Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Why The Bears Lost

With the Bears getting eliminated from the playoffs this past weekend.  Bear Nation (are they a nation or a county, possibly a municipality, actually, yes, I like municipality) Bear Municipality was up in arms over many things from this past weekend's game against the Packers.  Blown plays, soft players, and terrible coaching were all supposed culprits contributing to a Bears defeat on Sunday. 

But is this really the case?  I'm not so sure.  Let's tackle the big talking points.

1.  Offensive Play Calling - Everyone will point to third and three with the game on the line.  Mike Martz called an end around, and everybody freaked out about it being the worst call ever.  It was a horrible failure, but was it a horrible call?  I'll admit I don't love it on third and three, but if it worked, everybody would be calling him a genius.  The problem that I have with it is that they tipped off the play.  They spread out Dez Clark for the first time all game (and maybe all season since he's been inactive for the last 10 games before this one).  Anytime you throw out a brand new formation, it is going to tip them off that you might be running a trick play.  The formation, not the call is what Bears fans should be upset with.  Also, everybody thought Martz would go pass wacky all game, and he did a good job of balancing out the offense.  Don't worry Mikey, I got your back.

2.  Defensive Play Calling - Tim Jennings getting murdered, but you have no clue what defense they were calling.  A lot of the plays, he dropped far off the line of scrimmage immediately giving Greg Jennings a huge cushion.  Does this mean he was playing soft man-to-man coverage?  Possibly, or he was maintaining depth on a Cover-3, and his main responsibility is to stay deep and hope the linebacker can zone out in time to stop inside cutting routes.  TV camera angles are absolutely awful for deciphering defenses, so anybody complaining about this is a moron.

3.  Missed Tackles - The Bears defense missed a ton of tackles.  This obviously wasn't a good thing, but shit happens, and the defense played big in the second half, so you'd have to be a real prick to blame the loss on them.

4.  Passive coaching - This one killed me.  Lovie chose to punt so many times inside the Packers 40, it made me want to throw something through the television.  Don't punt in your opponents' territory.  If you play passively, you deserve to lose.  But hey, anytime you can gain ten yards of field position on a punt, you gotta do it.

5.  Special Teams - Of course with Maynard punting the ball 24 yards with plenty of room to work, maybe those ten net yards weren't so bad.  Can we please stop calling him a great punter?  Yes, he is very good at angling punts, but his leg is so weak that I would seriously consider letting him go first in a game of ro-sham-bo.  Brad, thanks for a lot of great kicks, but it's your time to go.  Bears, please draft Ryan Donahue in the seventh round.  You will not regret it.
Also, Devin Hester didn't make a big play.  He's exciting, but he's not automatic.  The Packers did a good job on coverage, so nothing to complain about there.

6.  Jay Cutler - Oh, Jay.  Jay, Jay, Jay..Jay Jay.  The word is crashing down upon you.  And it's not even because of the terrible throw you had that got intercepted.  It's because you're "soft."  The defense for Cutler is not that it was a Grade II Tear.  No, the defense is that pain is personal.  His Grade II Sprain could feel much differently than somebody else's, because everybody feels pain differently.  Some people get cold easily, some get hot easily, things feel different to different people.  You may have noticed that I used the term tear and the term sprain.  I did this, because they mean the exact same thing.  If you like Cutler, you'll say he had a tear, if you don't, you'll say he had a sprain.  Either way, that's an injury that most people are pushing themselves through.  But this is another case of people not focusing on the right thing.  If you want to complain about Cutler, complain because he was awful at throwing the football on Sunday.  I can't think of one pass he threw that I would classify as good.  I would call his corner route to Knox average, because Knox basically had to stop to catch the ball, but luckily he was wide open.  Sure the injury will get people riled up, but let's not lose sight of the fact that Jay Cutler is still an awful excuse for a quarterback.

7.  Lack of Talent - This is why the Bears lost.  They aren't good.  I'll admit, I never assume much from the Bears, and this year they surprised me.  But that doesn't mean they are loaded with a great team.  They just got lucky, really, really lucky.  But no, seriously, their luck made leprechauns jealous.  Look at this:
Week 1 - Lions - Calvin Johnson clearly caught the ball, but it was reversed, because he did not maintain possession through the process of the catch, a rule that only applies in the end zone.
Week 3 - Packers - I believe the Packers had over 700 yards in penalties.  The Bears squeaked by with a victory.
Week 5 - Panthers - Todd Collins starts the game and has the worst game of any quarterback in 2010, luckily Jimmy Clausen has the third worst game, and the Bears cruise to a victory.
Week 9 - Bills - Bears squeak out a victory over a winless Bills team.  It would have helped had the Bills been in Buffalo for their home game, but instead they were in Toronto where the crowd favored the Bears.
Week 11 - Dolphins - Dolphins are forced to start third string quarterback Tyler Thigpen.  This shouldn't have been a huge deal, because the Dolphins have a good running attack, and Thigpen could be dangerous out of the pistol formation.  Fortunately for the Bears, the Dolphins inexplicably went with a passing heavy attack.
Week 13 - Lions - The Bears squeak by the Lions again, despite the Lions starting third string quarterback, Drew Stanton.
Week 15 - Vikings - Yes, the Bears did blow out the Vikings, but they were struggling before ending Brett Favre's career to bring in third stringer, Joe Webb.

Without any luck, the Bears may have been a four win team.  Be happy with the success they achieved, and enjoy it while you can.  Next year won't be so pretty.


P.S.  Here is an awesome story about how the Bears called James Starks, told him they were going to draft him, and then decided to take Dan LeFevour instead. 

P.P.S.  And just in case people forgot how bad Jimmy Clausen is, here is a Heisman video for him:

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