As the final seconds ticked off the clock in today’s 21-13 Bears loss to the Green Bay Packers, Peanut Tillman chased down the referees to voice his displeasure towards them. The Bear fans that remained at Soldier Field hurled empty beer cups and shouted expletives at Walt Anderson's crew as they left the field . Inside the locker room, players were questioning the referee’s calls against Alshon Jeffery and the no call against Sam Shields. The Bears can point the fingers all they want at the referees, but the fact is, the Bears offense lost this game, not the refs!
The Bears couldn’t have started the game off any better, other than scoring points. The first drive saw 9 plays picking up 44 yards. The offensive line was playing physical and Forte was running hard. The drive stalled, but the offense was actually showing promise. After that, the Bears had the ball 11 times on offense and only had three drives of more than four plays. Let me repeat that, three drives!
As all Bear fans know, the problem starts up front. Other than the first drive, the offensive line was getting blown off the ball. Forte had 6 carries for 37 yards on the first drive (6.1 yards a carry), but only picked up 32 yards the rest of the game on 14 carries (2.2 yards a carry). For a team that prides itself “getting off the bus running,” those numbers just aren't going to cut it.
The problems don’t end with the offensive line. Jay Cutler again had another poor game against the Packers. He was reckless yet again with football and struggled all day finding open receivers. He ended the game completing the ball to only three different receivers; Brandon Marshall (6 rec), Matt Forte (5 rec), and Armando Allen (1 rec). Until Cutler is able to identify another receiver other than Marshall, we will never be a capable offense. Good offenses spread the ball around (look at the Packers and Patriots). There’s never been a successful team that features only one legitimate threat at tight end or wide receiver.
The Packers on the other end have a speedy slot receiver in Randall Cobb. He was nothing more than a kick returner until this year (sound familiar Bears fans?). They do a great job getting him the ball in space, pitching the ball to him out of the backfield, and hitting him on quick hitters. While McCarthy continues to be creative with Cobb, Tice continues to try and use Hester as a “traditional” receiver. If I’m Mike Tice, I watch how the Packers use Cobb and tell Hester “Figure it out!”
With the loss today, Jay’s now 1-7 all-time vs. our neighbors to the North. As all Bear fans know, that’s a major problem. In those eight games, Jay has thrown 8 touchdown passes to 17 interceptions. In his one victory (2010 game at Soldier Field), Jay ended up with 1 TD and 1 INT, but had several interceptions called back on questionable penalties against the Packers. If Jay wants to consider himself an “elite” quarterback, he needs to find a way to preform against the elite teams.
It’s hard to accept as a long time Bears fan, but the better team won today. If the Packers didn’t have the modern day Carlos Huerta (Mason Crosby) kicking for them, or didn’t attempt that boneheaded throwback on Cobb’s punt return, this could have easily been a 27-10 game. Sure, the calls against Peppers and Jeffery were brutal, but that didn't even compare
to the Bears offense. 190 yards off total offense, need I say more.