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Bears Sun Sep 12 2010

Detroit Defeats Chicago [REDACTED]

Footballic_Ramblings2.jpg The Detroit Lions --a team that has won exactly two games in the past two seasons-- defeated the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on a late touchdown strike from backup QB Shaun Hill to Calvin Johnson. The electric Johnson, aka: Megatron, leapt over the pedestrian Bears covermen and maintained full control and possession of the ball while placing two feet firmly within the end zone before landing on his bottom with certainty and a degree of panache with the ball still in hand. Bedlam ensued before the refereeing crew restored order by making a decisive and logic-based decision upon Johnson's reception to stick with the original ruling on the field of the play being called a "touchdown."

Or maybe none of that actually happened and the Bears are 1-0. Hide your faces, you Sons and Daughters of Ursas Chicago. The Bears won with a huge f*cking asterisk and you know it. This victory is as hollow as they come and was gift-wrapped for Lovie, et al by the NFL's rules and competition committee. The game was horrendous on both parts with neither squad scoring in the second half, following a 27-point "explosion" in the first half, until Matt Forte's late 4th quarter touchdown reception. In any case diagnose, analyze and opine on the Bears is what I do, so let's do that...

What Went "Right" For da Bears

Not. Much. But I'll wait for the "What Went Dreadfully Wrong" part to lambaste this crew.

Jay Cutler
Cutler for his part was astonishingly efficient, downright phenomenal if I'm really being honest. This game was entirely and exactly why Chicago's media and fans alike went so gaga for him before last year's "Season of Awful" (now out on DVD!) Cutler-Bot 5000 was fully armed and his laser-based trajectory and guidance system was fully operational as he found six separate targets for a total of 362 yards on 23 receptions with a whopping 10.6 yards per reception. His receivers were continually finding holes and seams within MoTown's admittedly less-than-stellar but not terrible secondary and all plaudits go to Cutler for silencing many, many critics (me fully included) coming out of his lackluster pre-season. On two spectacular (more because of the YAC from the receiver) passes to Matt Forte, Cutler displayed exactly what happens when he has the time and space to improv and dissect a defense on his terms. Cutler, for one day, you stand as a man amongst boys. You threw a terrible, terrible pick but I know you and know you'll give me plenty of opportunities to rip you on horrible decisions; you did well today. Dog did hunt!

Honorable Mention: Megatron
I know the box score only says 4 catches for 45 yards, which if you think about is still an average of 11.6 per, but Calvin Johnson went all out for the game-winning touchdown [redacted]. Kudos to you, sir! You gave an honorable first effort in what could amount to a breakout season/comeback season after being cursed with nagging injuries all of last year.

What Went Dreadfully Wrong

Namely, everything else. No, really, "Mrs. Lincoln, aside from that how was the play"-bad. Can you imagine the teeth-gnashing and dread emanating from all corners of Chicagoland if that touchdown catch by Calvin Johnson isn't reversed? Utter Jonestown scene. The offensive line? Constantly bullied by an above-average but by no means phenomenal Detroit defensive line. Ndamukong Suh was in his first real life NFL regular season game and he still was a marauding monster out for blood and willing to barter for organs in lieu of blood. The Lions sacked Cutler four times and harried him enough to make him bust out the Mr. Mopey look at least once by my count.

The secondary? Mercifully was granted an ounce of reprieve with Julius Pepper's bolt-out-of-nowhere sacking/crippling of Matthew Stafford. Stafford -- who, let's face it, is injury-prone -- had been toying with the Bears' defensive backfield in the first half and yet, I'm still confident in labeling this secondary as "Dreadful." You wait Bears fans, this schedule's offensive schemes are getting comically more difficult and, you know, proficient.

The running game? Persona non grata. I don't know if the running game lost a bet wherein it's not allowed to "show up" in Soldier Field, but, whoa, was this an ugly performance. Thirty-one rushing attempts, three different running backs and a grand total of 101 yards. Most glaring/telling of the running game's stalled efforts? The four and out at the Detroit one-yard line, wherein on three separate rushes (there was a Jay Cutler attempt to Greg Olsen in there) the Bears couldn't get the pigskin 3 feet and a few inches across the line and into the promised land. The Bears -- if you're keeping score at home -- have now not had a rushing touchdown since Week Eight of last season against the Cleveland Browns. Very telling if useless statistic coming from a self-proclaimed "We're Running Off the Bus" team.

Defensively the Bears were exactly what you expected. Slightly below average with a dash of "OK, I can deal with that." Julius Peppers was largely absent, save for his huge disabling and fumble-causing sack of Matt Stafford. Still, he was nowhere near as effective as he's going to need to be when the Bears face, for instance, Green Bay's ferocious offensive line in two weeks.

It's been 25 long years since the Bears won their first (and only) Super Bowl and judging by the results of their first game of the 2010 season, the faithful at Solider Field will be having to hold off on the victory parade for at least one more year...

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