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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Welcome to the Firing Line, Don Banks

Bears' 3-0 start to season proves it's better to be lucky than good
But what if they're both, jackass?

Five things we learned from watching the Bears pull out a rather-improbable win over the error-prone Packers at Solider Field ..

Or Soldier Field. Also, again, THE ERRORS WERE FORCED BY THEIR INABILITY TO STOP JULIUS PEPPERS AT ALL. Also, the Bears had 5 penalties, a missed field goal, and a dropped touchdown pass on 4th and Goal. STOP ACTING LIKE GREEN BAY IS THE ONLY TEAM TO EVER MAKE A MISTAKE.

1. I'm still not sure how the Bears have found their way to 3-0 for the first time since 2006, but I do know they're the last and most unlikely team to be perfect in the NFC. This Chicago team is living something of a charmed existence so far in 2010; and in its own way, this game deserves to be right there alongside the Week 1 win over the Lions, in terms of winning with good fortune. It's true that Chicago hasn't played a complete game yet, but it's also true the Bears haven't lost yet, either. Would you rather be lucky or good?

I'll tell you how. In game one against the Lions they thoroughly dominated and outgained Detroit by 300 yards. Were it not for four fumbles the game wouldn't have been close. The game was close, and thus the Lions had a chance to win the game on a touchdown pass that wasn't a touchdown pass. They didn't so they lost the game. In Week 2 they went to Dallas, didn't commit a turnover, forced three, played great on both sides of the ball, and kicked the Cowboys' fucking asses. In Week 3 Green Bay had a bunch of long drives consisting of short passes and yet failed to score very often, because the Cover 2 worked to perfection and the Packers could not stop Julius Peppers without pulling him close by the jersey and going for a reacharound. When the Bears had the ball, they scored. Turns out that time of possession doesn't always matter that much. Also, I believe all three Chicago games have gone all four quarters and were complete by NFL rules.

Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler was his team's poster child for this peculiar game. He threw one interception against Green Bay, but it could have easily been five

Or ten! Or 27! Because that's how many passes he attempted! Theoretically all of them could have been picked off. Or they could all have been touchdowns! My god, 27 touchdown passes. Since we're just acting like plays that didn't happen DID happen, let's all stop to commend Jay Cutler on this mind-blowing single game touchdown record.

The Packers dropped two passes that were right in their hands (Nick Collins and Charles Woodson)

So did Desmond Clark. Cutler threw 1 TD pass, but it could have been two! Or 11!

and penalties wiped out two other Green Bay picks.

Banks isn't the only asswipe touting this theory, and I have to commend everyone for this brilliant ignorance of the nature of cause and effect. Those two picks were taken away by the penalties, yes. The way Banks says this, it implies that they were fair interceptions and something unrelated took them away, so Cutler still made a poor decision in both cases. HOWEVAH, on the first one that was taken away, the ONLY REASON the pass was intercepted was because of the helmet-to-helmet contact that knocked the ball of course. If there's no helmet-to-helmet, that's doesn't mean the interception would have stayed, that means the pass would have been completed to Greg Olsen. On the other interception, Cutler saw Bennett being mugged and just threw it up. It's called "drawing a pass interference call." Good quarterbacks do this. CUTLER WOULD NEVER HAVE THROWN THE BALL IF HE DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS GOING TO GET THE CALL. My God, if Peyton Manning had done that Peter King would have been fogging up the windows of the pressbox while feverishly writing a hagiography touting Peyton's brilliant gamesmanship.

When you add in Green Bay's team-record 18 penalties for 152 yards (breaking a record set in 1945), and the Packers' special-team lapses, this had the feel of a self-inflicted Green Bay loss more than an impressive Chicago victory.

8 of those calls were on the offensive line and were the direct result of the defense holding Julius Peppers to prevent a sack or committing a false start because they were fucking afraid of having to block Julius Peppers. Meaning Green Bay didn't just commit them because they felt like it. Either way, Chicago was going to win the matchup. The roughing the passer nullfied a pick, this is true, but it came on the very next drive after THE SAME CALL WENT AGAINST THE BEARS and kept alive Green Bay's touchdown drive. The Bears commited five penalties as well. It's part of the game. Bad teams commit lots of penalties, and they lose the game because of it.


But I still can't see Chicago keeping this kind of mojo going throughout the season, looking downright outmatched in some parts of every game, but still finding a way to win. It happened against Detroit, in Chicago's shaky second half. It happened at Dallas, where the Bears started the game looking overmatched on the offensive line. And it happened against Green Bay, a team that dominated Chicago statistically for most of the night.

You mean the second half where the Bears took the lead and held Detroit without a single first down until the last drive where Detroit DIDN'T SCORE? And yeah, the Bears had two bad series on the offensive line against Dallas. Apparently two bad series=Cowboys actually dominated. And the only statistics that Green Bay dominated last night were time of possession and first downs. Well, and penalty yardage and turnovers. The Packers actually only had 3 more first downs then Chicago, had fewer rushing yards, and, umm, oh yeah, fewer fucking points.

Skipping some more....

3. The "new and improved'' Jay Cutler looked a lot like the old Jay Cutler to me at times.

Probably because that's just a figure of speech and he's really the same guy. Seriously. They didn't clone him or anything.

But that sure looked like the old, careless Cutler against Green Bay. The Bears quarterback sailed some passes, missed some easy throws and took several unnecessary risks. By his own admission, he didn't play anywhere near his best game in finishing 16 of 27 for 221 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

But thanks to the sloppy Packers, Cutler didn't wind up paying for most of his mistakes. Cutler had some very pretty throws -- his 21-yard completion to Olsen on 2nd-and-20 in the fourth quarter was a thing of beauty -- and made some big plays when in clutch moments. But you can't live that dangerously every week in the NFL and survive. At the minimum, he threw three passes that should have resulted in Green Bay interceptions, and that would have been enough to get him beat on most nights.

But they weren't intercepted. That's part of playing in the NFL. Aaron Rodgers threw an interception last night, too. He also threw one that hit Izzy Idonijie right in the chest on a blown up screen play. NFL quarterbacks make bad throws. It's true. It totally happens. They have these things called "incompletions" and since no one has ever completed 100% of his pass attempts (other than Marty Booker), it turns out that no quarterback is perfect. Why many of those incompletions were good plays by the defense or could have been intercepted! Hell, you might say Jay Cutler takes a risk any time he puts it up in the air! That mad man!

Seriously, this is shit. Nothing that didn't actually happen in an NFL game matters. Calvin Johnson's no catch? Get the fuck over it, it didn't happen. If Detroit wants to bitch they can try gaining more than 168 yards and getting past the 50 yard line more than once in the second half. If Dallas "absolutely overwhelmed" the Bears they'd have had more than one sack and would not have lost the fucking game. Jay Cutler cannot be judged based on interceptions that didn't happen. I'll judge him based on the 109.7 rating he has on the passes that did.

Eat shit, Don Banks.

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