I was all but sure that last night’s performance would help me figure out how good this Bears team actually is.
The outcome tells me they are the NFC’s only undefeated, and that they have now given themselves a 78% chance of making the playoffs.
But thanks to the Packers for being so terribly, astonishingly stupid.
The 18 penalties for 152 yards was the second-most ever by a Bears opponent (and you have to go back 60 years for that record by the Cleveland Browns — 21 for 209), and the flags nullified Jay Cutler interceptions and Green Bay scores, and extended drives that would otherwise have been stopped.
The idiocy even infected the rookie punter, who appeared to be singlehandedly trying to reactivate Devin Hester from his long dormancy. First a low liner right at him, then the fateful lob beyond the reach of the coverage team that let Hester get up to speed.
Aaron Rogers took advantage of a nonexistent pass rush and outplayed Cutler. But he could not outplay his own team of stumbling oafs.
Julius Peppers did what he could against protection schemes designed all night to limit him. His blocked FG was a game saver (Great Blanda’s Ghost!). The opportunities are there for his linemates to beat single defenders — any time one of them wants to do so, it’d be nice.
It would be easier to deal with the fact of Tommie Harris’s deactivation if we could pin it on a late arrival to practice or a missed meeting. The sad truth, however, is that he’s not very good at his job anymore, and the coaches would rather play others ahead of him. There is a silver lining in the new accountability: Devin Aromashodu joined Harris in street clothes and Zach Bowman was benched mid-game for Tim Jennings.
We can question how well the Bears block, tackle and pursue the passer. We can question the decision-making of both Cutler and Lovie Smith (again with the not taking the three points?).
But we cannot question what their record says they are after three games.
Zach Zaidman reports from Halas Hall today and Hub Arkush gives his opinions at 5:00.