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Bears Fri Sep 14 2012

Bears Offense Collapses Under Relentless Pressure

Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.png"If I were making a cut-up of the game tonight, it would be all about the Bears implosion." NFL Network color commentator Mike Mayock pretty much nailed it.

Sure, the fake field goal seemed like a stake in the heart when it happened, but it was just one in a series of events that led to the Bears 23-10 demise at Lambeau Field.

Four Jay Cutler interceptions (three of them his fault, one Earl Bennett's), an incorrect 12 men on the field penalty, a dropped pick by Lance Briggs, a dropped touchdown by Brandon Marshall (not to mention him forgetting to turn around for another sure TD), the list is endless.

Don't think the coaches don't deserve blame too. The offensive game plan throughout the first half was perplexing considering the 49ers dismantled the Packers defense just four days prior by running the football with multiple tight end formations, then progressing to play action passes to move down the field consistently. The Bears dialed up run plays on just two first downs in the opening half, leading to an average of 16 yards to go on third downs.

It's hard to lay a ton of fault on the Bears defense in this game. They gave up just one touchdown (on a blown coverage by Major Wright) and three field goals while consistently be dealt terrible field position via turnovers. Tim Jennings intercepted his third pass on the year, and despite giving up chunks of yards on the ground, the unit held firm when they needed it most on third downs.

All signs were pointing in the Bears direction pregame too. Greg Jennings was unable to go for the Packers with a groin injury, while Charles Tillman and Brian Urlacher were both in the starting lineup. Tillman came up with a patented punch forced fumble and recovery late in the third quarter, which is miles more than what Urlacher contributed. Number 54 looked like he was running in quicksand most of the night, falling into traps and not being able to recover with his legendary speed and change of direction.

Despite a new stable of receivers that Cutler had the utmost confidence in during the lead-up to Thursday's game, the much maligned Bears quarterback had little time to get the ball to them, and when he was able to, the throws were either well off target, or the receivers dropped passes and didn't adjust their routes. The Bears high octane offense got sugar dumped in their gas tank by Clay Matthews and his three and a half sacks along with blanket coverage from the Packers DBs.

As badly as the game was going, the Bears only trailed by 13 at half, and down 10 to start the fourth quarter. They were in the game throughout. The violent collapse of the entire offense from coaching, to protection, to quarterbacking, to receivers not working hard was the reason why they could never make a serious run at a comeback.

There was no reason for the Packers to panic after their opening loss to the 49ers, and there's no reason for Bears fans to panic either. Though talented offensive linemen aren't walking through the door to tighten up the protection (I'm staring at you, J'Marcus Webb), many of the Bears issues are fixable. Better blocking help from tight ends, Cutler stepping into his throws, and communication with receivers can all be fixed - especially with ten days to prepare for a bad Rams team back at Soldier Field.

Lovie Smith said it best, "It only goes down as one loss in the record books." That's a relief - because it felt far worse than a single beating while it was happening live.

 
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