|« Durant Beat Bulls, Bulls Beat Dead Horse||Spotlight on Whitney Young's Jahlil Okafor »|
Bears Mon Nov 12 2012
On a night when the Bears offensive line surprisingly did a fine job (with some help from the skill players I might add) against a defense led by Defensive Player of the Year candidate J.J. Watt, Jay Cutler gets hurt. It wasn't even on a sack (since the Bears didn't give up any). Instead, it was on a play that resulted in offsetting penalties (though it should've been a completion to get the Bears in scoring position) and has put the Bears season in peril. Somebody get Josh McCown on the phone...
Without Cutler, you saw what the Bears offense becomes. Instead of a mix of running and taking shots down the field, you have a quarterback in Jason Campbell that doesn't want to make the big mistake, and instead, chooses to check it down (with Cris Collinswoth begging the Bears to throw it to Matt Forte more). Don't get me wrong, the Bears can win games with Campbell under center (and I'm happy the Bears spent money on him), but the team becomes a mirror image of what you see in Houston and San Francisco (opponents, ironically, last night and next Monday). They become a team that can't come back from a two score deficit.
The Bears/Texans tilt was a series of missed opportunities and poor play by a few select players. Cutler played badly. Brandon Marshall dropped a touchdown pass (though he deserves credit for his play otherwise). Brian Urlacher missed numerous tackles (including one on the final drive that shortened the field goal from 46 to 42 yards) and failed to shed blocks and fill holes on Houston's only touchdown drive. Michael Bush fumbled and missed a block that nearly turned into a pick six. And then there's Kellen Davis.
Lovie Smith, Mike Tice, and any other member of the Bears coaching staff who gets asked about Davis always gushes about his size, physicality and potential greatness. I don't know about you, but I'm through with this "potential" crap. Davis fumbled on the opening drive, blew countless blocking assignments, ran a soft route on Cutler's first interception, ran a soft route and didn't turn his head on a ball from Campbell that almost got picked, and dropped a huge pass on 3rd and 11 that would've gotten the Bears to midfield on the second to last possession.
We'd all love for Davis to be cut tomorrow, but the Bears won't do it midseason. You can bet we won't hear the coaches defend him to the media any longer though. He won't be in Chicago after the season, and it has many people wondering why Greg Olsen was ever traded in the first place.
Olsen didn't fit into the Mike Martz "my tight ends only block" offense because he was terrible at that one particular aspect of the game. He also fumbled often enough for the team to dump him despite being a sure-handed receiver, along the fact that Martz was likely to be fired at the end of last season regardless.
And don't forget -- Olsen was traded to the Carolina Panthers for a third round draft pick in the 2012 draft. That pick for Chicago? Traded to the Miami Dolphins for none other than Brandon Marshall, the guy that already has more receptions, yards, and touchdowns than any other team leader in each of those statistical categories from last year. So please stop whining about the Olsen trade already.
The Bears still lead the division. If there's anything positive that can be taken out of last night's game, it's that. But with Cutler's status questionable for next week and possibly beyond, those Green Bay Packers, who people started to doubt after their loss to the Indianapolis Colts (who are 6-3 themselves), now sitting just one game out of first in the NFC North.
The goal hasn't changed. The Bears need just three more wins to make the playoffs -- where anything can happen once you get there. But they now only have seven more chances. And with Campbell potentially starting next week against the 49ers (whose starting QB, Alex Smith, also suffered a concussion Sunday), the standings are beginning to tighten up.