Week 1 may have turned the heads of some Bears fans.
I think the general consensus was that this would be a rebuilding year and that the Bears record would be in dumps.
Yes, it was a tough loss to Green Bay.
Jay threw another tough-to-swallow interception in crunch time. However, minus a couple of mishaps, this team showed more promise than I think people, myself included,were anticipating.
Who showed promise?
He rushed for 141 yards and hauled in five passes for 25 more.
He shouldered the load for the offense against Green Bay. I said last week that the Bears are going to have to take the air out of the ball if they expect to win. Sure enough, the Bears were in the game for three quarters, but they just couldn’t hold on in crunch time.
I believe that the Bears are still going to have to rely on Matt Forte for the game against Arizona.
This week’s big question is:
Does this game become a shoot out? Or does John Fox decide to rely on Matt Forte again to keep the ball out of Carson Palmer’s hands?
It’s only been a week, but this defense showed that they are willing to learn and progress under Vic Fangio.
Going into the Green Bay game he was 4-0 against the Pack while in San Francisco. I was hoping the Bears would show some resistance this year, and they did not disappoint…fully.
Don’t get me wrong, they were not flawless, but it could’ve been much worse. What impressed me was the amount of gang tackling that occurred throughout the game. I was happy to see that being emphasized this week.
Plus, I thought the coverage stiffened up as well. Rodgers had to create a couple of “on the fly” plays. He had to scramble out of the pocket to avoid pressure, because he couldn’t find anyone open down field. While the Bears couldn’t really contain those impromptu plays, the secondary seemed to have improved over the course of the preseason.
I’m sure they will continue to pick it up after looking at week one’s tape.
Carson Palmer doesn’t quite have the speed that Rodgers does on the scramble, but he is willing to scramble when there’s no other options. He had three rushes for 14 yards against the Saints. If Chicago’s defense can continue to have good coverage against Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald, Darren Fells, and Jonathon Brown (Arizona’s top receivers in week one) and eliminate the “on the fly” plays, I like the chances of keeping Arizona under 20 points.
This was an area that a lot of people (including myself) thought would be a wild card in week one. With Kyle Long moving to right tackle a lot of people weren’t sure how the line would hold up. Overall, I think they exceeded expectations. Kyle Long gave up the only two sacks of the game, but I’m going to credit that as “he is learning a new position” and just brush it off…for now.
The only other untimely event was the first drive of the third quarter. The Bears had just gotten a first down from a pass and catch from Jay to Jeffery and the next play Slauson gets caught holding on Peppers to create a 1st and 20 situation. That penalty killed momentum and eventually led to the drive stalling.
Playing penalty free football from the front five should be the top priority this week for the O-line.
Last week, Alex Okafor had two sacks against Drew Brees. Watch for Alex and Lamarr Woodley to have their eyes on Jay Cutler from the beginning. Lamarr is an experienced, nine year veteran in the league who plays disciplined and has a great knowledge of the game. Alex Okafor is in his third year and hungry to create a name for himself. Last season, he played in 13 games and finished the year with 30 tackles and 8 sacks. He’s hungry folks, keep an eye on Alex Okafor to attack Kyle Long knowing his inexperience at the tackle position.
Let’s all hope that if Long remains at tackle, he improves and plays closer to the level we are accustomed to seeing out of him.
Those yet to impress
I apologize for bringing up such a controversial topic.
I will back any quarterback that plays for the Chicago Bears, but he is still the Jay of old. He went 18 of 36 with 213 passing yards and an interception.
What really bothers about this offense is the lack of Redzone presence. It was absent during the preseason and that trend has continued into week one.
In the fourth quarter, when the Bears drove down into the Redzone with about nine minutes left, they had four downs inside the 10 where they threw the ball every time, which lead to a turnover on downs.
I think Jay needs to improve his game management skills. If Jay knows how well Forte has been running, and Fox knows, but Gase is calling a pass play, the two need to be able to override Gase in that situation.
Once Jay can improve as a game manager, I’ll be more impressed with him.
Next week, Bears fans shouldn’t expect anything different. Jay has to go up against Tyrann Mathieu, a developing safety who led the Arizona defense with 8 total tackles. From what I watched last week “The Honey Badger” was all over the field being a ball hawk. He had a tackle for a loss and had three pass deflections.
Hopefully Jay doesn’t throw his way, or we could be in for a long day.
Pernell McPhee and the Pass Rush
Brought in to go get the quarterback and bring pressure to a defense lacking in that department last year, Pernell didn’t attack Rodgers like I thought he might.
I know it’s only week one, so I’m not going to be overly critical, but he was a non-factor in this game. Yes he had six tackles, but none for a loss, or a sack, or even a QB hit.
This HAS to change soon.
The Saints had three tackles for a loss, and a QB hit in a 31-19 loss to Arizona. The Bears pass rush has to improve as a whole or else Carson will have another 300+ yard passing game. Putting it shortly, the Bears HAVE to get in the backfield against Arizona or they will get torched. There are more underrated play makers on this team than Green Bay has, and all they need is a chance to shine. Don’t sleep on this Arizona offense, Bruce Arians has them thinking they are world beaters right now, and they played like it last week.
Don’t be turned off by the Bears just yet!
It is only week one, and last week provided plenty of reason for optimism.
The team just looked different. They looked like they were ready to play, and wanted to play under John Fox. As time goes on this team will get better.
Seriously though, did you honestly think the score at half time would be 13-10 with a Bears lead? That was enough reasoning to have me grinning from ear to ear at halftime. It also provided me with a great sense of optimism.
I can’t even say I’m upset over the loss to Green Bay. I think they sent a message to the rest of the league. The Bears aren’t messing around this year. The Bears hung in there with a favorite to win the Super Bowl. Even if they were without Jordy Nelson, and Randall Cobb was banged up.
Come Thanksgiving time, the Packers will still be without Nelson, and Cobb should be healthy. However, that’s all they have, Eddie Lacy didn’t even rush for 100 yards.
I think once Randall Cobb gets healthy that’s it, they will flat line with talent. Aaron will continue to be Aaron and play lights out, but after that it’s everything the Bears have already seen before.
Next time around, I see this team sticking around the whole game. As we’ve already seen, it makes a difference when the team wants to play for the coach.
John Fox has sold his system and Bears have bought in. There’s still kinks to be worked out, but as I’ve said time and time again:
THIS TEAM WILL CONTINUE TO IMPROVE.
Until Next Week
Hold onto your life vests, we’re not out of the storm yet Bears fans. The second game of the season will only be another test for this Bears team.
How do they respond to adversity coming off a loss?
I’m expecting Jay to be typical Jay, I’ll say he goes 24 of 38, for 244 yards, and 2 touchdowns. With probably another interception.
The leading receiver will be Martellus Bennett with 7 receptions and 105 yards receiving.
Forte will shoulder the load again and will keep Palmer on the sidelines. Forte should rush for 154 yards on about 30 carries, adding another rushing touchdown.
I think the defense just needs a big play to get the ball rolling.
I predict that Adrian Amos gets his first career interception and that sets the ball in motion for everyone else to step up. I am anticipating that Pernell and Jared will be bigger forces in the backfield this week. As a team, they will get some better pressure on Palmer than they did against Rodgers and will force Palmer to make a play.
I want to see this defense take the next step in their progression and start forcing turnovers against Arizona.
My final prediction: Arizona 21, Chicago 24…in overtime!
Afterwards, I expect Bruce Arians to say something along the lines of,
THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE!