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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

For the Record: Week 3 Wrap-Up, LOLPackers, and DIE WEBB DIE

I’m off the J’Marcus Webb “hey maybe he could still be kind of good”wagon. He’s terrible. He was beat badly all first half and then, while the Bears say he played better in the second half, they switched entirely to three step drops and short runs. Being able to block the John Shoop Offense is not what I desire from my left tackle. What has he done to deserve this many chances? Do you know he’s responsible for 25 sacks on his own since he entered the starting lineup? There are teams who go entire seasons not allowing that many sacks, and J’Marcus has allowed that many by himself in just over a year and a half as a full-time starter. I’m done. Chris Williams may have less potential, but he can’t be beaten his badly, this often.

The good news is the rest of the offenses issues seem like a matter of timing/rhythm that should correct itself. The receivers and Cutler will communicate better. Hopefully the drops (10 in the last 2 games is bad. Very bad) will stop, and hopefully Cutler will just fucking relax. I understand it’s difficult with a pocket that prone to collapsing, but everything still rests on his shoulders. Settle down and just make some throws. Eventually Tice will realize what his team does best and, you know, do it. Hopefully they’ll have it all together or close in a week, because they will need to actually score to beat Dallas. I think.

Of course, this is still an 11 win team based on the defense alone at this point, which could be the best we’ve seen since 2005 if they can get consistent pressure from the front four like this. They’re not going to face weak offensive lines like they have every week, but the fact that they’re putting up very big numbers is good. They faced plenty of shitty lines last year and still managed just 30 or so sacks. If they can dominate weak lines they can hopefully compete with good ones.

The secondary has been stellar as well. Other than the pick six, you haven’t hear Conte or Wright’s names at all, which, in the Tampa Two, means they’re doing their jobs. Tim Jennings has been getting interceptions, the one thing he didn’t do well before, DJ Moore is irritating people as usual both on and off the field, and Tillman/Hayden have both alternated between being banged up and playing really good, solid football. For what was probably the biggest question mark on the team other than the offensive line, these guys have answered the call spectacularly so far.

I think they’ll beat Dallas. Tice slowly seems to be getting it, and Cutler has to get it together at some point. That defense can definitely shut down DeMarco Murray (cries for fantasy team now that CJ Spiller is hurt) and force Romo into some mistakes. The important thing is that someone shoots Tice if he thinks about leaving Webb alone on Ware for even one snap. ONE IS TOO MANY, MIKE, AND THAT DOESN’T MEAN LEAVE HIM ONE ON ONE WITH MICHAEL BUSH, EITHER. Gah.

I think Tice improved from week 2 to week 3. He ran more early and threw several short throws early. The issue is early the Bear WRs dropped every short and medium throw sent their way. Then, once they started catching everything, Cutler just started to skip passes to them or throw em way over their heads. I hear people are calling that Cutler overthrow to Hester in the endzone a Hester drop. Are they fucking nuts?

It was just a perfect storm. The line, receivers, and Jay all screwed up at the wrong times. If two of them were working, the other failed. The bright spot is clearly the run/dump-off game. Once Forte comes back they should be able to get 100 yard games out of him every game. And that's the damn way the Bears need to start every game. Run-pass-run-run-run-pass. Keep the pass rush at bay then open up the throwing game by starting with screens and Forte dump-offs. The Bears have a bigger, stronger, faster version of Ray Rice. Jesus, please use him when he gets back! After the defense is appropriately stuffing the box, just open it up and pass the shit out of the ball. And yeah, USE MATT SPAETH. THAT'S WHY HE'S THERE.

This is the Cowboy's bad week. On the other hand, the Bears and Cowboys have had almost identical weeks: Week 1; get big win, make everyone think you're going to dominate. Week 2; Lose horribly and make everyone question you. Week 3; Beat overmatched opponent in unimpressive fashion. So I have no idea who wins this game. I only think Chicago because the Cowboys tend to go good-bad-good-bad-etc.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Prognostication Bukakke, NCAA Week 5

#25 Baylor @ #9 West Virginia
Iggins!: WVU is only #9? Geno Smith and the Lords of the Air Raid are not pleased. WVU rolls.

Code Red: Man, this game would have been awesome last year. WVU wins. 
Mrs. Code Red: West Virginia.

#14 Ohio State @ #20 Michigan State
Code Red: Both of these teams suck. Ohio State has yet to face a real team, and has still barely won all of it’s games. That said, MSU has looked awful as well. I guess Michigan State at home. How are they still ranked?

Iggins!: This is the part where Michigan State takes all those expectations you have and shits out 7-5. Ohio State wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Michigan State. 
#12 Texas @ Oklahoma State
Iggins!: So OK State put up 84 points on Div. 3 Polytechnical State School for the Blind/Deaf/Dumb and people said “Yeah, OK State’s gonna be fine! Then Richrod murdered them, in Stillwater, and now people are like… oh. So yeah, I don’t particularly care for the ‘horns, and I’m pretty sure they’ll lose their next three games in a row, but Texas wins this one.

Code Red: Yeah, that about sums it up. Texas wins. 
Mrs. Code Red: Texas. 
#18 Oregon State @ Arizona
Code Red: Hmm. I’m going to have to take the home team here, and probably move my record when picking against Oregon State to 0-3. Arizona wins. 
Iggins!: You may have realized I have a hard time picking against some teams. Notably Clemson. You may not remember that the other team I have a hard time picking against is Oregon State, and now that they have peeked their head out of the bunker and beaten Wisconsin plus UCLA I can just pick them until I can’t anymore now. Oregon State wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Oregon State. Three in a row!

So after those 4 games the schedule takes a huge dump on everybody’s chest, so these next six aren’t exactly great games. Seriously, it’s so bad Iowa vs. Minnesota is on ESPN2.

Virginia Tech vs. Cincinnati
Iggins!: Uhhh… well, if we go by common opponents, it’s Cincinnati, because they beat Pitt and all. And Tech did not. Also, Tech’s win over GaTech looks quite a bit less impressive after the fighting Triple-Options got dropped by Da U. And I whiffed by not picking Rutgers last week despite a mighty desire to do so. By the way this game is being played in Landover, MD. Odd. I’ll take Cincinnati to win.

Code Red: Wait, what? I’ll take Virginia Tech, because they already lost their shitty early season game so now they’ll roll to their Orange Bowl beatdown. 

Iggins!: That is, of course, the other possibility, since VaTech always does this. To clarify, I picked Arkansas because SEC > Big East, thus I do not want to pick against the Big East just cuz this week.

Mrs. Code Red: Cincinnati. 
N.C. State @ Miami (FL)
Code Red: Man, these games do suck. NC State.
Iggins!: It just gets worse. Sigh. Why the fuck not? Miami wins.

Mrs. Code Red: G-Reg! Miami.

#8 Stanford @ Washington
Iggins!: Stanford is ranked ahead of WVU. They always beat USC! We can’t reward them this much for that! Still, until Sark actually proves he’s going to start putting 8 and 9 win teams out there, I’ve got Stanford to win.

Code Red: I do not intend to keep agreeing with you in such a fashion. Stanford wins. 
Mrs. Code Red: Washington.

Arizona State @ California
Code Red: Hmm. AZ State has looked very good, when they look good. Does that make sense? Cal doesn’t look good, ever. AZ State wins. 
Iggins!: I hate Todd Graham so goddamned much. So this pains me. ASU wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Arizona State. 
Wisconsin @ #22 Nebraska
Iggins!: They need to unrank all the B1G teams. Nebraska wins?

Code Red: I have to keep riding Nebraska as my one hope for a somewhat mildly respectable B1G team. Damn you, UCLA! Nebraska wins. 
Mrs. Code Red: Nebraska. Wisconsin just sucks.

Arkansas @ Texas A&M (see how I avoided Iowa-Minnesota there? EH?!)
Code Red: You took the coward’s road. I can’t see any way Arkansas avoids just completely unraveling at this point. By the way, did you see John L. Smith owes $25 million or something in debt? How the hell…? Texas A&M wins. 
Iggins!: He says real estate ventures. He also says they were profitable at one point. He is also completely and utterly fucking insane. Texas A&M wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Texas A&M.

Prognostication Bukakke, NFL Week 4


Code Red: 19-11
Mrs. Code Red: 17-13
Iggins!: 17-13

Code Red: 25-23
Mrs. Code Red: 23-25
Iggins!: 19-29

Code Red: 43-35
Mrs. Code Red: 40-38
Iggins!: 36-42

Browns @ Ravens
Code Red: Aww. Thanks to Rog’s stupid rule that lead to an unnecessary Thursday Night game for everyone, we get Brandon Weeden’s decapitation on national TV. Ravens win.

Iggins!: Holy shit, 19-29?! WOW. I’ll take the Ravens to win, obviously.

Code Red: Yeah, things are not going your way. It’s awesome.

Mrs. Code Red: Ravens.

Panthers @ Falcons
Iggins!: The Panthers are pretty easy to figure out at this point. They’ll trash the teams worse than them and get trashed by those better. Falcons win.

Code Red: This is the year! That the Falcons win a playoff game. Definitely maybe. Falcons win.

Mrs. Code Red: Falcons.

Vikings @ Lions
Code Red: The Vikings could totally win this game. Stafford may not play, and the Lions defense is horrid. That said, I’m going with the outcome that guarantees at least a share of first place for the Bears anyway. Lions win.

Iggins!: That Vikings win last week was interesting, and the Lions looked like garbage with Stafford in, so I’ll try to get some wins back and take the Vikings to win.

Mrs. Code Red: Lions.

Chargers @ Chiefs
Iggins!: I’m going to be at this game for my anniversary so the Chiefs better fucking win.

Code Red: So, so touching. Chargers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Chargers.

Titans @ Texans
Code Red: The Texans are just frighteningly good. I don’t see Jake Locker being able to win this game singlehandedly, since you know their run game will do nothing against that Texans front seven. Texans win.

Iggins!: Yeah, but Locker looks pretty solid. He’s going to get beaten up here, but he shouldn’t take this ass-kicking to heart. He has a future. Texans win.

Code Red: I said nothing negative about Jake Locker. You know he’s an ARMCOCK I’ve long admired.

Mrs. Code Red: Texans.

Patriots @ Bills
Iggins!: Do the Bills have the same schedule they had last year? Jesus. This is where the Bills upset the Pats if we follow the storyline, right? Haha, well, I don’t think the Pats are losing 3 in a row, I don’t care if they’re playing 11 Godzillas. Patriots win.

Code Red: And 6-10 looks entirely possible again! Patriots win.

Mrs. Code Red: Patriots.

49ers @ Jets
Code Red: These two teams are mirror images of each other, only the Jets are worse at everything than the 49ers. 49ers win.

Iggins!: Yeah, that about sums it up. The Jets are what the 49ers would be if the 49ers sucked. 49ers win.

Mrs. Code Reds: 49ers.

Seahawks @ Rams
Iggins!: The Ram pass defense has been surprisingly stout, but I have refursed to pick St. Louis to beat Seattle since they screwed me two years in a row: Seahawks win.

Code Red: Going to be real interesting to see which of the Good Defense/Mediocre Offense pairing in the NFC West will float to the top. Seahawks win.
Mrs. Code Red: Seahawks.

Bengals @ Jaguars
Code Red: I feel the Bengals collapse coming at some point. They’ll be a very deceiving 3-1 after this. But, shit, Gabbert can’t hit a lucky 80 yard pass with two second left every week, can he? Bengals win.

Iggins!: Poor Andrew Luck. That was one of the few winnable Colts games this year. This is a great game for an upset, butI’ll keep it safe and take the Bengals to win.

Mrs. Code Red: Bengals.

Raiders @ Broncos
Iggins!: Have to go with Peyton here now that the Broncos are out of a brutal 3 game stretch to open the season. Broncos win.

Code Red: Indeed you do. Broncos win.

Mrs. Code Red: Broncos.

Dolphins @ Cardinals
Code Red: The Cardinals, 49ers, and Seahawks all have top tier defenses. All of them have middling-to-bad offenses. It’ll be interesting to see who rises to the top. Cardinals should have no issues here, though.

Iggins!: If Reggie Bush plays, this ought to be close, but I’m done picking against Arizona until they actually manage to lose. Cardinals win.

Mrs. Code Red: Cardinals.

Saints @ Packers
Iggins!: I would not want to be the Saints right now. The Packers are 1-2 and just got screwed more epically than any team has ever been screwed. Saints at 0-4? Saints at 0-4. Packers win.

Code Red: This is going to get ugly. The Saints defense has been historically bad the first three games, and here’s a Green Bay team that’s been bottled up for four straight games going back to the playoffs, and is now extremely pissed off. Packers win big.

Mrs. Code Red: Packers

Redskins @ Tampa Bay
Code Red: Tampa Bay’s defense is very good when they have Gerald McCoy, but that offense is shit. Josh Freeman looks nothing like the guy he seemed to be in 2010. RGIII should outscore them. Redskins win.

Iggins!: Vincent Jackson is trying so goddamned hard to make Freeman look good. The Bucs can’t stop RG3 enough to keep up with Washington. Redskins win.

Mrs. Code Red: Redskins.

Giants @ Eagles
Iggins!: The Eagles are bad. Very bad. Beating the Ravens was more because the Ravens just do that randomly sometimes. Giants win.

Code Red: The Eagles aren’t bad. Their defensive line is stout, their secondary is good, they can run the ball. They’re just crippled by the human turnover machine. Giants win.

Mrs. Code Red: Eagles.

Bears @Cowboys
Code Red: These two teams are also very similar. So much talent on both sides of the ball, and yet it’s hard to really declare either of them contenders until they put together a few complete games in a row. If the Bears are smart, and if Cutler finally steps up and plays like he’s capable of playing, they should win this. They certainly need to keep on the pedal while Green Bay is down. Bears win, 24-17.

Iggins!: The Cowboys coin-flip was heads last week. That means this week it’s tails. Bears win, 20-9.

Mrs. Code Red: Bears 24-10.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Bears 23, Ram 6: Oh Look, Bear Footbaw

Well, the Bears did exactly what they needed to do today: win big at home against the hapless Rams. Damned if it didn't feel like the rejuvenating blowout win we wanted to make ourselves feel good after last week. The defense, as we're learning so far this year, is very, very good. If you take away points from a pick six and that fake FG in Green Bay, the Bears have allowed just 12 PPG on defense in three games this year. They've racked up 14 sacks in those three games, and they've picked off 6 passes, including their first interception for a TD today.

The offense, however, remains mired in the most perplexing rut we've seen in a while. The pass protection was shaky again in the first half today before the team just stopped trying to do much of anything other than avoid turnovers in the second half. Cutler missed throws when he was rushed, but also threw some passes that made no sense. The receivers made some big plays and yet had at least four or five drops, again.Mike Tice still can't seem to make up his mind on whether he wants to pass to set up the run (bad idea with that line against blitzing defenses) or run to set up the pass (that's the ticket, Mike). There are a lot of issues to work out, and they're going to need to find answers to at least some of them before they go into Dallas and face off against DeMarcus Ware next Monday.

I'm not going to piss in your cornflakes on a Bears victory day, however. The team looked dominant on defense and, even if the offense has to buckle in and dink and dunk their way to victory until they sort out the offensive line, well, they've won plenty of games that way before. The Bears won, so let us rejoice.


-The Front Four: It's hard to single out any individual performance from this group. Everyone got in on it, from Peppers to Melton to Okoye to Idonije to McClellin. They just bring the heat on every down, regardless of the personnel. They got 5 sacks today out of this group (one from Nick Roach), and it was clear Sam Bradford never had a chance. Keep it up, guys. Make all of the opposing QB's feel Jay Cutler's pain.

-Tim Jennings: The few times that Bradford actually had time to throw were no issue, since Jennings and the rest blanketed the Rams receivers all day. Jennings threw in another interception, giving him a career-high 4 already, and he should start making reservations in Honolulu.

-Major Wright: He takes a lot of shit, much of it justified, but, like Mike Brown, Wright does seem to make big plays whenever he stays healthy. His pick six today was a thing of beauty, and it's worth noting that he and Conte have yet to be beat deep this year.

-Robbie Gould: 3 field goals made, and he's now 7 for his last 7 from 50+.


-Jay Cutler: he wasn't anywhere near as bad as his QB rating makes it appear. He was hurt by multiple drops, one of which caused his only INT, but he's still struggling. His accuracy was off on several throws, and he's not quite adjusting to the pressure like has in the past. I did appreciate his 21 yard run, though. He needs to show teams he can do that if they pressure him.

-The Wide Receivers: Drops, drops, everywhere for the second straight game. Guh. Not all of them were perfectly thrown balls, but if you're an NFL receiver and it hits you in both hands, you have to make those grabs. Still out of sync.

-J'Marcus Webb: I'm done with this. Just done. He allowed one sack, and then killed a drive when Robert Quinn mauled him off of the edge and hit Jay, forcing a bad throw. He did very little the rest of the game after Tice quit taking chances, but they really need to work out anything else before they get to watch Webb get destroyed by Ware. No more excuses. I don't care if he lacks passion and is actually super talented. The result is single-handedly killing the offense of what could be a Superbowl team if it could pass block. Fuck him.

Mike Tice: Seriously? Why start off with the exact same game plan that had killed you two weeks before? How does Michael Bush end up blocking Chris Long 1 on 1? How does it take him until the 4th quarter of the third game of the season to figure out that you can throw short passes, like curls and stuff, and it's not illegal? Gah. Figure out what your team does well, Mike. Figure it out soon, and run it.


Dick Stockton: Harry Melton. Ashlon Jeffreys. Two of the mysterious Bears on Dick's roster.

That's it for now. The Bears did what needed to be done, and that defense is truly elite. We'll see if they can straighten out the other side of the ball in time for Dallas. I sure as hell hope so. Go Bears.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

NFL Prognostication Bukakke Week 3

Giants @ Panthers
Code Red: The Giants defense has looked like a sieve lately, but there’s zero evidence to show me that the Panthers defense is even remotely capable of slowing down the Giants. Giants win in yet another high-scoring affair.

Iggins!: The Giants haven’t looked very good so far, and they needed a pretty hefty comeback to beat the Bucs. I’ll go out on a limb and say the Panthers have figured some things out since the loss to Tampa. Panthers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Hell, I don't know. Giants.

Chiefs @ Saints
Iggins!: Probably should have seen this kind of start coming. The bad news is Matt Cassel sucks, the Chiefs don’t run the ball until they’re already behind by four scores, and the defense hasn’t gotten it together yet. The good news is they might actually be in position to draft Matt Barkley!... yay? Saints win.

Code Red: Oh no. The Chiefs have too much talent to get the #1 overall pick. Welcome to 6-10, possibly Landry Jones-ville. Saints win.
Mrs. Code Red: In the land of the blind, Drew Brees beats the Chiefs. Or something. Saints win.

Bengals @ Redskins
Code Red: I appreciate the Rams allowing RGIII to keep looking good while shutting up the RETURN TO GLOREE ‘Skins fans that had them penciled in for the Superbowl after week one. The Bengals offense should put up points on a Redskins defense that has no Orakpo or Carriker now for the entire season. Bengals win. Sorry RGIII.

Iggins!: I have the feeling the Bengals are this year’s Bucs. I’ll take the zone read and the Redskins to win.

Mrs. Code Red: Andy Dalton, I like you, but I don't think you can get outscore RGIII. Redskins win.

Lions @ Titans
Iggins!: The Lions are so mediocre. It’s a shame the Titan suck. Lions to win, unconvincingly.

Code Red: Matthew Stafford’s been hot dogshit for two games and yet Cutler’s the one being lobotomized as usual. Lions win, though.
Mrs. Code Red: Don't want it to be them, but I assume the Lions can handle this. Lions win.

49ers @ Vikings
Code Red: Wow. In three weeks the 49ers have already won the NFC North. 49ers win.

Iggins!: Yeah, not looking forward to that Thursday nighter in a few weeks. 49ers win.

Code Red: It’s a Monday Nighter. I don’t really buy into such trends, but I do know the Bears have played better on Mondays than Thursday. Still scared.

Mrs. Code Red: 49ers. If they can beat the Packers, they can beat the Vikings.

Jags @ Colts
Iggins!: I have a strict policy wherein I do not pick Blaine Gabbert to win things. Colts win.

Code Red: I love how Mike Mularkey was all “good news! Gabbert’s injury won’t keep him from starting,” and that one Jaguars fan who still goes to the games said “Shit.” Colts Win. 
Mrs. Code Red: Ohhhh...gosh. Colts I guess. 
Rams @ Bears
Code Red: We suffered the sin of pride and paid for it. There’s not enough room in this forum to discuss the stupidity surrounding the “We lost and Cutler played badly and therefore we must once again treat him like Hitler incarnate” crowd, but suffice it to say the Rams are exactly what this Bears team needs. They are talented enough to provide a challenge if the Bears don’t take them seriously, but the team should get a much needed win here to shut some people up. Bears 30-13.

Iggins!: If the Bears have realized that they have a dominant run game which they should use early and often to set up play-action, this will be a fairly easy win. If they do what they have done to start games the last two weeks they could get surprised here. I’ll take the Bears to win, 28-20, because I don’t think Tice has quite gotten it yet.


Mrs. Code Red: They have to be able to beat the Rams, right? Bears win.

Bills @ Browns
Iggins!: Icky. The Bills aren’t as good as they looked last week, and the Brandon Weeden pulled it together for a nice recovery last week. Screw it, I’ll take the Browns in an upset.

Code Red: I don’t feel even remotely confident in this pick. Bills win.

Mrs. Code Red: Uhhhh... Bills. 
Buccaneers @ Cowboys
Code Red: With their loss to the Seahawks the Cowboys will tempt you to pick the Bucs, who have looked better than expected so far. But I know better. Cowboys win.

Iggins!: Flipping coin now… good Cowboys this week? Cowboys win.

Mrs. Code Red: Cowboys. 
Jets @ Dolphins
Iggins!: Yup, the Jets are still the Jets. Miami wins, and I LOL so goddamned hard.

Code Red: I can’t buy a rookie QB against a Rex Ryan defense. Jets win

Mrs. Code Red: Jets. 
Eagles @ Cardinals
Code Red: The Kurse of Kevin Kolb’s Revenge! Michael Vick will play horribly and the Eagles will pull it out again and you will be mad. Embrace these truths. Eagles win.

Iggins!: Oh shit, the battle of the two least-deserving 2-0 records in history. I’ll take the Eagles to win, and cry that they are 3-0.

Mrs. Code Red: Jets. Wait, what game was it again? I guess the Eagles. (she was dictating).

Falcons @ Chargers
Iggins!: Definitely going Falcons here. Should be relatively high-scoring, but Atlanta is the better team and they’ll pull it out late.

Code Red: Atlanta is a good team. Should win their division. But I still feel like they’re not that much better than they have been. I think they lose this one on the road. Chargers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Chargers. Gotta stick with 'em.

Steelers @ Raiders
Code Red: Really, Oakland? The fucking Dolphins? Steelers win in a blowout.

Iggins!: Yeah, not much to add here. Steelers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Steelers. 
Texans @ Broncos
Code Red: Damned if Peyton hasn’t made every game on the Broncos schedule so far must-see TV. This should be a good’n. I think the Texans just have more firepower. Texans win.

Iggins!: The Texans finally get an AQ opponent here after disposing of FCS Southeast last week. I’ll take the Texans to win, but this should be a damn fine game.

Mrs. Code Red: I don't know, is Peyton going to lose twice in a row? I guess I'll take the Texans. 
Pats @ Ravens
Iggins!: Isn’t there something where Belichick never loses two games in a row? I think that ends here. The Ravens had their random terrible game last week, and even though Flacco will always be Flacco, the Ravens should recover this week. Ravens win.

Code Red: I really don’t know. I hate to pick the Pats to go 1-2, but if you lose to the Cardinals at home you lose the benefit of the doubt momentarily. Ravens win. 
Mrs. Code Red: Pats. Tawmmy fackin Brady is nawt losing two in a row. Ray Lewis stabbed a guy. 
Packers @ Seahawks
Code Red: It would be so awesome for the Packers to lose this game on the road in a place where strange losses just seem to happen, but life is seldom so kind to us. Packers win. Also, why is this a prime time game? Did Holmgren have something to do with this?

Iggins!: I’m pretty sure Seattle will win this game, but that’s far too crazy to actually pick, so the Packers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Packers.

NCAA Week 4 Prognostication Bukakke


Code Red: 12-8
Iggins!: 11-9
Mrs. Code Red: 9-11

Code Red: 16-16
Mrs. Code Red: 16-16
Iggins!: 14-18

Code Red: 28-24
Mrs. Code Red: 25-27
Iggins!: 25-27

Oregon State @ #19 UCLA
Iggins!: With Wisconsin barely beating UNI and Utah State, it’s hard to say how good Oregon State is. Of course, it’s equally difficult to assess how good that UCLA win over Nebraska was because B1G teams tend to lose strange games when they travel to the west coast. I’ll take UCLA to win because I don’t have a lot of faith that OSU is suddenly good.

Code Red: UCLA is ranked? God this is a wasteland. UCLA wins. Or something. Wait, didn’t I say UCLA would go to a bowl game or something? HA! I’m RIGHT ABOUT UCLA!

Mrs. Code Red: Oregon State. Worked for me last time. 
#2 LSU @ Auburn
Code Red: Gene Chizik is so lucky Cam preferred Auburn’s cash to Mississippi State’s. LSU wins.

Iggins!: There must have been something additional involved. Like free pizza for life or something. LSU wins.

Mrs. Code Red: LSU.

#18 Michigan @ #11 Notre Dame
Iggins!: Having people talking national title for Notre Dame is making me physically ill, but Michigan has looked just terrible. Notre Dame wins.

Code Red: They’re not doing that, are they? TELL ME THEY’RE NOT DOING THAT. Notre Dame wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Notre Dame. 
Rutgers @ Arkansas
Code Red: Woof. Must be a shitty week. Arkansas I suppose. 
Iggins!: Pretty damn slim pickings. I’ll take Arkansas in an extremely tepid fashion, just because it’s Big East vs. SEC. But I can definitely see Rutgers beating the snot out of the Razorbacks.

Mrs. Code Red: Arkansas? 
#15 Kansas State @ #6 Oklahoma
Iggins!: Oklahoma is #6, and that’s kind of sad. They looked poor against UTEP, and it’s hard to discern how good a team is by watching them beat Florida A&M. I’ll go out on a limb and take Kansas State to win.

Code Red: Well, that makes this one easy for me. Oklahoma wins.
Mrs. Code Red: Oklahoma. 
#10 Clemson @ #4 Florida State
Code Red: Can’t pick against FSU at home. Florida State wins

Iggins!: Well, you know I’m not picking against Clemson here. Clemson wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Florida State. I don't trust Clemson.

Utah @ Arizona State
Iggins!: I like Utah, but ASU has been surprisingly stout. Meh, I hate Todd Graham, so Utah wins.

Code Red: I was pretty impressed with ASU, and that’s a hellish place to play (devil pun not intended). AZ State wins. 
Iggins!: I think that was intended.

Mrs. Code Red: Arizona State

#22 Arizona @ #3 Oregon

Code Red: Arizona’s defense has looked…porous. Oregon’s offense is wont to exploit such things. Oregon wins.
Iggins!: Richrod is ranked. Goddamnit. Oregon wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Oregon.

BYU @ #24 Boise State
Iggins!: I’ll take Boise State at home here, but this could go either way. Losing to any B1G team this season is pretty much admitting you’re irrelevant.

Code Red: BYU is underwhelming as well. Boise State wins.
Mrs. Code Red: Boise State

Missouri @ #7 South Carolina
Code Red: Defense will be way too stout for Mizzou to handle. South Carolina wins. 
Iggins!: Missouri is going to take their lumps this year. South Carolina wins.

Mrs. Code Red: South Carolina.

Friday, September 14, 2012

What Have We Learned?

Well, that was painful. On the other hand, it might be a good thing to get this shellacking out of the way before the Bears get cocky (too late) or the fanbase anoints them potential Super Bowl Champions (guilty). The Bears are 1-1! That the second one involved the Packers makes it sting, but it doesn't change the fact that this is Week 2 of the NFL season. What's important here is to learn from this game's mistakes so that when Week 15 rolls around the Bears can finally (mercifully) take care of business against this team at Soldier Field. So what should the Bears have learned?

Lesson 1: We Fired Mike Martz for a Reason.

...and we don't want him back. Mr. Tice, last week you decided to try to set up the run with the pass (or more likely just tried to set up the pass with the pass). This resulted in a 2/13 start including a pick-6 for Jay. So what did you do against Green Bay, a team whose only defensive strength is pass rushing?

The same thing.

Interesting. So you have a top-5 RB on your roster (please don't be gone long, Matt), signed a separate running back in the off-season who is also excellent, are playing a team whose lone strength on defense is rushing the quarterback... and you choose to put the quarterback in the most imminent danger.

Here's your lesson, Mike: run the ball. All the receivers in the world can't help J'Marcus Webb. Did you notice how effective the offense was after Forte and Bush started getting handoff after handoff? The offense moved methodically down the field. The Packers had no answer. The receivers started to get separation. The Packers had to back off the pass rush to prepare for another bruising 8 yard run from Michael Bush. Imagine if you had started the game that way. Let's try it against the Rams.

Lesson 2: J'Marcus Webb is There. Deal With It.

The Bears aren't getting a new left tackle after week 2. Maybe Chris Williams takes over, but if he couldn't beat out Webb, do we really want that? So it's time to accept it and move forward.

For Jay, here's your lesson: every once in a while, you're going to get hit. Sorry. If you get hit in three seconds by some guy flying in from your blind spot, that's forgiveable. But if it takes longer than that to find someone downfield, dump that thing off. Stop looking downfield. Once 4-Mississippi passes you can be positive someone has run right past J'Marcus and wants your death. Get rid of it.

For Mike Tice; did you learn not one thing from last season? WE HAVE TIGHT ENDS. When you use them to help Webb block people, people get blocked! Amazing! Are you aware you can have a tight end blocking alongside Webb while also having four receivers on the field or even three receivers and an RB? Well you can! I suggest you consider this.

Lesson 3: Oh, Jay.

Well, Jay, I guess we could have seen this coming. It's true; inviting the Packer pass rush for the first two quarters was monumentally stupid. And Marshall dropped that TD pass. But you threw some of the worst damned passes I have ever seen last night.

Is it the Packer mystique, or do they have your number? Nope, you just had a bad game. Very bad. You made bad decision after bad decision. Whether it was throwing into double coverage, underthrowing open receivers, or just really bad decision-making, you really took the whole damn cake of failure and ate it too.

So, here's my lesson for you: calm down. Stop taking the game so personally. You were desperately heaving hail marys into double coverage when the Bears were down less than two touchdowns! If nothing is open? Dump it off or run. It's fine! I swear.

You know who else was having a bad night? Aaron Rodgers. He was getting beat to hell, his receivers were dropping passes, and he even overthrew two receivers open for big gains. But what did he do? Stayed calm. Observed the field. Threw short, quick completions to establish an offensive rhythm. Being down less than two touchdowns isn't a panic situation, and you saw, on that field goal drive, that underneath routes were plenty open.

If something isn't going your way, don't worry. You have the talent to turn it around. Just stop getting so desperate to get it all back in one shot.

Lesson 4: To the Fans

We overreacted. The Bears showed us all the potential we had been drooling over last week and more. It gave us, and the Bears, the confidence and swagger to think the Packers would go down. Obviously that was not the case.

But let's not overreact to this game either. The defense was incredibly stout. They gave up 16 points to Aaron Rodgers. I'll take that any day of the week. Tice is a new offensive coordinator, and it will take a few weeks to settle into the appropriate rhythm for this offense. Jay has been far too excited to throw it downfield in the first two games. Hopefully now he'll check down to shorter routes some as well. Thursday games are notoriously awful for the Bears, and the short week clearly took it's toll. With ten days rest until a game against the lowly Rams, let's see what the Bears change.

Titles aren't won in Week 2. What's important here is to learn. As long as the Bears can learn from this and develop, maybe that Week 15 game will be different. I'm actually more excited for that St. Louis game than I was for last night's game. The mark of a great team is to learn and rebound from adversity. The Packers did it last night. Here's to hoping the Bears do it next Sunday.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Packers 23, Bears 10. Shell Shocked

I was prepared for a lot of things tonight. I could have accepted the Bears defense struggling, or Aaron Rodgers just coming out and refusing to go 0-2. I could have accepted anything but what actually happened.

The song somehow remains the same. How? How does this happen? How does Green Bay right the ship just in time? How does Mike Tice forget the VERY FUCKING REASON he got the job he has and run Matt Forte four fucking times in an entire half? How does the offensive line just collapse like that after all the work that's been put into rectifying the situation?

I know you're never as bad or as good as your best or worst game, but it's hard to really know what to fucking make of this team at this point. That was a goddamn disaster however you want to put it. Silver lining? The defensive line was a menace for the second straight game. The secondary covered well. If you hold Aaron Rodgers to 16 points on offense, you deserve some fucking kudos.

Unfortunately, this offense was just a fucking abortion. The offensive line was battered for 7 sacks. The wide receivers dropped, by my count, at least five passes, including a TD. Mike Tice, again, much like his predecessor, didn't even attempt to run the ball in the first half against a team that surrendered 187 yards rushing last week. All of this is pathetic.

The meatballs will have their day tomorrow, and frankly, they fucking deserve it. This team deserves all of the scorn the fanbase can muster for sniffing its own shit too fast. Lovie Smith deserves it for getting absolutely outclassed. Mike Tice just pissed on all of the good will he'd been extended. It's over. Honeymoon is passed. Now you're going to have to work really damn hard to erase the stain of what you just did there.

We deserve it, too, for all of the empty boasting. Will their be better days ahead? Absolutely. There's no reason to despair over the possibility of missing the playoffs or even to forget the offensive performance from last week. This team is still capable of that, but it ultimately isn't going to mean a damn thing if they can't ever solve the problem of beating Green Bay. Like it or not, they're always going to be in the way. Right now, the Bears are the little brother, and until they grow up, they're fighting for second place.

If you think I'm going to excuse Jay Cutler, well, you're wrong. I thought he was past this, too. Maybe he was as shocked as we were that things hadn't changed. He'd certainly seemed to have  reached a point where he could just work around the protection issues and avoid frustration. Tonight it was a meltdown. Is it understandable after the sacks, and the drops? Of course. Is it forgiveable? No. He's still not an elite QB. They don't do that. The monkey on his back is the comparison to the guy across the sidelines. It ain't fair, but it's the truth. Rodgers was largely neutralized tonight, but the difference between him and Cutler was that he didn't turn the ball over, and his team won the ball game.

Just fucking disappointing. So glad I get to stew over this one for ten fucking days.

Good night.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

For the Record: Week 1 Review and Packer Hate Edition


So let's start this shit with the Bears. How fantastic was that? It was exactly as we envisioned, right? The pass game opened up the run game, Forte looked explosive, Bush looked great, Marshall dominated, and once Cutler settled down he spread the ball out nicely. Plus we now have TWO wide receivers who will catch the ball in double coverage and maybe even three considering how fiery Earl looked. We haven't had ONE of those for... I can't remember. Have we had one of those? The defense gave up a Donald Brown TD, but otherwise looked stout. And Jennings really stepped up.

Yeah. That was incredible. I try very hard to stifle the tiny voice of meatball pessimism in me (the one that’s currently whispering “but the Packerrrrrzzz neverss starts 0s-n-2sssszes. How we hatesss themmsss”), but I’d gotten used to the Bears responding to preseason hype with awful, awful debuts. Like the Cutler opener in 2009. That was the kind of dickpunch I almost half expected, and it opened up like that. I was seconds away from expecting Marshall to tear his hammy and the Bears starting Sanzenbacher by week 3.

Except, they recovered. That whole game plan really shows why Mike Martz should get punched in the mouth. They ran the ball effectively, threw short to get the passing game going, then went deep off of play action and with the tight end staying in to block. The result? A more effective deep passing game than Martz ever managed despite all of his attempts to force it.

God I love Alshon Jeffery. Marshall was everything he’s proven himself to be over his career. Earl was wide open on 3rd down because that’s just what he does. They used Devin effectively as well. The defense looked fine. It was 34-14 and they’d allowed less than 200 total yards when they called off the dogs and pulled Urlacher, Briggs, and Peppers (with Tillman already out). So we know if the Bears lose all four Pro Bowlers from last year they’ll give up meaningless yards. Who cares? Tim Jennings is a good ballplayer. So is Kelvin Hayden. I hope Tillman’s ready to go Thursday, because I’ll feel more confident with those three and DJ Moore matched up on Green Bay’s guys than I’ve felt in a while.

Prognostication Bukakke NCAA Week 3.

#1 Alabama @ Arkansas
Iggins!: It would be the most John L. Smith thing in the world to beat Alabama after losing to Louisiana-Monroe, but Tyler Wilson may be out of this one. Alabama wins.

Code Red: Last season I lost the progkakke because I picked against Nick Saban. I did it again in week one, and suffered once more. Never. Again. Alabama wins.
Mrs. Code Red: Alabama. Roll tide. 
North Carolina @ #19 Louisville
Code Red: Hmm. Louisville is ranked? This is a tough call. UNC just lost to Wake. Louisville is an overachiever with a mediocre offense. I choose UNC.

Iggins!: Good, we disagree on something this week! Shouldn’t that UNC just lost to Wake be a bright red, flashing deterrent? Because if Louisville is an overachiever with a mediocre offense, what does that make Wake Forest? You need to stop this UNC obsession while you’re still able. Louisville wins.

Mrs. Code Red: North...Carolina? I don't know. I tend to take state schools when I know nothing about either school, because, hey, they've got more money, right?

#18 Florida @ #23 Tennessee
Iggins!: Oh joy. Two ranked teams who should not be ranked. Take the home team? Tennessee wins.

Code Red: Fuck, I don’t know. Honor bound, still. Florida, I guess. 
Mrs. Code Red: Florida's been sucking lately, right? Tennessee.

Code Red: Only for about three years now. 
Arizona State @ Missouri
Code Red: That Arizona State offense was very impressive against Illinois, who did, for what it’s worth, have the #7 defense in the country last year. But they’re traveling east for this one, and Missouri’s offense is also explosive. Mizzou wins. 
Iggins!: Yup, just as disastrous as a B1G team heading west is a Pac-12 team heading east. Mizzou takes it.

Mrs. Code Red: Mizzou.

#2 USC @ #21 Stanford
Iggins!: USC has looked a little shaky. I’d imagine this game gets them back on track. USC wins.

Code Red: They’ve looked sort of like a #1 team that’s not coached by Nick Saban, that’ll dick around with shitty teams because they know they don’t have to work. I’d assume they’ll right the ship in conference play. USC wins. 
Mrs. Code Red: USC.

#20 Notre Dame @ #10 Michigan State
Code Red: Oh great. This fucking game. I never pick it right. I guess Notre Dame because they’re more experienced? Enjoy your win now, MSU.

Iggins!: Your picks seem unusually risk-takey this week? I thought we were going to agree on everything! I’ve got Michigan State by a lot.

Mrs. Code Red: Michigan State.

#25 BYU @ Utah
Iggins!: Utah got upset last week by Utah State. I don’t see a team as talented as Utah losing to their two in-state rivals two weeks in a row. Utah wins.

Code Red: But they just lost their quarterback. I mean, Jordan Wynn injured his shoulder so many times he just quit. I have to take BYU here.
Iggins!: Are we acting like losing Jordan Wynn is an issue here? Utah always plays without Jordan Wynn! I imagine having him on the field at this point just confuses them.

Mrs. Code Red: BYU.

Utah State @ Wisconsin
Code Red: God the Big Ten is so awful. I can’t see Wisconsin losing two in a row, though. Badgers win, still fucked. 

Iggins!: This Utah State team is tricky. They pulled a lot of near-upsets last year and I like Chuckie Keeton. Plus Wisconsin sucked against NIU, then got beaten by Oregon State. I’ll risk it and take Utah State to win.

Mrs. Code Red: Wisconsin. 
Virginia @ Georgia Tech
Iggins!: Were it not for one of the worst performances by an NCAA kicker ever, Virginia would have lost to Penn State. That’s enough for me to say Georgia Tech wins.

Code Red: This is true. Georgia Tech. 
Mrs. Code Red: Georgia Tech.

Wake Forest @ #5 Florida State
Code Red: UNC is one thing, Wake. This is a whole different animal. Florida State wins. 
Iggins!: Wake was the team that first reminded the country that FSU was still FSU last year. I’ll take FSU to win but this is a tricky game.

Mrs. Code Red: Florida State.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Prognostication Bukakke, NFL Week 2

Prognostication Bukakke Standings:

After one week, I am back where I belong. Standing atop Iggins! in the prognostication bukakke standings. Sure, it's just one game, but it is the sign of things to come. The standings:

Code Red: 5-5
Iggins!: 5-5
Mrs. Code Red: 4-6

Code Red: 9-7
Iggins!: 8-8
Mrs. Code Red: 8-8

Code Red: 14-12
Iggins!: 13-13
Mrs. Code Red: 12-14

The Picks:

Bears @ Packers
Code Red: There's no reason to believe the Bears can't win this game. Their defense is clearly better at this point. Their offense is no longer outgunned, and they in fact have a considerable advantage if you factor in the superiority of their run game. Rodgers and desperation are not to be underestimated, but this game should belong to Cutler & Company. Bears 38-24.

Iggins!: The Bears certainly demonstrated that they are the superior team here. They have a similarly-powered passing attack, a far superior run game, and a better defense. Bears 45-28

Mrs. Code Red: Bears 27-24.

Buccaneers @ Giants
Iggins!: The Bucs won last week by being fundamentally sound. It was one of the most boring and structured things I have ever seen on a Sunday. The good part, for me, is that I have Doug Martin, and they run their entire offense through him. The bad part, for them, is that the Giants have a great defense and are pissed off. Giants win.

Code Red: Indeed. I feel the Bucs win last week bodes more ill for Carolina than it does good for Tampa. Giants win.

Mrs. Code Red: Giants.

Browns @ Bengals
Code Red: Brandon Weeden had the worst debut for a rookie quarterback since 1960. That's serious suck, since most rookies fail epically at the start. The Bengals played better than the final score against the Ravens, since that game turned late on Dalton's pick six. Bengals win.

Iggins!: Eh, the Bengals fell apart worse than that, even worse than the Chiefs, but it won’t matter against the worst team in the league. Bengals win.

Mrs. Code Red: Bengals.

Raiders @ Dolphins
Iggins!: Ugh. This is going to be a game filled with suck. The Raiders seemed to move the ball well last week, and their defense looked solid, but miscue after miscue doomed them. I can’t imagine Tannehill winning this game. Raiders win.

Code Red: The Raiders will not make the playoffs, but if Palmer and McFadden stay healthy there will be 2-3 games where they wake the fuck up and upset people big time. This game won’t be an upset, though. Raiders win.

Mrs. Code Red: Raiders.

Chiefs @ Bills
Code Red: Both of these teams got the shit kicked out of them, but at least Kansas City was competitive for one half. I've now lost all faith in the Bills. Or would have, if I'd ever had any? Chiefs win.

Iggins!: The Chiefs looked competent for a while against Atlanta. Their defense should tighten up and perform better than they did last week. And the Bills are terrible. Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red: Bills.

Ravens @ Eagles
Code Red: The Ravens looked incredibly impressive. The Eagles looked like shit against the Browns. I'll take the Ravens, but I expect Cam Cameron to throw too damn often against a stout Eagles secondary and ignore Ray Rice until Michael Vick gives the Ravens enough opportunities to win that Cameron finally takes one. Ravens win.

Iggins!: Based on simple observation I have to go with the Ravens here. Ravens win.

Mrs. Code Red: Ravens.

Vikings @ Colts
Iggins!: Both of these teams looked fairly competent last week, but not spectacular. I’ll give the nod to the Vikings because they’ll run Purple Jesus all over the Colts. Vikings win.

Code Red: I’ll take Andrew Luck. Just a feeling. Colts win.

Mrs. Code Red: Colts.

Cardinals @ Patriots
Code Red: Kevin Kolb saved the day! Won't matter at all against the Patriots, though. Pats win.

Iggins!: Won’t be close. Patriots win.
Mrs. Code Red: Patriots.

Texans @ Jaguars
Iggins!: So the Texans get two FCS schools to start their schedule? Texans win.

Code Red: Their schedule’s pretty soft until they have to face the Bears and Packers. That is good, because they deserve a smooth road to a second chance after the playoffs after Matt Schaub’s injury crippled a Superbowl contender last year. Texans win.

Mrs. Code Red: Texans.

Saints @ Panthers
Code Red: This could go either way. I feel like the Panthers didn't really upgrade their defense at all (they drafted a LB, the one position on defense they Didn't need), so Brees could have a field day. On the other hand, the Saints couldn't even dream of stopping RGIII when the Skins used the zone read, which Cam Newton has absolutely NO experience running. Nope. Definitely unlikely that Panthers will have any success running the ball with their QB. Coin flip. Saints win in a high scorer.

Iggins!: People mistakenly believed that the Panthers would be a dark horse this season. But they didn’t change anything. Cam Newton STILL can’t do everything, guys. Saints win.

Mrs. Code Red: Saints.

Redskins @ Rams
Iggins!: Watching the zone-read in the NFL is strange but also pleasant. RG3 ran it like a master last week, and the Rams almost beating Detroit was more an indictment of Detroit than a proclamation for St. Louis. RG3 wins.

Code Red: What he said. RG3 wins and Redskin fans lose all sense of perspective. RETURN TO GLOREEEE COOCH!

Mrs. Code Red: Redskins.

Cowboys @ Seahawks
Code Red: I expect Tony Romo to make a few horrible passes against that fairly stout secondary, but there's no way the Seahawks can hang in this one for four quarters. Cowboys win.

Iggins!: It would be a very Romo thing to do to lose to the Seahawks after beating the Giants, but I have to take Dallas to win.

Mrs. Code Red: Cowboys.

Titans @ Chargers
Iggins!: The Chargers looked pretty bad while beating the Raiders. Were it not for three botched punts, 1200 penalties on Tommy Kelly, and the golden foot of Nate Kaeding, the Bolts would have lost. On the other hand, the Titans have a second year QB and a terrible running back. Chargers win, go 2-0, people get excited, then they start losing A LOT.

Code Red: I don’t think the Chargers looked that bad. Their defense looked considerably better than last year, at least. They’ll have enough to beat a severely injured Jake Locker. Chargers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Chargers.

Jets @ Steelers
Code Red: The whole “Tebow inspired Mark Sanchez to not suck!” bit will end abruptly when he regresses back to Rico Mirerez against the Steelers. Steelers win.

Iggins!: What did I tell you about the whole “whoever wins, someone is overreacting” thing? The Jets should get brought right back to earth here. Steelers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Steelers.

Lions @ 49ers
Iggins!: The Lions and especially Matt Stafford showed their true colors Sunday. The 49ers should tear these guys to pieces. 49ers win.

Code Red: Courtland Finnegan was pretty damning when he said “we know what Matthew Stafford likes to do, so we just took it away.” He’s a pretty one dimensional quarterback. Imagine what a defense as good as the 49ers can do if the Rams provided the blueprint.

Mrs. Code Red: 49ers.

Broncos @ Falcons
Code Red: Peyton Manning was Peyton Manning, and that's good enough for me. The Falcons were impressive on offense, but I'll not ignore that they allowed Matt Cassell to put them on their heels for most of the first half, and they just lost their best cornerback in Brent Grimes. Broncos win.

Iggins!: I really feel a Peyton Manning come-back-to-earth moment here, but all your points have convinced me. Broncos win.

Mrs. Code Red: Broncos.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Bears 41, Colts 21

Admit it, you were worried. Jay was 1-10 for 13 yards and a pick six. The offensive line had a sack and penalty on the first drive. It was all going to go horribly awry. We've seen this movie before! Every time they tell us the shiny toy will change things it just blows up in our faces.

Except... maybe not. Maybe these Bears are different. Because after that Jay Cutler was 20 of 25 for 320 yards and two TDs. Two glorious TDs to his shiny new toys, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. New acquisition Michael Bush threw in two more, and, hey, Matt Forte's still here, and he's still awesome.

Maybe these Bears can score some points. Maybe these Bears are pretty good.

The breakdown;


The Offensive Line: I want to single these guys out, because the Bears were hammered all offseason long for their faith in the guys they had. Things looked ugly early, with a sack and penalty on the first drive, but they spent the rest of the game providing Cutler with the kinds of clean pockets he has rarely seen in Chicago, and he responded. They gave up just 1 sack the rest of the way and paved the way for 114 yards rushing and 3 rushing TDs from Bush and Forte. All told, the offense finished with 425 yards of offense and 41 pts, largely due to the guys up front. Let's hope this keeps up.

Jay Cutler: I've never seen Jay Cutler look as awful as he did on those first ten throws. Nor have I seen him look quite as dominant as he did afterward. The result? A final line of 20/35 (60%) for 333 yds (9.5 YPA)  2 TDs, 1 INT, and a sparkly 98.9 rating. His old rapport with Brandon Marshall clearly hadn't missed a step, and I can't remember anything in my life more beautiful than that laser 42 yard toss to Alshon Jeffery. Jay is back, people, and he may be better than ever.

Two-Headed RB Monster: Forte and Bush combined for 28 carries for 122 yds (4.4)  and 3 TDs, and the Bears actually converted multiple times on short yardage. So. Much. Talent.

Brandon Marshall: Is this what a wide receiver does? 9 receptions for 119 yards and a TD? Cutler hit Marshall repeatedly on slants, posts, comebacks, and one gorgeous back shoulder toss. Marshall created space and got open in the red zone for the Bears second TD of the game, and it's obvious that Cutler trusts him implicitly. He pulled in catch after catch despite double and even triple teams, and it's obvious that the attention he generated opened things up for Jeffery and the others. It was nice to have Cutler and Marshall justify the hype right away. Now they can just go play football.

Alshon Jeffery: For a guy who is supposedly fat and slow, Alshon sure got down quick on his 3 catches. He had a couple of nice catch and runs and then, well, you saw it, and it. was. awesome. He finished with 3 catches for 80 yards and TD.

Earl Bennett: The BBE threw in 3 receptions for 50 yards, all of them for first downs, two of them on third down, because he's a stone cold mother fucker. For the whole, the Bears wide receivers combined for 17 of Cutler's 21 completions for 276 yards, making it the most productive day for the Bears perimeter players since...maybe ever?

Henry Melton: The entire defensive line was disruptive all day, from Shea McClellin announcing his presence with an excellent hurry on 3rd down early in the game, to Julius Peppers making yet another awesome fumble recovery, to limiting the Colts to just 63 yards rushing (even Corey Wootton had his second career sack!), but Henry Melton stood out all day. He had 2 sacks late in the game after he'd keyed the entire defensive line for much of the afternoon. If HenMel can take advantage of lining up right next to Peppers and be the young Tommie Harris that he has the potential to be, look out.

Tim Jennings: After Tillman went out (God I hope he's ready to go for Green Bay), Jennings stepped up in a big way with 2 interceptions and a tipped ball that Conte picked off in the end zone. He was solid in coverage all day and really answered Lovie's challenge to generate more turnovers. Nice job, Tim. For the record, Kelvin Hayden played very well and may not be DOOM if he has to play in GB.

Brian Urlacher: He wasn't a huge factor, but, in the best of both worlds scenario, he played And the Bears were up big enough to pull him out early. Hope he knocked the rust off for Thursday.


1st Quarter Offense: It never happened. Never. Happened.

Andrew Luck: The kid will be fine, and he held up well despite constant pressure, but I know I'm going to hear people fellate him (and Bears meatballs panic) over the 300 yards he put up, mostly after the Bears were up 34-14 and pulled Urlacher, Peppers, and Briggs. He threw 3 picks and mostly gained garbage time yardage. He looked completely ineffective before the Bears called off the dogs. Let's not crown his ass yet. Now RGIII....

Charles Tillman Leaving the Game: That's never good. Please let it be minor.


Nothing. Football is back, the Bears won big, and that offense is unlike anything we've ever had the privilege to watch. Life is good, man.

Go Bears. Hate Week begins....NOW.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Prognostication Bukakke, NCAA Week 2

The schedule is still fairly light this early in the season, so none of these are earth shattering matchups. That said, tradition demands we start them both the same week, so here are the college picks:

Also, the Mrs., who still hates college football, had this to say before her picks:  "Here are my selections. I don't feel like giving any sort of explanation for them, so I won't. Maybe next week."

Miami (FL) @ #22 Kansas State
Iggins!: K-State looked about as blah as you possibly can in a 51-9 win (35 of those 51 points came in the fourth quarter), but there’s absolutely no way Miami wins this here. Their team is in disarray, has a new QB, is just waiting for a massive NCAA sanction hammer, and is from the ACC. K-State wins.

Code Red: Miami is a disaster and I just don’t know how they’re going to get out of it. I also don’t care. K-State wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Kansas State.

#19 Oklahoma State @ Arizona
Code Red: Okay. 84 points is impressive regardless of opponent. OK State reloads fast, generally. They can handle an inexperienced AZ squad. OK State.

Iggins!: Richrod put up 600 yards of offense last week. And scored 17 points. What the hell? Oklahoma State wins.

Mrs. Code Red: OK State.

Auburn @ Mississippi State
Iggins!: Jesus, you pronounce Kiehl like Kyle? That name is ridiculous. Auburn put up a solid fight against Clemson. Of course, Clemson didn’t have Sammy Watkins, and Andre Ellington demolished them on the ground. Auburn is not good. Gene Chizik is not good. Mississippi State wins.

Code Red: I always feel uncomfortable picking Miss. State to win a game that may require them to score at least 10 points. I will do so anyway. MSU wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Auburn.

North Carolina @ Wake Forest
Code Red: Damn you, week 2. These games suck. I’ll take UNC because I think that’s what I did when we predicted this division. UNC. They have a QB I’ve heard of.

Iggins!: I believe you did, and I picked Wake here. I’m not a UNC believer this season, and I WANT to believe in Wake. That is foolish, because they are Wake Forest, but what the hell? Wake Forest wins.

Mrs. Code Red: UNC.

#1 USC @ Syracuse
Iggins!: They say this is a neutral field, but since they’re playing in New York I’m going to go ahead and say this is a home game for ‘Cuse. Impressive comeback by the Orange last week, but in the end it fell short just like Syracuse seems to have done since McNabb left. USC destroys.

Code Red: USC murders everything in sight.

Mrs. Code Red: USC
Iowa State at Iowa
Code Red: Iowa State won last year. They looked more impressive last week. Iowa may not be very good at all. I thoroughly enjoy when Iowa State beats Iowa. But they’re in Kinnick and this is clearly just a trap. Iowa wins.

Iggins!: So scared. So very, very scared. Iowa has retooled their defense for just such an occasion as this. They’re good against running QBs who run the spread now, and worse against the offenses they traditionally dominate (pro-style). So in Kinnick, yeah, Iowa should get this win here easily. But their red zone offense was atrocious last week, Greg Davis is a moron who has no idea how to call passes downfield, and Iowa ran Damon Bullock like he was Shonn fucking Greene. If Iowa lost last year, they should lose this year, but fuck it. I’m not picking Iowa State to beat Iowa in Iowa City. PLEASE GOD WIN HAWKEYES.

Mrs. Code Red: Iowa.

#23 Florida @ Texas A&M
Iggins!: Somehow, Florida is ranked. God I hate these polls. Driskel won the starting job last week by… going 10/16 for 116 yards and a TD against Bowling Green. Huh. At least the Florida run game looked solid. Texas A&M got hurricaned out of their opener last week, so they get to debut at home against the Gators. So long as the A&M run game can move the ball on the Florida defense the Aggies should get the win here at home.

Code Red: Yeah…the ranked Florida think is a bit premature. I don’t even think they’re going to win but I picked them for some reason before the season so I’m honor bound. Florida wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Texas A&M

#12 Wisconsin @ Oregon State
Code Red:
Also seems like it could be a trap, since that’s a tough road trip and my heart tells me Oregon State’s not as bad as it has been the last two years. Still, I’m going to assume UNI’s comeback rid Wisconsin of their complacency. Wisconsin wins.

Iggins!: UNI is a good team, and they tend to put up a great fight against BCS conference opponents, plus Wisconsin tends to almost lose to a terrible team in their non-conference schedule every year. They should mop the floor with OSU. Wisconsin wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Oregon State

Code Red: Jesus. I wish she'd given an explanation for that one, at least.

#17 Nebraska @ UCLA
Iggins!: UCLA had three extra points blocked last week. They also let Rice run all over them for the first two quarters before tightening up in the second half. I’m not sure this whole “Taylor Martinez Passing Effectively” thing is going to continue, but even if it doesn’t Nebraska should own UCLA’s shit. Nebraska wins.

Code Red: I’m riding Nebraska because that’s what I do, but there’s no way in hell Taylor Martinez will keep passing like that. Nebraska wins.

Mrs. Code Red: Nebraska.

Illinois @ Arizona State
Code Red: Illinois did nothing last week to show me they were anything more than the great defensive team with a weak offense that they were last year. That team would lose in Arizona because Big Ten teams always do, so I’ll take AZ State.

Iggins!: Big Ten team in the desert? Instafail, especially considering Illinois’ shortcomings. AZ State wins.

Mrs. Code Red: AZ State.