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Bears Mon Dec 27 2010

Footballic Ramblings: Shootout!

Footballic_Ramblings2.jpg The Bears offense was humming on all cylinders against a purportedly dominant New York defense and yet the defense --typically, so steady and suffocating-- fell apart against of all teams, the Jets? Snuh? In any case, through the snow, the wind and the doubters, the Bears rolled up another win, 38-34. Standing between the Ursa Chicagoans and a first-round bye? The glowering and grim -faced Green Bay Packers. Through the smoke and rumblings of 15 games, these two teams have been keeping an eye on one another, knowing Week 17 was yet to come. For the Packers? A win and they're in the playoffs. For the Bears? Win and they get the bye. A loss? They likely will be facing the Packers again the following week at Soldier Field.

Before that grudge match though, let's review the Bears recent win against the New York Jets. You know, what went right and what went wrong and what went "meh."

The Bears Offense, They Went Right. So Right.

Fifty-four plays for the Bears offense. Exactly 50% of those were running plays. Balance. Smart distribution of the play calls by Martz (I'm astonished, just like you) and Forte running with purpose made for a long day at the office for Jets defenders. Forte on 19 carries (a long of 32 and 22-yard tuddie scamper) had 113 yards. Not a bad average of 3.5 ypc after taking out the long runs against a very decent NY run defense. Forte being this active in the offensive game plan makes Jay Cutler's job so much easier; a trend that will have to continue for the Bears to have any playoff success, fyi.

Additional plaudits go to the always (and mostly deserved) maligned Bears offensive line. The o-line kept Cutler's jersey pretty tidy for the most part, only allowing The Petulant One to be sacked twice. And arguably, he held onto the ball for too long in both cases. In any case, the o-line has looked pretty good for the second half of the season (as good as they have in at least three seasons, I'd say) and the offense is improving as a result. Shocking, the correlation there. #obvsalert #sarcasm

Still, the improved running game and pocket protection allowed Cutler-Bot 5000 to boot up, calibrate its targeting system and launch some quick strike tuddie bombs to Herrs Knox und Hester in what amounted to the Bears equivalent to the blitzkrieg. In an astonishing span of approx. seven minutes Cutler found Knox (40-yard touchdown), Hester (25-yard touchdown) and Knox again (26-yard touchdown). Cutler in this span threw at Darrelle Revis (New York's "Do not pass 'Go', do not collect $200.00" jailer of a cornerback) once (I believe) and bullied the remainder of New York's secondary. Knox in particular was simply abusing whichever CB was rotating to him and Cutler took due advantage.

The Bears Defense Surrendered 34 to the Jets?!?!

The Jets offense isn't exactly burning up the field out there on most Sundays; they're 19th in the league in terms of total offense. They're averaging under 22 points a game. For comparison's sake, the Bears are averaging a blah 22.1 ppg. Again, these aren't the 1999 St. Louis Rams or 2007 New England Patriots. So why was the Bears defense gasping for air and running around in all sorts of confusion and ...gasp... giving up 4.7 yards per carry (minus his long of 18) to of all people, Shonn Greene? Well, good question, concerned and discerning sports fan. There's not an easy answer either, I'm afraid. The Jets have a very good offensive line and this was a case of the Bears defensive line simply getting overmatched. Julius Peppers had a very average game (he's allowed that, his back is sore from carrying the defense all season long) and the linebackers were getting blocked out the tackling equation in some instances by the Jets o-line. It happens. If it happens in the playoffs, it's probably Doom for the Bears, but, y'know, it happens.

The Bears secondary too suffered from the defensive line getting battered about like a ragdoll. Gone were the forced throws and easy pickings of a QB's desperate throws. Instead, Mark Sanchez had adequate time to deliver pass after pass, keeping the Jets in the game. Again, it happens. If it happens in the playoffs, it's gonna be a short, short trip to the playoffs.

Preview of Chicago-Green Bay blood feud will be up later this week. Thanks for reading.

 
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