Shepkowski: The Good, Bad and Mostly Ugly of Bears-Saints
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By Nick Shepkowski-
(WSCR) After a 30-13 defeat at the hands of the New Orleans Saints, the Bears now sit at 1-1 before the Week 3 showdown at Soldier Field with Green Bay. Not much went right for the Bears Sunday afternoon but the good news is its only one game. The bad news? That was way too good of an impression of the embarrassment that occurred against the Giants a year ago.
The Good (Yes, there were some things)
Matt Forte: One long run on the second drive of the game led to the Bears only touchdown but he was huge in the passing game, benefiting from Cutler check-downs for 117 yards on 10 receptions. For those keeping score Forte wound up with 166 of the Bears 246 total yards (67%). Would have liked to see the running game get worked a bit more, though.
Jay Cutler’s Toughness: Cutler was hit all afternoon by the Saints’ pass rush and continued to get up each and every time. Officially he was hit 10 times but the fact he remained in the game deserves props.
Julius Peppers: Was getting several 1-on-1’s during the game but was only able to make one tackle while not getting any heat on Drew Brees all day. Usually all-world, Peppers had an afternoon to forget.
Major Wright: You see the fastest guy on the field lined up in the slot against the Cover-2 and it should be common sense that the seem is about to be attacked. Regardless, Major Wright was burnt badly on Devrey Henderson’s touchdown reception and his poor tackling form in the third quarter led to a head injury from which he didn’t return.
Johnny Knox/Devin Hester: Say all you want about the speed both of these players have, they’re as undisciplined of receivers as you’ll find in the entire NFL. Quitting on routes, mixed in with a few drops and Hester’s fumble on a punt return combined to make a long day.
Jay Cutler’s Play: Cutler has improved greatly since he was first acquired in 2009 but his footwork took a step back Sunday as he was throwing off his back foot often. His grounding call in the first quarter was brutal as he had plenty of time to throw the ball away before pressure came. He checked down to Matt Forte just fine but Jay didn’t have one of his finer outings.
Play Selection: Only 11 actual running plays were called all afternoon with two coming in the second half. The running game was far from crisp but getting away from it as early as Mike Martz did is inexcusable as the Bears had just two second half running attempts. Sure it was a ten point game midway through the third but without any threat to run whatsoever, you saw what the Saints defense was able to do.
Kellen Davis: You saw it last week when John Abraham went flying by Davis and got a big hit on Cutler and you saw it again Sunday as Davis was again beaten badly and allowed Jay to get demolished. For a guy that received plenty of hype this preseason, Davis needs to figure out how to pass block if he’s going to make it in Mike Martz’s offense.
Offensive Line: Anytime you allow your quarterback to get hit 10 times it’s unacceptable. Six times Cutler was sacked (11 in two games now) and was getting run into the ground from the word “go”. Nobody played particularly well, Chris Spencer probably had the best game of any Bears lineman as he filled in for Lance Louis but the tackles (Webb, Carimi and Omiyale) were atrocious. Parts of the second half gave flashbacks of Sunday Night Football vs. the Giants a year ago.
Injuries: Earl Bennett getting popped and leaving early, Gabe Carimi’s right knee and Major Wright forgetting how to “form tackle” all led to much missed playing time. The healthiest team in the league in 2010, its already obvious the Bears aren’t going to be that in 2011.
At the end of the day its only one game but if the injury to Gabe Carimi is for any extended amount of time, we saw how bad Frank Omiyale looked in his place. 1-1 is a plenty respectable start against Atlanta and New Orleans and even a loss against Green Bay next week doesn’t mean certain doom for this team but with injuries already piling up, an inefficient offense in every sense on Sunday, there is plenty of reason for concern if you’re a Bears fan.