Hope On the Line

It was important for the defense to perform how they performed Sunday, opponent aside.  If it only served to get the taste of the Cincinnati Bungle out of their collective minds, it was well worth it.  The Browns stink - nobody disputes that - but the defense didn't mail in the effort and dominated the ballgame.

Sunday provides a real test for the unit at the season's crossroad. When the Arizona Cardinals are at their best, even without Anquan Boldin, they can dominate defenses through the air.  Kurt Warner is one of the best pure throwers in the game and there's not a receiver out there that Larry Fitzgerald takes a backseat to.  If their o-line holds, the Bears will be staring their first home loss directly in the eyes.

That can't happen.  Not if the Bears have any pride.  Not if the Bears have any hopes of paying a ballgame in the postseason.  Ten wins will be needed to accomplish anything in 2009.  That means they must enter their Sunday night game at Soldier Field against the Philadelphia Eagles at 6-3.  Must.  And with the offensive line in total disarray and offensive coordinator on the brink of a meltdown, the defense will have to carry the water bucket to the top of the hill. 

It feels like every week or so, another game presents itself as a "must win".  This is what happens when you lose games you're not supposed to.  As a fan, I couldn't get into Sunday's game against Cleveland.  No upside.  The Soldier Field crowd on Sunday should act like the season is on the line.  Like hope is on the line.  Because it is.        

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  • Monday Night Football is pissing me off. The Saints just sacked Matt Ryan twice in one series...rushing THREE.

    Bears rushed 4...5...8...can't take him down once an entire game.

    The Bears suck.

    Midseason Super Bowl prediction: Colts v. Saints.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    If by "Saints" you mean "Bears" I totally agree with you. It is a common mistake so don't feel bad.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    No...I meant Saints. I'm a free-thinking Bears fan. When my teams looks like crap, I know it. Doesn't mean they can't improve in the next 9 weeks, but right now they're about #20 on my own personal power ranking.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Totally agree. I backed the Bears at 22-1 for the Bowl - kiss that baby goodbye. Saints look best by a mile. Every time Atlanta scored on them, marched right back down the field and did the same to them. Tough defense, ST. Peyton manning is such a post-season choker though, I wouldn't be surprised to see Cincy in the big one ... Orton doesn't have the arm tools to get there, but his D might come up trumps. Baltimore or Cincy v the Saints. Bears lucky if they make the playoffs. One and done if they do.

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    Since then both teams have been to and lost the Super Bowl.

    Different Bears. Different Cards.

    GREAT game, though. NFL Network had it at #6 comeback of all time.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    Nothing may be more in vogue right now in the NFL than the blitz. Not just your everyday run-of-the-mill inside LB blitz, but blitzes involving Corners, Nickles and Safties firing from all angles. While every team on occasion struggles picking up the blitz, the better teams are able to recognize it pre-snap and adjust their protection accordingly. Right now, the Bears aren't recognizing the blitz and they're certainly not adjusting to pick it up. This needs to change now. Perhaps it wasn't obvious during the game, but Matt Forte made several incorrect protection reads that resulted in his QB taking unnecessary shots from angry linebackers and 350+lb lineman.

    To make things even more difficult for an offense, a defense will not only bring pressure from the secondary but also stunt lineman to further confuse the protection assignments. It has been disappointing to watch veterans like Kreutz and Garza struggle with even the most basic defensive stunts. Obviously these vets have proven over the years they had the ability to get it done, and while the ability may be fading with wear and tear, the veteran savvy and mental awareness which should be making up for the drop in physical ability has not been there. The Bears cannot afford any more mental mistakes from their veterans and risk getting their RB and QB killed. The vets on this team need to look in the mirror and find some pride before going out of the NFL with a whimper. (Somebody cue the Cool Runnings scene about pride and power.)

    Jay Cutler has made a number of plays for this offense, but he certainly has room to improve himself. Jay not only needs to help his line read a defense pre-snap, but he also needs to make better decisions under duress. I know, easier said than done. While Jay has shown the ability to hang in the pocket and deliver a strike starring down the barrel of a blitz, he also needs to be more aware of where the blitzes are coming from and make the appropriate check down. On more than a few plays yesterday, Jay stared down his target and missed key check downs that could have gone for positive plays instead of taking a sack or throwing an INT.

    Moral of the story? Yes the o-line has been brutal. Williams has struggled with the bull rush and Pace has struggled with outside speed rushers. But Forte and Cutler have also been to blame for some of the woes on offense. Right now it's clear this unit has yet to find any rhythm and consistency and it's not because of any one player or any one coach. For this group to get in sync they need to do a better job of reading defenses pre-snap and they need to lose the mental mistakes that can cost a team more than just a single game.

    A couple random quick hits on offense:

    - The Bears RBs have found most of their success not by running into the backs of the lineman, but starting inside and bouncing it outside around a TE block when defenses over pursue.

    -The Bears need to get Greg Olsen out of the backfield. The only tight end who might have been able to accomplish the task of blocking like a FB was Michael Gaines, and now he's gone. Stop it. Keep speed where it belongs: down field, not in the backfield.

    Super Bowl XLIV: Bears v. Broncos in Miami. Yeah I've still got my kool aid. You'll be back for some too, don't deny it. I'll just be waiting here with Johnny Chitown to serve it up when you're ready to come back and taste victory once more. In the mean time, Bear TF Down.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    It was the game where I had my coat on to leave my buddies when Urlacher stripped the ball. It's the game mike brown returned one for a TD. It was the game that Hester brought us back. It's the rant that created my moniker for this site. It was one of the mosy exciting bears games I have ever seen.

    5-3.

    We let em off the hook!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m_N1OjGhIFc

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Listened to the game on internet radio and ran around (a thankfully empty house) screaming when they won. Must have been amzing to watch - never got to see it. But even just listening to it was amazing .... what a game. Miss you Brian.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Steelers v Giants. I think both teams will keep getting stronger as the season progresses.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    One step closer to the playoffs boys...the Falcons just lost to the Saints BECAUSE Matty ICE threw 2 huge interceptions. If you want to crown his ass and berate your own boys then go ahead and crown him. ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN IN THE NFL. Don't get too caught up in stats and the opinions of shitty pussy chicken little nerds like Rosenbloom or writers from OTHER CITIES telling you why the Bears won't do shit. Keep your beer cold, your wings hot, your whiskey room temp, your recliner reclined and your pajamas on the entire day. It's a whole new season. Mark my words...fuck that...CROWN MY WORDS! Mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!!!

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Crown, the Giants? Seriously?

  • In reply to JeffHughes:

    I know they looked bad against Philly and Philly is the sexy pick in the NFC right now. They have been there before recently, and I say they peak come January. Plus, I wanted to pick something no one else had.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Johnny and Shady, I'm an eternal optimist like you guys. Pisses off my friends and family, who are "realists". Lots of football left. Make the playoffs and anything can happen. There's a lot of football left.
    We can still win the division if we beat MN twice. As my Grandpa used to say, "Those who shit fast don't shit long". Well, Bart Farve has had explosive diarrhea this year. I think his shit is about to run dry.

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    mwa ha ha ha ha ha ha !!!

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    sorry Sherman-ator, too bad so sad, welcome to 4-3.

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    Johnny, I just read the game thread, and I agree about the fans sometimes. I could never go to a game and boo the Bears. I've only been to Soldier Field about 10 times, but I've been shocked by how many fans are missing / not in their seats during big games. One example:
    The SF / Mike Brown game in 2001. I got 50 yard line seats from a friend, just under the press box. Most seats were empty until late in the first quarter, and empty again by the end of the third quarter. It was a business trip for most of the people there. That was one of the greatest games I've ever seen.

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    I havent posted in a little bit, but I just read this article by MM on the SCORE and this excerpt quote from Lovie has me more fired up than old lady leary.

    Smith said. "Of course, he took a few more licks than we would like, but some days are like that".

    This statement is so incredibly unacceptable! It is UNFATHOMABLE that you would ever be willing to "accept" that there are going to be days like that when the "franchise" is on the line. I am sick.

    This isnt an issue of there being days like that, it's that this is happening every week and they aren't doing anything about it.

    Shotgun, move the pocket, set up the screen for Forte, do it every down if you need to, don't allow him to get hit ever. If he was an Aaron Rodgers or Ben R. then he is holding the ball too long and setting himself up for all these hits, but that's not what is going on. The gameplan coupled with the O-line "execution" failure is causing this problem.

    Argh!!!

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    Oh yea, just one comment on Britany Payton, she could also be called "sweetness" 8-)

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    Crown, Crown, Crown!

    What HAVE you been drinking? In he last 3 weeks the Giants have been run out of two stadiums on the road and lost at home to the notoriously "crappy in the eastern time zone" Cardinals? The G-men were DONE against the Saints and Eagles before the seats got warm.

    Johnny, you contradict yourself. "Bears in the playoffs....as long as Cutler stays healthy".

    As I said before, even money Cutler ends finishes this season on I.R.

    Cards will be an angry bunch this weekend. They gave away a home game with both hands this week. They were STILL IN THE HUNT in the 4th quarter, even after 5 INTs, including a pick-six! They will not miss Boldin vs. the Bears. Steve Breaston is more than capable of taking up the slack, they have 3 tight ends who can catch the ball and, oh yeah, there's that guy named Fitzgerald.

    Carolina was able to generate major pressure on Warner WITHOUT blizting. But, alas, we won't see Julius Peppers, who finally slammed the door with a sack/strip/fumble recovery to go with his pick-six earlier in the game, lining up for the Bears this week.

    Cardinals have had trouble getting big plays down field in their passing game so far this season, but against Lovie's "Cover Who?" defense I am betting they get well in a hurry.

    Beanie Wells shows some skill but he's also shown a propensity to lay it down.

    To beat the cards, the bears will have to be at least +3 or 4 in the turnover department Sunday.

    To those still shouting "Super Bowl" this season, I say "HUH?!"
    Can you actually picture the Bears lining up successfully against the Saints or Vikings at this point?

    The reason the Bears-Packers game was so close is because they are the same team. Good QBs they can't protect and running games that only function against the likes of the Cleveland Browns.

    Packers play Cincy. They lose.

    Packers play Cleveland, they win by 20+.

    Sound at all familiar?

    The Viking got to Aaron Rogers FOURTEEN TIMES in 2 meetings.

    You think those matadors on the Bears'O-Line are going to fair any better against "White Trash" Allen and the Williams Sisters?

    Cleveland couldn't get to Rogers even once, but managed to slam Cutler 4 times and be in his face ALL DAY.

    At this point, the offensive line is what it is and Mr. Turner better start schemeing his offense to account for it's lack of skill.

    Get real, folks. Jimbo Covert and "Big Cat" Williams will not be lining up at tackle for us on Sunday.

    It'll still be "Can't keep the" Pace and "Pussycat Williams".

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    Ron Turner should keep former Tampa and USC coach, John Mckay, in mind the next time he's asked about the offensive line he so strongly defended prior to Sunday's game.

    Question: "What about your offensive line's execution?"

    Answer: "I'm all for it".

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    Priceless. Perfect.

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    I agree Phil. I think most of the offensive woes fall on the o-line and their inability to block. But, some of this does go on Cutler. Jay has 11 TDs, 11 INTs, 80.8 rating, and has been sacked 11 times. The 11 sacks is 22nd in the league. Aaron Rodgers has been sacked more than double that (25 times) and is the second most sacked QB in the NFL. But, he has 14 tds, only 2 ints, and a 110 rating. The Packers O-line has been way worse in allowing sacks, yet Rodgers numbers are way better than Cuttys.

    It's time for Jay to step up and be smarter with the ball this week. Sense the pressure and get rid of the ball, go to your check downs if you have to, show us your as mobile and elusive as we think you are, don't throw into double and triple coverage, and don't take unnecessary hits. By that I mean, if there's only 2 extra yards to be had and no immediate first down to get, please save yourself and go out of bounds.

    The most surprising thing I have learned about our QB is how tough this kid is. How much he is willing to put his body on the line to win. What a competitor he is. I knew he had physical talent, but I didn't know he had elephantitis size balls.

    Time to earn the money, extension, and label "franchise" this week. I think Cutty does that big time this week.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Clearly if the OL is non-existent then Cutler's numbers suffer. You are not what your statistics say you are. Your statistics as a QB are largely related proportional to the amount of protection you get from your offensive line. Cutler is doing amazingly well considering he's on the run 24-7. He is officially the most pressurized QB in the NFL - throwing under pressure 33% of the time. Orton = 16% and P. Manning = 13%. Manning gets a lot of good press (too much) - but he's just the most unhassled QB in the NFL. Orton is getting ALL DAY to throw the ball and isn't putting up astounding numbers.

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    is it just me or is something up behind closed doors ? Lovie looks like he's flustered. RT too. Angelo over-ruling Smith. Something's going on ....

    People looking at Carolina tempering Air Warner as a good sign need to check base. The Panthers were #1 in the NFL in pass defense going into the game. We will not have 5 interceptions. We will get lucky with Boldin out perhaps, but Breaston is no slouch either. The thing is, that's just next week. The Niners will be tough. Baltimore ? The Vikes twice ? Philadelphia ! And the Cheeseheads. Putting the Vikings to the sword twice will be the only redeeming feature of the season ....

  • In reply to Albertintucson:

    This upcoming game against Arizona looms large for this team as last Sunday

  • In reply to TheFifth:

    I wonder if the change to Beekman was forced on Turner. Could it be that his uncharacteristic angry reaction reported after the game and talk of simplifying is because HE was the stubborn one behind sticking with Omi and got overruled. Maybe Lovie saying "we're going to give Omi one more game" was in deference to Turner's objections on changing. That could dovetail with the theory posted by Bill, that Turner was trying to reveal how bad the line is when he went with four runs at the goalline.

    We came into this season being excited for all the changes on Oline - and hoping that it would all lead to vast improvement, particularly in the running game. At this point in the season, nearly halfway, it's not happening. We are no better at run blocking, and FAR WORSE at pass protection. I did think I saw an improvement in the runs to the weak side against the Browns, particularly as the game wore on.

    Cutler's part of the deal here too - the last several games it has become obvious he's holding on to the ball too long, a la Rogers. HE needs to make that adjustment.

    So the sad thing right now is we are facing the fact that once again, OUR LINE SUCKS - and now we are in the terrible position of having to rely on The Dread Pirate RT to adjust. And that simple little last word - adjust - is something that's ALWAYS ALWAYS eluded Mr. Turner. No, I'm afraid Ron's best on only strategy will be to continue to wait for our new line to gel.

    Defense and specials were looking good again last week against a terrible terrible team. Offense is now squarely in the spotlight.

    I'm a perennial optimist as well - but this team has a whole lot of improvement necessary to get to the level of the Vikings (ugh) and Saints.

    Time to start a major winning streak! (that is, if you coaches want to save your sorry asses come post season!)

    Bear Down! (in my pants)

  • In reply to crowntheirass:

    Loved that game!

  • In reply to TheGhostofHalas:

    An undrafted free agent corner back for the Falcons just jumped like 3 and a half feet off of the ground to intercept a perfectly thrown Drew Brees pass that was a guaranteed TD. I fucking love football.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    i hate that the Falcons did it instead of the Saints but it was great none the less.

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    MIddle Linebacker Curtis Lofton for the Falcons hurt. Looks like a bad high ankle sprain...

  • In reply to hollywood1:

    pick 6 for the saints with 46 seconds left in half. saints up 14!

  • Super Bowl. Pats v. Eagles

    Go Saints tonight.

  • Bears are going to the playoffs. We keep forgetting a key aspect of the NFL. The Bears don't play their games in a vacuum. Other teams hoping for a wildcard spot have tough games coming up as well. As long as Cutler stays healthy we have a good shot at the playoffs. If the Falcons win tonight they are the only ones with a pretty easy schedule for the rest of the year. The other spot is totally up in the air as these other teams beat up on each other for another 8 weeks.

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