch the game and we were reminiscing on the magic of D-bombs via text. So when the Giants had the ball in the 4th quarter, down just 6 points with roughly 3 min to go in the game, we knew it was time to rekindle the magic and do a long distance Defense Bomb³. Needless to say, Eli Manning threw an INT a few plays later sealing the game for the Bears. The power of the Defense Bomb is no joke, I only ask that you don’t get greedy with it. They are only to be used in dire circumstances when the Bears defense needs a boost. I know it sounds crazy, but is it any crazier than the Bears making the Super Bowl in 2007 with Rex Grossman as QB?
¹I may use this excuse again for my Start’em/Sit’em picks depending on how my Monday night recommendations pan out.
²O-line grade courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com
³A defense bomb can be red bull and any variety of liquor you choose (jager, vodka, etc).