Monday, September 15, 2008

Hella Mistakes Cost Bears A Sure Win

The Bears slipped to 1-1 after a very disappointing 2nd half against the Carolina Panthers. The Bears started the game off strongly by forcing the Panthers to go 3-and-out. Darrell McClover then blocked a punt which was hauled in by WR Brandon Lloyd. Now I was stuck on I-80, because of flooding, on my way home from Indiana at this point, so I shared the excitement with Jeff Joniak and AM 780. I wish I would have gotten to see it, as I still haven't even seen a replay of it.

The Bears defense had a terrific first half. They got a lot of pressure on Jake Delhomme and knocked him around a few times. Bob Babich called a pretty good game overall and by showing blitz plenty of times, the Panthers offensive line committed multiple false starts. Their performance declined significantly in the 2nd half, probably because they were getting tired. They started missing tackles and didn't seem to bring as much pressure as they brought in the 1st half.

The offense looked kind of sharp in the 1st half, but could never close. They would move the ball down field and then some crucial mistake (such as Greg Olsen's 1st fumble) would prevent them from putting the ball in the end zone. Olsen had a bad game, but it's certainly no reason to write him off yet. I think he will be one of the biggest contributors next week against Tampa because he feels he needs to redeem himself.

Orton proved on numerous occassions he's still not ready to make the big play. He missed a wide-open Marty Booker down the left side which would have been a sure TD and most likely would have put the game away. He also missed an open Rasheid Davis down the right side. Orton made some horrible decisions throughout the game that could have proved more costly than they were. He threw at least 2 balls into heavy coverage that should have been picked by the Panthers. Luckily they weren't. And, of course, there was the 3rd-and-1 play on the last play before the 2-minute warning in the 4th quarter.

Ron Turner pulled an absolute bitch-move after the game. He told the media he called a run up the middle for Forte with and option for Orton to change the play if he didn't like the defense that he was showed. I'm sure this happens a lot in the NFL, but how often does an offensive coordinator throw his QB under the bus like that? Turner knows the fans have hated him for years now, and he knows that his job should not be secure. Orton ended up changing the play to a retarded quick pass out to the right side which should have been picked off. The very next play Turner says he calls for Forte up the middle again, but the Panthers called a time-out and Turner changes his play. I thought Turner had a good game until the end. He broke out of his normal pattern of running "Bears' Draws" everytime 3rd down comes up, but his ineptness came through at the most crucial part of the game to outshine any good play calling he made earlier. How do you have 3rd-and-1 and Matt Forte doesn't touch the ball on that play or the following play? That makes no sense to me.

Jason McKie has had an increased role in the offense this year, and I'm fine with that. He punched in a 1 yd TD run early in the 2nd half so Turner decided to go back to him during crunch time. The problem with that is when he got his TD, there was no pressure on him. I believe it was 1st or 2nd down. But when they Bears NEEDED a 1st down, they decided to go back to McKie who has career high in rush attempts is 8. I like Jason McKie. He is a very good blocker and was a big part of the Bears' success running the ball in 2006, but there is a reason he doesn't get many touches. He doesn't have great speed and he's just not much of a playmaker. Even on the 4th down when the Bears turned the ball over, McKie wasn't taclked right away. He was stuck at the line with nowhere to run, but he doesn't have the type of speed to drop back and run it outside after seeing there was no lane open. Not only do I think Forte would have gotten across the line initially, even if he didn't I believe he would have been able to cut outside and convert it for the 1st down. McKie was also responsible for a couple big-runs that were called back because of holding. The Bears don't have any options behind McKie at FB (Greg Olsen is 2nd on the depth chart) but considering his limited touches, it's not a big deal if he has a bad game once in awhile.

Brandon Lloyd had, what I perceive to be, a career game. Not only did he get a TD before even taking an offensive snap, he came up with some big catches throughout the game. Overall he had 5 catches for 66 yards and he seemed to be at the right place at the right time during the entire game. Lloyd has already destroyed his 2007 season totals in yards (14) and receptions (2). Many questioned the signing of Brandon Lloyd but so far has been one of Orton's favorite targets. Hopefully they can keep up the chemistry.

Devin Hester had one good kickoff return and didn't do much else. He had one catch, and a couple punt returns that went nowhere. He left the game in the 3rd quarter which turned out to be bruised ribs. I'm not sure of the severity of the injury, but we need him to be on the field even if he doesn't get any touches. He draws a lot of attention whenever he steps on the field.

Brad Maynard had a horrible game. He didn't have one solid punt all day, and on a day when he punted 7 times, we needed him to come through to limit Carolina's field positioning. Robbie Gould showed his beefed up leg from the start of the game, forcing Carolina to down the opening kickoff in the endzone. I don't know if he's juicing or not, but his leg strength has always been his biggest downfall and it doesn't seem to be a problem anymore.

The offensive line had a decent game overall. They only allowed one sack, and did create some lanes for Forte to run through. Hopefully they will keep it up, as they're already playing MUCH better than they played last year, although Olen Kruetz is still steadily declining. He seems to fall down on top of a defender every play instead of actually blocking them. He doesn't seem to do much else anymore. The line played real well early on, but as the game went on their play declined. I don't know if it was because they were getting tired or what, but they need to stay consistent throughout the entire game.