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.
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.
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.
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.
Thursday, October 10, 2013
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.
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.