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Monday, December 30, 2013

Packers 33, Bears 28- A Fitting End

The most surprising thing is the lack of anger. Not during the game, of course. No, then I screamed so much (particularly at That Goddamn Fumble) that my beloved family dog hid under the table and nearly wet herself. The surprise is that now, a whole day removed, there is no anger.

What could I be mad at? Chris Conte? What could he be expected to do there, other than to be Chris Conte? There was nothing shocking about it. Hell, the greater surprise is his excellent read and interception of Rodgers in the end zone. That last play? Anger seems misplaced at this point. Fatigue, certainly, but anger comes from some kind of surprise, some kind of expectation that wasn't met leading to disappointment. It all came down to one of the most dangerous quarterbacks ever versus the worst defense, and arguably the worst player on the worst defense, in the NFL. The result shouldn't merit anger. Sky is blue. Water is wet. Chris Conte sucks. So we move on.

In the end, the Bears did more than I expected, if you'd asked me to tell you the truth. They led in the fourth quarter. They made me believe for more than a goddamn second that they'd pull it off. Their highly-touted offense actually showed up in a game that mattered and gave me hope that, in the future, with a better defense, they could truly, finally, stop being Green Bay's little brother. We knew that day wasn't going to be yesterday, though, and so there is no anger here. Today they are what they were always meant to be with an offense that good and a defense that bad: 8-8.

Now begins what may honestly be the most interesting offseason the Bears have had in my lifetime, and that's including last year's turnover. Phil Emery has decisions to make, and, fortunately, has the cap room to make them. His entire tenure as Bears GM will be defined by the moves he makes in the next few months. As a believer in Phil Emery, I think this is, oddly enough to say after a gut-wrenching lost to Those Mother F*&kers, a good time to be a Bears fan.

The Good:

Matt Forte: perhaps the most refreshing thing about Trestman's approach to the Packers this year has been that he, of all the Bears offensive minds to tangle with Dom Capers in the last few years, has been the first to have the novel idea of running the damn ball. Forte this year rushed for 235 yards on 46 carries against the Packers. In this game alone he had 157 yards from scrimmage and 3 TDs. Green Bay had no answer for him. Matt, kind of quietly (and that's odd to say for a guy who made the Pro Bowl) had the greatest year of his career with 1931 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns. I love you, Matty.

Jay Cutler: He had easily the best game of his career against the Packers, completing 15 of 24 passes for 226 yards and 2 TDs with a 103.8 rating. His only turnover came on a desperation throw on the last play of the game, and while some have complimented him for being a "game manager" in this game, he did most of his damage downfield, with a 37 yard strike to Marshall setting up one touchdown and a 67 yard bomb to Jeffery setting up another. You'll all no doubt be surprised to know that I hope this is Not Jay's last game in a Bear's uniform, and I don't think it is.

Brandon Marshall: He had a painful drop on the last drive, but was otherwise brilliant, and he and Cutler combined for one of the more impressive TDs in Bears memory, with the two of them communicating silently on an hot route on what was supposed to be a run play.

Tim Jennings: He had a nice interception and Rodgers passer rating when throwing into Tim's coverage was just 54.6. Thanks for not sucking as much as everyone else, TJ. See you next year, I hope.


The Bad:


Mel Tucker: I was reluctant to board the fire Mel Tucker train. I'm generally loathe to blame a coach when his players clearly suck, but I've yet to see Mel Tucker do anything this year that inspired me to think he'd be more than average at best even if he was given the 2012 Bears defense. That last play was an abominable call, and the fact that three of the four members of the secondary (all veterans, mind you) played the wrong coverage on a 4th and 8 in week 17 of the season has to fall on him. He can go.

Chris Conte: Just. Go. Away.

Every One of You Assholes Who Just Watched that Ball: Seriously, f*&k you.

Chris Conte: You are a crime against humanity.

Officiating: Jay Cutler himself said there's no way that penalty on McClellin would have been a penalty if it had been a defender gently wafting over His body instead of Aaron Rodgers. That was terrible. So was what was clearly NOT  a touchback. I'm kind enough to attribute these mistakes to mere incompetence rather than any form of corruption, but they did the Bears no favors.

The Ugly:

The end of the season: the worst day of my year, every year. Provided no relative has died. Even then it might depend on the relative.

That's all for now. There will be  much, much more to come as the offseason generally gives me the chance for long-winded reviews and monologues on various topics, and this offseason especially will provide plenty of fodder for discussion. I'll see you all later. Until then, Go Bears.













Chris Conte sucks. 

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Eagles A Lot, Bears 11- Forget What I Said About Fun

As of right now the Eagles have 54 points. They may hit 60. I'm going to go ahead and write this recap now. It'll be quick.

This sucked. Oh my God did it suck. Yet next week we could forget all about it if they beat Green Bay. Or not. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

THE GOOD:

The Lions and Packers: They lost. The Bears still control their own fate and Rodgers isn't playing next week. I guarantee it. He's not going to magically heal in another week, folks. If Green Bay wasn't going to risk him this week they won't next week. The Bears can still easily make the playoffs. Not that we'll want to see what's going to happen when they do.

The Bad: 

The offensive line: I'm going to start here, because we expected the defense to suck. Odds are there was no fucking way the offense at it's best could win a shootout with a team that was going to run for 300 yards, but they couldn't even get started in that direction thanks to an abysmal performance in run and pass blocking by the line and Matt Forte. I got horrible flashbacks to OL's of recent memory, and I didn't like it.

Devin Hester: God. Dammit. Devin.

The Wide Receivers: I refuse to believe that the 31st ranked pass defense in the NFL improved so much that Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery were suddenly incapable of getting open. They dropped several passes as well. It was embarrassing to see the strength of the team fail to show up at all tonight.

Marc Trestman: The game plan was terrible. The short passing game that had worked so well all season was nowhere to be found as Trestman called mostly deep drops and slow-developing routes against a defense blitzing on every down.

Mel Tucker: I know there were injuries, I know guys like Peppers and Briggs are just older and slower, but this was the closest the team came to playing with a full-deck in months, with Ratliff, Paea, Briggs, all playing, and they were utterly destroyed on every play. There's no way coaching doesn't play Some factor in a team that is fooled by every single play-action, every misdirection, and every screen. He may just be a scape goat, but something tells me even at his best Mel Tucker is probably not a great defensive coordinator, and they're going to need one of those going forward.
  
Lance Briggs: Jesus, what did you eat while you were out, Lance?

Shea McClellin:  Just stop with this. He's not getting any better. He's the worst defensive end in the NFL and I can't even pretend that's hyperbole. Get rid of him.

And the Rest: You all suck.

Adam Podlesh: I won't pretend that the Eagles wouldn't have scored on that first drive even if Podlesh had booted it seventy yards, but he sure didn't help. He's been mediocre at best the last two years.

The Ugly:

Fuck you, NBC:
In case you didn't notice Michael Bush, Eric Weems, and Dante Rosario came in at the same time as Josh McCown. The fucking quarterback controversy graphics can go straight to hell. That was just Remember the Maine-level media bullshit.

Well, I'll see you all next week for the NFC North title game. With any luck we'll all be here commiserating Cam Newton/Colin Kaepernick or whoever else wins the wild card running roughshod over this defense in a few weeks as well. It's not over yet, even if we might want it to be after this.



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Football is Fun Again

It's funny how much a year can change things. Last year the Bears entered the last two games of the season at 8-6, needing two wins and a lot of help to get into the postseason. This year they find themselves in the same situation, and yet the mood is completely different.

Last year's team found itself in desperate straits through its own incompetence. The offense that could never get out of its own way had sputtered in a late season death spiral against the Texans, 49ers, Seahawks, Vikings, and Packers. The offensive coordinator and the quarterback weren't even on speaking terms. A defense that had been so brilliant to start the year saw its takeaways decrease, it's rushing totals increase, and it's leader depart for good with a final injury. The head coach who had survived against all odds on multiple occasions would finally run out of time. There was no excitement left for the stretch run because we were too damn mad that a stretch run was even necessary.

This year it all seems different, at least to me. I don't know if this defense, held together as it is with duct tape and spit, can do a damn thing to slow down LeSean McCoy. All of the excitement of this week may go right out the door with a loss to Chip Kelly's seemingly unstoppable offense. All of this could just be setting up a colossal nutpunch at the hands of Green Bay in week 17, but that doesn't really seem to matter right now.

The Bears, by all rights, shouldn't be in this situation. There's not a Bears fan alive who could possibly have assumed that this team would be in first place in week 14 if you'd told them that Jay Cutler would miss a month and that Charles Tillman, Lance Briggs, Henry Melton, and Nate Collins would miss even more than that. Given the scope of the injuries that this team has faced this year, Trestman and Co. are playing with house money. They've got no business making the playoffs, and so the sense of disappointment if they fail pales in comparison to the sheer dumb joy of the idea that it's even still possible.

I have enjoyed watching this team this season. They're often outmanned and outgunned, they've alternated between brilliant and pathetic (typically on opposite sides of the ball), and they've never yet been boring. I've spent much of the year trying to simply evaluate this team without even considering playoff possibilities. This offense has given me so much hope for 2014 that I hadn't really considered that they could still make something happen this year. Perhaps they won't, but these last two games, regardless of outcome, should be fun.

That's the thing about football that I often lose sight of in my obsessive focus on this team every year. Since the 2005 Bears first gave me hope, and especially since Jay Cutler's arrival, I've gotten caught up in debates over championship windows and "elite" quarterbacks and have spent so much time pondering end game scenarios and feeling the disappointment of the last few years so bitterly that I've sometimes failed to just enjoy the 16 weeks of football I'm guaranteed. That's not been the case this year. These Bears are fun to watch. They're not elite. Hell, they may not even be good, but they've given me 14 weeks of watchable football. Hopefully there's at least three games left. Go Bears.

Episode 30 of the SKOdCast is now up!



Nobody Expects the SKOdCast Episode 30!

On a Wednesday night, that is, but we've had to move up a day because things.

LINKAGE

Listen in as we laugh at Detroit and enjoy the strange twists of fortune that have landed the Bears in first place.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Bears 38, Browns 31- Something for Everyone

Do you hate Jay Cutler? I bet you enjoyed those two interceptions then, my frent. Josh McGowen wuddena made dose trows. Good ting da Bears defense bailed 'em out with dat pick six.

Do you love Jay Cutler? Hard not to when the guy completes 71% for 264 yards, 3 TDs, and a 102 rating in leading his team to a comeback win.

Do you love Marc Trestman? Well the guy showed some tremendous balls, stuck with his QB through a firestorm and came out of it on the right side of the victory column. His vaunted offense looked like total shit for large parts of three quarters and still sleepwalked their way to 440 yards and 31 offensive points against the #7 defense in the NFL, and they get a matchup next week against a defense that just allowed 48 points to Matt f*&king Cassel.

Do you love the Bears? Well, the best offense in franchise history managed to overcome it's own issues to keep the team in playoff contention. It was a banner day for everyone. Except Chris Conte. F&%k that guy.

The Good:

Jay Cutler: yeah, yeah, meatball. Eat it. When you complete 71% at 8.5 YPA and have 100+ passer rating, you wind up in the good column. I don't care how good Josh was, the offense is more fun to watch with Jay at the helm, even if it's not always for the right reasons.

Run-blocking: Matt Forte rushed for 127 yards, including *gasp* an easy 3rd and 1 conversion to keep a scoring drive alive. Michael Bush picked up yards, amazingly enough. They iced the game late and kept the chains moving most of the day.

Alshon Jeffery: Holy shit, kid. What did we ever do to deserve you?

Brandon Marshall: 6 catches for 95 yards and a TD, the TD and a beautiful 41 yard jump ball both coming on plays where Brandon flat-out schooled one of the best corners in the NFL in Joe Haden.

Zack Bowman: they were both gift-wrapped, horrid lobs by Jason Campbell, but with this defense you take what you're given.

Chud and Norv: thanks guys. We might have been in trouble there if you had tried running at all against the worst run defense in the NFL. Good thing you didn't.

The Bad:

Turnovers: Oh God, those picks. Neither was a particularly bad read, especially by Cutler standards, but one was underthrown and the other was way too high. Hopefully that was just the proverbial "rust". Then the Marty B fumble that was just depressing because I really never want to be mad at that handsome sonofabitch.

Chris Conte: WHAT PURPOSE DO YOU SERVE?! You can't tackle. You got beat deep for a Josh Gordon TD on a play where getting beat was utterly inexcusable. You let an interception on a game-tying drive bounce right off your chest. I hate you.

The Ugly:


My state of mind: Jesus Christ, me. Take a chill pill. Jay had plenty of time to right the ship and he did, you lack-of-faith having me. I hate me.

That's all for now. Let's root like hell for Baltimore tomorrow night. Go Bears.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Episode 29 of the SKOdCast is Now Up!



 The SKOdCast! Now with 100% more Damon Huard!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Bears 45, Cowboys 21- Sure, Why Not?

Well, that was a pleasant surprise. After a week of angst over missed opportunities and trepidation regarding the seeming mismatch between the Cowboys potent offense and the Bears woeful defense, the Bears somehow managed to come up with their most dominant win of the season. The offense scored on seven straight possessions, protecting the defense by keeping the ball out of Romo's hands all night. Josh McCown was as efficient as ever, Matt Forte had holes all night, and Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery made a mockery of Dallas' attempts to play man coverage against them. By the time it was all over the Bears managed a season-high 45 points and kept their playoff hopes alive.

The Good:

Alshon Jeffery: At what point is it OK to start comparing him to the AJ Greens and Calvin Johnsons of the world? Because I'm not seeing a whole lot that they can do that he isn't doing right now. What an absolute monster.

Matt Forte: 20 rushes, 102 yards, 9 catches, 73 yards, 1 TD. Forte went over 1,000 yards for the season tonight as well. This offense is really special. I just hope they don't waste it.

Brandon Marshall: 6 catches, 100 yards, over 1000 yards on the season as well, the first time the Bears have had two receivers and a runningback over 1000 yards each since 1995. This is fun.

Josh McCown: I wish this didn't have to be a debate. I wish I didn't have to keep pointing out the logical arguments in favor of Cutler, the talent disparity, the fact that the offense wasn't exactly unproductive under Jay. I wish it was simple for me just to admire the amazing story that Josh McCown really is. What a night for the guy. 5 touchdowns. Five.

Kyle Orton: did you see him? Glorious.

The Bad:

Run Defense: Historically bad! Huzzah! Never half ass it, boys.

The Ugly: 

Dallas in December: Hahaha. You guys suck.

That's all for now. The Bears stay alive. This week should be interesting, considering we'll all have to take shelter from the rage of a million meatballs when/if Trestman names Jay the starter for the game against Cleveland. Until then, let's enjoy this one.



Thursday, December 5, 2013

Episode 28 of the SKOdCast is Now Up!






However, Kyle seems to have failed to embed it correctly. Jesus Christ can nobody around here do anything but me. Talkshoe is experiencing some sort of difficulty at the moment, I'll rectify his grievous mistake as soon as possible.

Episode 28 of the SKOdCast is Live at 6:15 PM

How angry is Iggins! at Marc Trestman? SO ANGRY.

LINKATIVITY

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Episode 27 of the Start Kyle Orton Podcast WAS Live, but Nobody Told You About It.

Though you may not have known, Travis and I did do a podcast last Wednesday in anticipation of Thanksgiving and the Vikings game. Both of my cohorts said they would post it and neither of them did, because nobody but me does a Goddamn thing around here. Take this link.




Thursday, November 28, 2013

Progkakke Week 13

Iggins!: 94-52-1
Mrs. Code Red: 94-52-1
Code Red: 93-53-1
Erik: 86-60-1

Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) @ Detroit Lions (6-5)
Iggins!: Look, normally we don’t do contingency picks here, but in this case it is absolutely necessary. If Rodgers plays, Green Bay wins. If he does not, Lions win.

Erik: I might still pick the Lions, honestly, the Packers are just absolutely ravaged by injuries right now. I’m going to do it. Lions.

Code Red: They already said it's Flynn, so Lions it is.

Mrs. Code Red: Lions.

Oakland Raiders (4-7) @ Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
Erik: Barf. Cowboys.

Code Red: Barf indeed. Cowboys.

Mrs. Code Red: Cowboys.

Iggins!: Cowboys it is!

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) @ Baltimore Ravens (5-6)
Iggins!: Mediocrity abounds. Home team, I guess. Ravens win.

Erik: I would not be at all surprised to see the Steelers win, but the Ravens should.'

Code Red: Ravens?

Mrs. Code Red: Ravens at home, I suppose.

Chicago Bears (6-5) @ Minnesota Vikings (2-8-1)
Erik: There is not depth to which I do not believe this Bears defense cannot sink anymore. They are dead last against the run, and middle of the pack against the pass. But I believe the latter is only true because teams are getting 200+ yards on the ground and don’t need to pass. Still, Bears 24-17.

Code Red: So, so happy I get to watch Adrian Peterson do unspeakable things to this defense live. Bears 
win, 33-28.

Mrs. Code Red: Bears 34-30.

Iggins!: Like I said on the podcast, my official pick is Bears, but I have a strong feeling that the Vikings are going to take this one.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rams 42, Bears 21: It was even worse than it looked

By the numbers, the Bears hung in that game until the last five or so minutes of the fourth quarter. But actually watching it, there was no point at which "it is still mathematically possible for them to win" was a comforting thought to me. Despite heroic efforts from some of the offensive players, bad playcalling and an essentially nonexistent defense killed any hypothetical chance they had of staying in it.

They're still tied for first in the NFC North by dint of the Lions Lionsing and the Packers and Vikings managing a tie, but at this point winning the division is the only way this team makes the playoffs. The NFC is just too stacked at the five and six seeds for a 10-6 team with this many NFC losses to get in the back door.

The Good

Matt Forte mostly:  Other than a fumble on the first play from scrimmage that led to an early 14-0 Rams lead, Forte did everything he could to give this team a chance. He turned several plays that should've been losses into gains, sometimes pretty substantial ones. Whatever was causing his inability to evade a tackler in recent weeks has clearly been dealt with, his evasiveness was in full effect today. He evaded six tackles for an easy touchdown that Earl Bennet got called back on a totally unnecessary block in the back, and put together 77 yards with a respectable 4.8 ypc average. He would've had better numbers, too, if not for the bizarre appearance of Michael Bush, but I'll get to him later.

Progkakke Week 12

Progkakke Standings:
Iggins!: 90-43
Mrs. Code Red: 88-45
Code Red: 86-47
Erik: 81-52

New Orleans Saints (8-2) @ Atlanta Falcons (2-8)
Iggins!: Well, Saints win.

Erik: It is strange that this game is so little of a contest, but yeah Saints.

Code Red: Atlanta sucks. Saints win.

Mrs. Code Red: Saints.

San Diego Chargers (4-6) @ Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
Erik: The Kansas City Star did a lovely job of collecting the filth about the Chiefs “being exposed” and how their “season is over” because they lost to the Fucking Broncos, but that’s whatever. They are still a very good football team that can’t overcome a deficit, and they are not going to experience once en route to victory here. Chiefs.

Code Red: Erik, are you so hungry to bitch about the stupid media that you've gone national in your quest for butthurt? Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red: I have this really gut feeling that the Chargers might win here. But I just can't pick them. Chiefs win.

Iggins!: Well, I love me some Chiefs, so Chiefs win.

Chicago Bears (6-4) @ St. Louis Rams (4-6)
Iggins!: I have no goddamned confidence in the outcome of these games, but I think MCCOWN can shepherd us to another close win. Bears win 27-20.

Erik: I am perpetually optimistic about the Rams because, as they demonstrated against the Colts, that defense is ever-hungry and even anemic offensive production can carry them to victory. McCown is taking care of the football extremely well to this point, though, and I think his Shredded Wheat Offense can grind out a boring win here. Bears, 30-17.

Code Red: Bad defense can make any “sure win” a questionable proposition, but I think the Bears should pull this one out. Bears win, 24-20.

Mrs. Code Red: Bears 24-21.

Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) @ Cleveland Browns (4-6)
Erik: Baaarf. The Steelers have remembered how to pass the ball for a few weeks now, and the Browns don’t even remember what an offense is. I guess the Steelers.

Code Red: Years from now Browns fans will tell their grandchildren that for like a month or so there in 2013 the Browns were semi-competent. But no more. Steelers win.

Mrs. Code Red: Steelers look better, Browns look worse. Steelers win.

Iggins!: The Browns and Bengals always have strange games, that Steeler win against the Lions was a fluke caused by coaching incompetence on the other sideline. Browns win.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) @ Detroit Lions (6-4)
Iggins!: The Bucs have been way better lately, and I mean… fuck Detroit. UPSET SPECIAL BUCS WIN.

Erik: I really do believe Schwartz can throw this game away, but the Bucs are just so fucking bad. I want to do it. But home field is pretty big for Detroit, especially against a rookie QB. Lions.

Code Red: Detroit isn't going to fuck away two in a row, even if I wish they would. Lions win.

Mrs. Code Red: I'm picking Detroit, but it'll be closer than everyone but Iggins! seems to think.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

SKOdcast Episode 26: This one's personal

Because tonight'll be a short one, what with me being the only one here!

LINKS N STUFF

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Episode 25 of the SKOdCast is Now Up

SKOdcast Episode 25

Come as we discuss how nothing happened this past week, really. Right? Nothing eventful or anything.

LINK

Is Jay Cutler's Job in Danger? No. No It Is Not.


I know we get down on Bears fans for being dumb a whole lot, but I really don't think I've heard anything dumber in my time overreacting to fan and media opinions than the idea that Josh McCown should be the Bears' long-term starter.  Nevermind that he's older than Cutler and half as talented, the mere fact that he has only even played more than 10 games in a season once at the age of 34 should be a dead giveaway.

Mark Potash of the Sun-Times disagrees with that idea, as well. But not as much as he should, apparently, because he let this nonsense see the light of day. "Josh McCown's Success Makes Jay Cutler Expendable" may be the single biggest concentration of stupidity in a single sentence ever written by a Sun-Times reporter, and it wasn't even somebody named Rick!

I had intended to do this column in customary point-counterpoint style, but there’s just not enough substance there to bother with. It’s just a few tepid arguments that kind-of-support the headline, it’d be like fighting a handicapped man. And not like that guy from Eagle vs. Shark that kicked the shit out of Jemaine Clement. 

Pictured: Not Mark Potash

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lions 21, Bears 19. Brutal

I like Marc Trestman a lot. He's smart, he's generally a certifiably brilliant offensive game-planner, and I like the Bears future in his hands going forward. Today was a day I hope we'll soon forget, but I doubt it, because Marc Trestman threw first place away today.

Not a soul would have argued if Marc Trestman had told Jay to sit for one more week. Not a soul would have argued if Trestman had sat Jay at halftime when he appeared considerably slower than he did in the first half.

I wouldn't have argued if he'd left Jay in all game. Jay is your starting quarterback, and must be going forward. The team can't waver on this, as there's no future with Josh McCown, even if you're the meatballiest meatball who ever meatballed. If Jay finishes out a gutsy but ultimately futile effort, you just have to roll with it and hope he gets better next week.

The one thing you can't do? That. Now Cutler's status as the starter will be questioned. Josh McCown will grow in meatball legend. Back to back 2 pt conversion attempts failed on awful calls that made no sense. Why bootleg and willingly limit yourself to half a field on a do or die play? Why run up the middle against a defensive line that whooped your ass every snap? Things just got very, very ugly. This season will kill us all, I swear.

The Good:

The Defense: Corey Wootton was stellar. The run defense held up for all but two drives. They held the Lions to 21 points, practically a miracle by their standards this year. It was truly upsetting to see their effort wasted.

Brandon Marshall:  He caught 7 of 12 targets for 139 yards and 2 TDs. It was an impressive effort as always.

First Half Jay Cutler: I don't know what kind of fatigue set in at half time, but it's a damn shame. Jay was near perfect to start the game, completing the first drive with a beautiful 32 yard strike to Marshall and moving the ball at will. An unfortunate tipped pass killed a TD drive and then everything went to hell. When healthy, however, Jay is still this team's best option. I don't really care if you disagree.

The Bad:

Alshon Jeffery: He had 114 yards, but caught just half his targets and had several brutal drops, including what should have been a TD pass on the Bears first drive after halftime. The overturned TD catch was a tough play, but it wouldn't have been necessary if Alshon had made the play the first time around.

Matt Forte: the run-blocking was awful, but this offense is designed around Forte managing to make at least one guy miss. He failed to do that at all today, and it killed them.

Run-blocking: Good god, guys. Detroit is stout up front, but 38 yards rushing? 38? 

 The Ugly:

This week. It's going to suck. Think I'm going to just avoid the radio as much as possible. Guh.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Episode 24 of the SKOdCast is Now Up!

Episode 24 of the SKOdCast Live at 6:15!

Listen as we discuss the upset over the Packers, Jay's magical crotch powers, the Lions game, bullying, and of course, GDBF.

LINKAGE.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Bears 27, Packers 20- HA. HAHA. HAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the Bears just beat the fucking Packers at Lambeau Field. Shea McClellin may have ended Aaron Rodger's season. Josh McCown is now unquestionably the greatest backup quarterback in Bears history. Julius Peppers remembered he was Julius Peppers.

Everything that needed to happen for the Bears to win tonight happened. Now they're staring at a 5-3 record, first place, and the potential return of Jay Cutler next week for a winner take all battle at Soldier Field. I know what I said last week, and I'm an idiot. This shit is still theirs for the taking.

ONTO THE BREAKDOWN:

THE GOOD:

Shea McClellin: Did that really just happen? Shea may still be on path to being a bust, but for one night he was everything we'd ever hoped he'd be, and it may have changed the entire NFC playoff picture. I have no other words. I will need you all to assure me tomorrow that this actually happened.

Julius Peppers: You can't stop time, but sometimes you can tell it to back off for a night. Peppers had a sack, two batted passes, and an interception. If he and Shea can bottle this and take it throughout the rest of the season, this defense might be even slightly less than awful. That may be all they need.

Matt Forte: The Bears offensive game plan without Cutler may not have been the usual "Forte and Defense and Pray" that it was under Lovie, but Forte still put the team on his back in the fourth quarter. The nine minute drive that clinched the game was pretty much all Forte, and he fought for every yard on his way to 125 yards rushing, to go along with 54 yards receiving.

Josh McCown: This may be his last career start. No offense to Josh, I hope it is. If so, he went out with a bang. He completed just 53% of his passes for 6.6 ypa, but he got 272 yds and two beautifully thrown TD passes and did far more than any of us could have ever dreamed he'd do in this game. I hope he sticks around as Jay's caddy for at least one more year, because everyone seems to love him and I understand why now.

Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery: These two. What a gift it is to watch them make DC's pick their poison and lose either way. 

Marc Trestman: I am so happy this man is the head coach of the Chicago Bears. On the road, with his backup QB, going up against a defensive coordinator who had never failed to kick the ass of whoever his counterpart in Chicago was at the time, Trestman dialed up a perfect game as the offense compiled 27 points and 443 yards. With their backup quarterback. Not only that, but on 4th and inches, at his own fucking 30, with a 4 point lead on the road in Lambeau Field, he bet on his team and won. I look forward to seeing what this man can do with a team at full strength someday.

The Bad:

The Safeties: Ok. I get that you all were drafted to be Cover 2 safeties and you can't be expected to cover for 5 seconds when the pass rush is inert, but the simple inability to square up a runningback is just inexcusable. Major Wright was just garbage tonight, and Conte was only a hair better. Guh.

Special Teams: A punt block and caught completely off guard on a surprise onside. It's getting old seeing the once Best-in-the-NFL unit play this poorly.

The Ugly:

Jon Gruden: HIS NAME IS ALSHON JEFFERY. ALSHON. JEFFERY.

That's all for now. Holy shit. Ho. Lee. Shit. Go Bears.




Sunday, November 3, 2013

Progkakke Week 9

Progkakke Standings:
Iggins!: 82-38
Mrs. Code Red: 79-41
Code Red: 76-44
Erik: 74-46

Cincinnati Bengals (6-2) @ Miami Dolphins (3-4)
Iggins!: Welp, the Fins have certainly lost all their steam and the Bengals have gained all of theirs, so, Bengals win.

Erik: The Dolphins should be able to give Dalton a bit more of a scare than he’s had in recent weeks, but the Bengals are going to devour Ryan Tannehill. Bengals.

Code Red: I won't lie. We didn't get our picks in until after this game, but Mrs. Code Red and I had both said Bengals, and we cannot tell a lie.

Mrs. Code Red: Maybe you can't, but I totes picked the Dol....okay. Bengals.

Kansas City Chiefs (8-0) @ Buffalo Bills (3-5)
Erik: A team with a pretty good defense and no offense vs. a team with a great defense and a mediocre offense. Get ready for the hard-hitting, fast-paced 21-10 Chiefs win.

Code Red: Guys, the Chiefs can swallow good QBs whole. Why keep throwing the Case Keenum's and Jason Campbell's and Jeff Tuel's of the world at them? Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red: The Chiefs have to lose at some point. Just..y'know, not here. Chiefs win.

Iggins!: Gonna be another close one because neither of these teams seems capable of getting any separation either way, but I'll take the Chiefs to win.

Minnesota Vikings (1-6) @ Dallas Cowboys (4-4)
Iggins!: Just not picking the Vikings, ever. Dallas wins.

Erik: Even the Cowboys couldn’t fuck this one up.

Code Red: Oh, Erik. That's tempting fate a bit much. Still, Dallas win.

Mrs. Code Red: I'm really tempted to say Dallas will fuck this up, but that would be too much. Dallas win.

Tennessee Titans (3-4) @ St. Louis Rams (3-5)
Erik: The Rams pissed away their chance to win their annual “the Rams beat who?” game last week because Kellen Clemens was afraid to scramble, but that defense looked vicious. I guess Rams?

Code Red: THE JEFF FISHER BOWL. That would be a narrative if anyone had given a shit about either of these teams in the last five years.  Titans win.

Mrs. Code Red: Can't pick the Rams without Bradford. Never really picked them with Bradford either, but still. Titans win. I think this is the first time I've picked them all year.

Iggins!: Elyse, if you had only picked the Titans more you might be tied with me! Titans win.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Hoopyball Recap: B1G Preview Edition!

Hello again everyone! This week we have 2 Bulls games that happened and a preview of happenings yet to happen. To be concise, this column is happenin’. Let’s start with the Bulls!

Bulls 95 – Heat 107
Not exactly the best case scenario for game 1 but it’s hard to be too down about losing to the 2-time defending champions, in their house, on the night they get their rings. There were a few bright spots: Boozer dropped 31 points and 7 rebounds and he even looked fairly aggressive. Several plays he actually made strong moves towards the basket (his normal move, the back-to-the-basket turn-around fade-away is easily the #1 thing I take issue with about Booze. He’s a big guy, and strong. If he would just assert himself, well… Tuesday night happens) and he showed no fear in trying to shoulder the offensive burden when nearly everyone else was ice cold.

Jimmy Butler also had a very nice game, putting up a mini-Paul-George line of 20pts, 5 steals, 3 assists, 3 rebounds, and even a block. He hit half his threes and his early foul trouble (and resultant benching) was certainly a factor in the large halftime deficit the Bulls incurred.

But the real issue in this game was that the bench simply didn’t play correctly for the first 3 quarters. Dunleavy, when he came in, was very obviously lost on several plays. All those open 3s the Heat took? If that wasn’t Dunleavy’s guy it was Hinrich’s. There was even a play where both of them ran to the same guy, instead ran into each-other, and the Heat hit a wide open 3, pretty much encapsulating their entire night. Mike finally got going on offense later on in the fourth, but he did just enough (or not enough, as it were) to earn week 1’s…

Bulls Player Who Will Absorb My HATERAGE

 photo dunleavy_zps10479e1c.jpg

I’m watching you, Dunleavy.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Episode 23 of the SKOdCast is Now Up

In honor of Halloween we discuss the terrifying state of the Bears defense, and the Ghost of Brian Griese.


Episode 23 of the SKOdCast Live at 6:15 PM!

Listen live as a  fully-stocked SKOdCast Crew very briefly previews the upcoming DOOMgeddon against the Packers, lots of NFL stuff, a strange sport that Travis calls "bazgetbol" and GDBF.

LINKAGE

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Progkakke Week 8

Progkakke Standings:
Iggins!: 71-36
Code Red: 67-40
Mrs. Code Red: 67-40
Erik: 62-45

Carolina Panthers (3-3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6)
Iggins!: I’m on board the Cam train when he plays shit teams. Panthers win.

Erik: To be fair, you’re pretty much always on board the Cam train. But yeah, Panthers.

Code Red: He's often been in front of the Cam train, if you catch my drift. Panthers.

Mrs. Code Red: I'm tempted to take the Bucs, but my two longshots worked out last week and I'm scared to press my luck. Panthers win.

Cleveland Browns (3-4) @ Kansas City Chiefs (7-0)
Erik: Poor Browns. They looked like they had something going for a minute there, and now they’re going to be 3-5. Chiefs keep it moving, but people still won’t acknowledge that they’re good.

Code Red: Who the hell have you heard not acknowledging that the Chiefs are good? Everyone I know has the exact same opinion of that team: man it's going to suck when Alex Smith costs them a superbowl. Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red: Going out on a limb to take the Chiefs here.

Iggins!: I'm interested in how good the Browns can be with Campbell, but against the Chiefs it's hard to see them winning. Chiefs win.

Dallas Cowboys (4-3) @ Detroit Lions (4-3)
Iggins!: This is a tough one. Two teams with records that reflect what they are so well. Just one step ahead of average at all times. I guess I have to go with the home team. Lions win.

Erik: The Cowboys seem to get better and worse depending on how good their opposition is, which is strange. But yeah this is pretty much a tossup, I guess I’ll actually factor home field into my decision and pick the Lions.

Code Red: I'm going to take the Cowboys because it's worked for me this year.

Mrs. Code Red: Lions, I guess.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Enjoy Episode 22 of the SKOdCast: One Lonely, Sad Man

Travis ALSO abandoned the SKOdCast due to a terrible injury, so I was forced to go it alone for 27 painful, awkward minutes. ENJOY (or don't):

Episode 22 of the SKOdCast Live at 6:15!

Erik is ill so you'll have to deal with Travis and I as we discuss that disaster of game against the Redskins, the Cutler Injury and his Future, The Demise of BEAR FOOTBAW (forever?!), Around the NFL, and perhaps the biggest edition of GDBF ever.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Hoopyball PREVIEW YEAH NBA IS BACK SOON

Welcome back, NBA, your sweet siren song is a welcome reprisal from the pain of the current state of the Chicago Bears! Yes, the NBA season opens next Tuesday when our Chicago Bulls take on the Miami Heat. Hard to think that game will determine anything about this season, but the Bulls ARE the only team to have a winning regular season record against the LeBron Heat. However, this preview is about the season as a whole, not the games we have Tuesday and Thursday, so hows about we talk about what the Bulls can accomplish this year?

What’s Realistic?

The overall sentiment I’ve been getting from fans and the media is… hell there is no overall sentiment. Nobody can agree! Some think the Bulls will end up as the 5th seed (behind Miami, Indiana, Brooklyn, and New York), some think the Bulls will lose to the Heat in the East Finals, some think the Bulls will win the title! Hell, I’m sure someone thinks they’ll miss the playoffs as well.

What do I think? I think we, for sure, play Miami in the East finals. Indiana is basically Chicago lite, and we kind of have their number. Brooklyn? That’s going to be the most enjoyable train wreck to watch since… well, since last year’s Lakers! The Bulls and Heat will be the #1 and #2 seeds in some order. Thibs plays his guys like it’s the playoffs every regular season game: it’s hard to imagine the Bulls not winning 60+ with Rose looking like he does.

But what happens in that series against Miami? That depends a lot on…

Hey, this is that season I’ve been talking about for the last two years!

If you read the Hoopyball column at all last year you’ll remember me going on and on about how this is the season Chicago constructs their true title team. Luol Deng’s deal is expiring. Boozer has this year and next left. The Bulls have that Bobcat #1 pick and Marquis Teague. Essentially, the Bulls have a package to send somewhere, and it is:

Where Do We Go From Here?

Well, that was fun.

If you've read even one post on this blog you can probably imagine my mental state when Jay Cutler went down after that play. In a second the entire Bears 2013 season went up in flames, most likely, and I had to learn to live with that.

I have. I have chosen to not to cling to the fleeting hope of McCown somehow keeping the Bears afloat through the Cutler-less period so that Jay can carry the team into the playoffs. I did that in 2011 and it crushed me once, so I've taken the road I usually don't travel and embraced the worst-case scenario. The Bears are more than welcome to prove me wrong, but for now here are the facts:

1) This defense is hopelessly and irrevocably lost, and that makes Phil Emery's job easier.
If the Bears defense had repeated its 2012 efforts and Jay had stayed healthy, Phil would have had one hell of a challenge in figuring out how to bring back so many of the key performers and keep this team's financial situation intact. It's a problem we'd have all have been glad to see him deal with, but that ain't happening now. I'll get to my thoughts on what they should do with Cutler in a minute but the simple fact is the defense is now a clean slate for Phil.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Bears 41, R... Washington 45: Taking a Bite of the Silver Sandwich



The Bears just lost to the Washington Racists, and that makes me very sad. However, under the circumstances, I find it hard to get too beat up about. I can’t think of many teams that could lose their starting QB, two starting defensive tackles, two starting linebackers, a starting corner and a starting safety and still pull out a win.

On the offensive side of the ball, this game was proof positive to me that Marc Trestman’s philosophy works. We lost Jay Cutler, for an estimated four weeks at the very best, and still put up 41 points against an admittedly weak defense. Our receivers still came up with big plays despite Brandon Meriweather providing video evidence of the Most Illegal Hit Imaginable on multiple plays. Matt Forte exploded for 91 yards and three touchdowns, with another 20 yards in the passing game.

Josh McCown went into the game and nothing bad happened. He fell short in a couple places where Jay wouldn’t have; most notably on the final Hail Mary when he just kind of awkwardly flailed at incoming pressure where Jay would have run out of the pocket and maybe avoided the sack. They had to limit the passing game to shorter, safer routes and it cost them some time that they could probably have used later in the game. But he threw for 200 yards, a single TD and a 119 rating.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Progkakke Week 7

Progkakke Standings:
Iggins!: 63-29
Code Red: 59-33
Mrs. Code Red: 57-35
Erik: 56-36

Seattle Seahawks (5-1) @ Arizona Cardinals (3-3)
Iggins!: Arians is getting way too much out of not enough on the Cardinals, and I commend him for it, but even taking Seattle out of Seattle won’t be enough here. Seahawks win.

Erik: Yeah the Cardinals are better than they have any right to be, but the Seahawks are just way better. Seahawks.

Code Red: That defensive line will eat Carson Palmer alive. Seahawks win.

Mrs. Code Red: Seahawks.

Chicago Bears (4-2) @ Washington Redskins (1-4)
Erik: A lot is being made of the fact that RGIII “could return to form any day now,” KYLE. But I just don’t see how the Redskins, who are literally worse at every position than the Bears, pull this one out. Bears win, 31-21.

Code Red: Being uneasy =/= fatalism. The Bears should win this one.  Bears win 38-23.

Mrs. Code Red: Bears 28-24. I'm not predicting any blowouts till they prove they can do it.

Iggins!: The Bears can outscore the [REDACTED]s, so I'm not too worried. Bears win 38-27.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5) @ Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
Iggins!: Look, Atlanta, is you don’t win here just rest everybody for the rest of the year and trade Tony G back to Kansas City. Atlanta wins.

Erik: I would argue that they should do that anyway. I doubt Roddy White has long left in him, and Steven 
Jackson thus far has done exactly what I said Steven Jackson would do in Atlanta. They have literally zero shot at anything of value this year. Still, the Bucs are really, reaaaally bad. Falcons.

Code Red: Yeah their season is over. Tony G should go back to KC. God that would make a great story! This is the NFL, though, so it won't happen. Still, Tampa sux. Falcons win.

Mrs. Code Red:  Can't believe Atlanta is 1-4. Falcons win.

Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) @ Detroit Lions (4-2)
Erik: This is a confusing one, and I would not have expected it to be at the beginning of the year. The Bengals have tried as hard as they can to not be a 4-2 team, but somehow they’re still here. The Lions have been the team their roster says they should be about 2/3 of the time, and the Detroit Lions the remaining 1/3 of the time. I guess I’ll take the home team here. Lions.

Code Red: The Bengals validated my faith in them when I picked them over the Packers, but that was at home. In the dome the Lions are just a better team. Lions win.

Mrs. Code Red: I'm taking the Bengals because I think their defense can slow down the Lions if Calvin Johnson isn't 100%. Bengals win.

Iggins!: The Bengals can't stop great receivers for shit and their offense kind of blows lately. Lions win.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Enjoy: Episode 21 of the SKOdCast!



Episode 21 of the SKOdCast is Live in, Like, A Half Hour-ish

We discuss Eli's DERPs, Angry Bears Defense Hating God, the upcoming battle with NAME REDACTED, Goddammit Bears fans, and much more.

LINKAGE

Monday, October 14, 2013

Ten Years After Bartman: A Missed Call

I don't write much about the Cubs here. For one it's because they aren't much worth discussing these days, and for another it's because I know some very excellent Cubs bloggers who do a better job at it. Tonight, however, as you may have heard, is the ten year anniversary of the Steve Bartman game, and I felt compelled to share my own story.

Now I'm not going to relive the awful play by play of that night or recreate where I was like some kind of breakdown of the Zapruder Film, but there is one thing about that night that has always haunted me, and I'm not sure when would be a better time to admit it.

I inherited my Cubs fandom, like my Bears fandom, my Illinois fandom, and everything else I should resent him for, from my Dad. The actual nature of that Cub fandom, however, was shaped by my Grandfather. Grandpa, like me, was a perfect Cub fan because of his stubborn nature and willingness to waste years in an ultimately futile attempt to prove himself right. So I grew up spending summers helping Grandpa work in the yard as he would shout to my Grandma "Why would he do that Suzie!?" after Mickey Morandini bobbled another double play (Grandma, good sport that she is, never failed to answer "I don't know, Orvis"). 

In May of 2003, Grandpa suffered the first series of the hemorrhagic strokes that would ultimately claim his life. At the same time, the Cubs were having their best season in ages. I remember sitting beside Grandpa's hospital bed as Mark Prior struck out 16 Brewers in a single game and the two of us marveled over the phenom's ability. The Cubs, in true Cub fashion, still managed to lose that game. The doctors told us he had a few weeks left, at best, and among my many complaints with the world was that it seemed unfair that he'd be unable to see that season through to the end.

Then a minor miracle bought us a few more months. Grandpa actually went home and spent the whole summer watching Prior and Wood and discussing their efforts with me to the best of his ability. October rolled around and the Cubs were still in it. At a family gathering as my Dad and Uncles tried to warn me, with the wisdom of bitter experience, that I should prepare myself for the worst. Grandpa merely smiled and told me that they were going to pull it off. I believed him. Game 6 of the NLCS came and we all know what happened then.

As that 8th inning had approached I had grabbed the phone, preparing to call Grandpa as soon as the Cubs had clinched, imagining how fun it would be to have that conversation after all of those years of discussing failure. Once the whole thing had gone up in smoke, however, I put the phone away. "Let him sleep," I thought, "you'll talk to him some other time. No need to burden him with your anger."

It wasn't until much later, long after he was gone, that I realized how stupid of a decision that was. Tired as we was, sick as he was, Grandpa wouldn't have cared. He didn't need me looking after him. He'd gladly have taken a few minutes to make me feel better. To tell me, once again, that they would pull it off, or that they'd do it the next year. He'd have done what grandfathers do in that situation, particularly ones who've been down the Cubs heartbreak road before, and told me that the sun was going to rise the next day. I could have used that. Hell, I still can.

I'm not writing this to ask for pity. We're Cubs and Bears fans. Everyone has a million stories of disappointment and sorrow. I've never cried over a sporting event and never will. That's asking people to feel pity over a choice you willingly make to spend time and energy on a game. I've never felt self-important enough, arrogant as I am, even, to ask someone to feel sorry for me because of the Cubs.

I would, however, like to share this with people as a lesson. For all of the hours I spend on analyzing X's and O's and yelling at Brad Biggs on Twitter and debating Jay Cutler's mechanics, sports are entertainment. Games are meant to be enjoyed and shared with people who share the same rooting interest as you. For most of us, like me, that means family. I call my Dad almost daily to discuss things about NFL players he's never even heard of. I let him talk me off the ledge every time they lose because I still sometimes need the "it's just a game" talk. Talk to people who care about you even about stupid stuff like the Cubs, because in the end you only get to talk to them so many times

P.S.: I got a Cubs calendar for Christmas that year. Grandpa, just a few weeks from the end, pointed at the month with Corey Patterson's picture on it and said "he's going to be a great player." If any of you run into him again before I do, maybe don't let him know how that one turned out.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Progkakke Week 6

Progkakke Standings:
Iggins!: 53-24
Code Red: 48-29
Mrs. Code Red: 46-31
Erik: 46-31

New York Giants (0-5) @ Chicago Bears (3-2)
Iggins!: Two tough losses to good-to-great teams for the Bears, but this stretch of the schedule should let them build some momentum and really mesh as a team. Bears win 38-20.

Erik: The Giants are not good. The Thursday thing is a vague concern, because weird shit always happens in those games; but if there’s anyone more likely to have a sloppy-ass Thursday game than Jay it’s Eli Manning so I’m not that worried about it. Bears win 31-21

Code Red: Not to mention the Bears are the home team, and they win like 70% of these games. Bears 34-24.

Mrs. Code Red: Bears, 31-17. And that's giving the Giants too much credit.

Oakland Raiders (2-3) @ Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
Erik: Well, Terrelle Pryor is apparently good. We’re just going to have to accept this and move on with our lives. Not good enough to get past that Chiefs defense, though. It’s getting frankly hilarious to hear people saying “The Chiefs’ fall is coming!” as they roll to a 6-0 start. They could lose out the season, and still have improved more than anyone could’ve reasonably asked. Chiefs.

Code Red: The Chiefs fall will come as the Chiefs fall usually does, when they meet a playoff opponent who shuts down their typically overmatched game manager QB, before then I see no problem picking them over the surprisingly not that awful Raiders. Chiefs win.

Mrs. Code Red: Chiefs, because even though the Raiders have been better-ish, the Chiefs are just...better. Minus the ish. Y'know?

Iggins!: Chiefs, the #1 defense in the league!

Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) @ Buffalo Bills (2-3)
Iggins!: Without E.J. Manuel? Hard to see the Bills winning. On the other hand, the Bengal offense is, for no reason, just plain anemic right now. I’ll say Bengals win, but will not be surprised at all to see them lose.

Erik: I’d say that even with E.J. Manuel it’d be iffy, but without him it seems damn near impossible. The Bengals offense was a disgrace on Sunday, but so was New England’s so I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if the rain or something whatever. Bengals.

Code Red: I will NEVER pick a team that is starting a QB from Duke to win a game. Duke, people. Bengals win.

Mrs. Code Red: The Bengals are a very confusing team, but I can't pick the Bills and a QB who has one career start. For the Browns. Bengals win.

Detroit Lions (3-2) @ Cleveland Browns (3-2)
Erik: I could not have said that I think this will be a good game with a straight face a month ago, but it certainly seems possible that it will be now. The Lions showed that they are absolute horseshit without Calvin Johnson on Sunday, but if he’s on the field this week that is immaterial. The Browns were looking very impressive, but I don’t know if Weeden is enough to get past that defense. Lions.

Code Red: The Browns line is still very sketchy, and Weeden has not done all that well under pressure this year. Lions win.

Mrs. Code Red: If Calvin Johnson's out I think the Browns win. Hell, I'll do it. Browns win.

Iggins!: Whoah people think the Lions will win this game? You two are crazy. The Browns defense, at home, even with Weeden, will win this game. Cleveland wins.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Bears 27, Giants 21- Eli Sux

I am going to try not to overreact to anything that happened tonight. Thursday Night Games are generally less than  pretty, and the Bears, at least on one side of the ball, managed to keep it completely clean. That's to be commended. Otherwise, I can only say I'm glad the Bears survived.

The offense was everything we had ever hoped it would be for one half and then saw several promising drives in the second half fizzle out thanks to a mediocre effort in the run game and some missed passes. Nothing on that side of the ball really concerned me, though. A handful of plays (a crappy grounding call, a couple barely missed deep balls to Jeffery) go differently and they put this one away fairly early, but a few missed opportunities are understandable when you didn't even have a real practice in the week. They still managed 375 yards, picked up 25 first downs, and possessed the ball for over 32 minutes. Most importantly, they had zero turnovers in a game where one could have killed them. Again, for a Thursday night shitpile, I'll take it.

As for the other side of the ball? Well. Things there are...still panic-inducing. It's hard to harp too much on a team that was down 6 starters by the end of the game (really hope Anderson's injury isn't serious), but when some of those players struggling are the 5 starters who were so good last year, that Is concerning. Hopefully the ten days off will let them field as close to a complete unit as possible and let them get some practice reps for the new guys. Either way, I suspect they're going to keep us awake at night the rest of the year. In the end, though, 4-2 is nothing to be upset about and they get a long respite before taking on a struggling Redskins team. Hopefully they keep getting better.

THE GOOD:

Jay Cutler: He was smart and accurate for most of the game, with the only mistakes being some missed connections between he and Jeffery, some Jay's fault and some Alshons. He finished 24/36 for 262 YDs and 2 TDs, with his second straight 100+ passer rating, and his 5th 90+ passer rating in six tries. He also ran for 20 yards, converting several 3rd downs, because that's just what he does.

Brandon Marshall: Far too much will be made of the Bears determination to get the ball to Brandon, when really Jay just threw it to his star fucking receiver because he was, y'know, open. He finished with 9 catches for 87 yards and 2 TDs.

Marty B: He caught 6 of 7 passes thrown his way for 68 yards against his old team. Considering Eli's last DERP clanged off the hands of his TE, I'm sure the Giants are wishing they'd have found some money to keep him.

Pass Protection: The Giants aren't doing a very good job of getting to the QB right now (I sympathize!), but the line not only allowed zero sacks, I can't even remember more than one or two plays where Jay seemed to be under Any pressure. Commendable.

Marc Trestman: I thought that was a pretty good game plan on offense. It's a shame some promising second half drives ended in Giants territory, but the approach was sound and I was pleased with his decision to throw for the first down on 3rd down with less than 2 minutes left. I can't imagine Lovie being so ballsy in that spot.

THE BAD:

Run Defense: I can't say I expected them to be dominant with a d-line composed of guys signed off the street and Shea Fucking McClellin, but the Giants haven't run the ball worth a damn all year before tonight. That was ugly. Hopefully Stephen Paea and Charles Tillman (whose run defense should Never be understated) are healthy in ten days. Guh.

Shea McClellin: Once Paea is back, I expect Shea to be back at situational pass rusher and Nothing else. He is literally the worst run-defending DE in the entire NFL (and no, that's not hyperbole. That's where he ranks according to PFF), and teams just run right at him for huge gains. It's time to put an end to that experiment. I've defended that pick in the past, but not anymore. He's a liability.

Tim Jennings: Yes, he had two INTs, including a pick six, but he was pretty spotty in coverage most of the night, missed several tackles, and had one dumb PI penalty and had another that was only waved off because the pass was uncatchable. Tim's a fine complementary corner, but he has been exposed everytime he's had the role of guarding the #1 of another team's offense.

Injuries: Tillman was out. Paea out. Anderson and Williams went down. Make it stop. Please. God. Make it stop.

Run Blocking: the Giants were 24th against the run before this game, and the Bears have generally run-blocked well this year, so I was shocked to see Forte get less than four yards per carry tonight, and that, more than anything else, is what slowed the offense down in the second half and allowed the Giants to hang around.

THE UGLY:

Eli Manning: Holy shit. 15 INTs in 6 games. That's just brutal. And I don't want to hear how he has no offensive line this year. He was barely pressured all night, and still DERP'd his way to defeat. He's a joke right now.

That's it for now. The Bears won, that's all that matters, and the offense keeps getting farther along each week. If the defense can just get healthy in their extra time off, things will be better going forward, but for now we may have to content ourselves with winning some uncomfortable close games.

Go Bears.


SKOdcast 20: Revenge of the SKOds will be live at 6:15 tonight!

Join us for a pregame podcast at 6:15, with topics of discussion such as "How stupid is everyone talking about Brandon Marshall?" and "Hey look, the Giants are terrible!" Plus, laugh at Kyle's antics as he attempts to conduct a podcast in a crowded sports bar because he only seems averse to piracy when it directly inconveniences me. See you there! And by there I mean here.

Morrissey Must Get a Bonus if he Uses the Phrase "Team Cancer" This Season


A little over a month ago, after preseason game three, Brandon Marshall made some pretty straightforward remarks about not being back in top shape and learning a new offense. If you'll recall, the media flocked to it like kids flock to the house that gives out full-size candy bars on Halloween. I'm pretty sure Bernstein actually uploaded a video of himself having a hands-free orgasm at the thought of Brandon Marshall hitting a woman in a nightclub. Because the guy was feeling a little slow after someone stabbed his leg with tiny knives for a few hours.

This week, a lot of reporters asked Brandon Marshall a bunch of variations of one question: How frustrated are you with your production? Because he had two bad games in a row, one of which was pretty much Jay's fault for playing like dogshit until the Lions went to the prevent. Clearly, he must be ready to explode in a fit of rage and murder everyone in the locker room.

Really, it all comes back to the same thing as the first pointless media feeding frenzy: they want him to slip. They want him to give them something to talk about. They've more or less lost Jay now, he's played their game and kept his head down. Even Morrissey can only talk about him shoving a lineman for so long. But this, Rick can talk about. And talk he does. His article is in italics, my responses are regular text.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A Guest Post by Mrs. Code Red: What's in a Name?

Editor's note: It's a little-known secret that I really don't care for fantasy football. I play it, because it's expected of me and it's hard to scrape up enough living, breathing idiots to form a decent league that I feel bad refusing to play, but frankly it distracts from my pure, unfiltered obsession with the game, and it only ever makes me feel bad as I have a tendency to NEVER WIN ANY GODDAMN CHAMPIONSHIPS. My wife, however, freaking loves fantasy football (and has a trophy won at my expense to boot) and through the process has discovered a fact about ESPN and Jay Cutler that irritates her to no end and led her to write the following piece:

What’s in a name?

In the NFL, apparently a lot. As a devoted fantasy football player, and even more devoted Bears fan, I have been continually flabbergasted by ESPN’s continued refusal to believe in Cutler’s fantasy football potential. Granted, I own him in one of my leagues and happen to be married to just about the biggest Cutler fan imaginable so I am hardly an impartial audience. But as you’ll see, the numbers are definitely on my side.

When ESPN projected Jay to score only 10 fantasy points in the season opener, it was understandable. After all, he was coming off of a disappointing 2012 season, was running a brand new offense under a new-to-the-NFL head coach, and despite the attention paid to the offensive line in the off-season, lots of questions remained about their ability to provide Cutler with the protection he so obviously lacked in 2012. I was completely willing to accept their low-ish projection and was, in fact, happy and slightly surprised when he came away from the game with a solid 16 points against a genuinely good Bengals defense. I didn’t expect entirely smooth sailing from here on out, but things were looking up for my guy.

But when week 2 rolled around, ESPN projected Cutler to score 10 points. Again. Okay, okay, fine. Maybe the first game was a fluke or the new offense just took people by surprise. He still needed to prove himself to the critics. And he did - Jay scored 17 points against the Vikings, outscoring ESPN’s projection for him by over 50%.

When week 3 came around, I was expecting another low-ball fantasy projection from the “experts” at ESPN, but even still, their 9 points against the Steelers seemed a bit too low. Sure enough, Jay had his lowest yardage totals all season and still scored 11 fantasy points.

Surely after three straight weeks of outscoring their projections, the sage minds at ESPN had to give Jay some credit before the week 4 matchup against the Lions. They did not, with a projection of 11 points. Cutler played what was easily his worst game of the season and still finished with 16 points. Are you noticing a trend?

Okay, even with the undefeated Saints rolling into town, ESPN had to expect that Jay would put up at least 11 points, his lowest total yet. But no. They projected him to score 8 points. 8 POINTS! For crying out loud, Ryan Tannehill had just scored 9 points against the Saints in a game in which he threw three interceptions. How did Jay answer? With 22 points, easily his best total to date. For you math types, that means he outscored their projection by a whopping 275%.

So where does that leave us? With the woeful Giants heading to Chicago this week, ESPN has finally put together a bullish prediction for Cutler, prognosticating a 22 points effort against what is easily the worst defense the Bears have faced all year. Way to go out on a limb. Even still, they can’t help themselves from being jerks to Cutler. In their little blurb on Cutler’s player overview card, they spend the first half of the paragraph talking about Jay’s turnover problems before a game in which they are not even projecting him to turn the ball over. That’s right. The “Jay Cutler – Turnover Machine” stereo-type runs so deep in the ESPN offices that they literally cannot stop themselves from bringing it up.

So in summary, ESPN has projected Cutler to score an average of 9.6 points during his first five games when in reality he has averaged 16.4. That’s right, their dislike of Cutler is so intense that it apparently lowers his value by over a full touchdown.

For comparison’s sake, let’s look at golden boy Tom Brady. It’s obvious that this season has not started out well for Brady, a fact that ESPN only barely acknowledges and usually does so only in terms of blaming his supporting cast. Comments like “His 52-game touchdown streak came to a close last week, but it wasn't all Brady's fault as his receivers dropped four passes, including Julian Edelman's drop in the end zone in the game's final minute,” have been used over and over to apologize for Brady’s low point totals. Despite his mediocre showings and obvious issues, ESPN has projected Brady to score an average of 17.4 points through his first five games. What has he actually scored? 13.2. That’s 3.2 points lower than Cutler has averaged. As if to add insult to injury, ESPN cited Cutler’s great game against the Saints last week as a reason why Brady should bounce back against the Saints this week. Because hell, if Jay Cutler can do it, any old idiot can!

I’m not asking for anybody to name Jay the “elitest of the elite” or anything like that. I’m not even saying that he’s a better QB than Brady in real life (although I don’t think he’s too far behind – but that’s a different discussion altogether). But it’s fantasy football – open your eyes and quit ignoring a breakout fantasy season just because you don’t like a guy’s pouty face and double chin. 

Editor's note: Jay Cutler homer-ism is strong in this family. We make no apologies. Except for Jay, of course.