We should have won that game. 4 careless turnovers with plenty of time left on the clock (aside from the Hail Mary at the end) and we still only lost by 7. That tells me that we can be a great team if the ball isn't turned over. People will say that you can say that about any team. Well, no, you can't, plenty of teams will get beaten if they have 1 or 2 turnovers, but when a really good team coughs it up 4 critical times anybody has a chance at them. This game should have been over at halftime.
I just hope that we have the turnover bug out of us. Almost every team has at least one game where they're careless with the ball in each season. The Bears got 10 points directly from turnovers. Jones two fumbles didn't give them points, but it took points away from us. We were in Field Goal range each time and moving the ball extremely well. Those cost us potentially 14 points.
1. I thought our run defense was outstanding after a bad game against the Vikings last week they did really well. The best all season, the only bad part was the first rushing TD all season on the defense
. 33 attempts for only 82 yards, a 2.5 average, and the longest run was only 11 yards. A bad thing that came from this was maybe it cost us in play action plays. I know on the Desmond Clark TD in the 4th quarter it was a play action and everybody bit on it. There might have been a couple other plays where you can say play action was the reason for a catch.
2. Rushing offense was really good. Recognizing that we are primarily a passing team this season, we still ran the ball pretty well. The Packers CAN run the ball. Turnovers hurt everything we could have done offensively.
Vernand Morency. Had 9 rushes for 43 yards and 7 catches for 48 yards. A total of 16 touches for 91 yards. I don't know if or when he'll start but he might be starting soon if he stays healthy.
DeShawn Wynn. I think the reason we see him getting so much involvement in the offense is because the role he has here now is very similar to what he had at Florida so his adjustment to this team has been very good. We've basically ran the Spread Offense at times this season. That's what they do at Florida. In that offense he'd be the lone back in a shotgun formation with Receivers spread and his main responsibility would be blitz pick up and check downs. Add to that he's a big back with quick feet so his blitz pick up decision making and blocking is very good, as a runner he makes quick decisions.
3. When the defense had pressure we had pretty good results. There was the one where Griese got hit by a combination of 3 Packers and their blockers collapsing on him. That was pretty cool. Heavy pressure also caused Griese's interception.
4. Special teams returns and coverage. Devin Hester Defense was by far the best anybody has given the Bears this season, maybe even last season too. Didn't touch the ball on kickoffs a single time and 4 punt returns for 40 yards total. I really like what Tramon Williams has done. He's by far the best kickoff returner we've had since Allen Rossum. Why can't we put him on punts??? Even though Woodson has been pretty good. Speaking of him I thought his punt returns were pretty good. Of course he had that fumble in the midst of a really good return. I see it all the time these days, stripping the ball from behind on returns. I've seen it happen to Hester a few times too. I thought return yardage wise it was excellent on kickoffs and punts. The Bears are the best and most well rounded special teams unit in the league for the 2nd year in a row and that might be the best performance I've seen by any team against them in that time period.
4. Defense on the Bears primary receivers was outstanding. Muhammad 1 catch 17 yards, Berrian 1 catch 10 yards (he did leave the game early though I think), Bradley 1 catch 17 yards, Benson 1 catch 5 yards. Perhaps it was the Packers DB's except for Bigby going with new shoes and black tape. Looks like the same shoes the Oregon Ducks like to wear. I really think the whole team should switch to dark shoes at home games at least.
1. The defense on secondary receivers was poor. Especially the Tight Ends. Olsen had 4 catches 57 yards and a TD, Clark had 3 catches 62 yards and a TD, Adrian Peterson had 2 catches for 32 yards, a back up RB. They had catches of 27, 34, and 30 yards respectively. I guess you can't cover everybody.
2. The best way to stop teams when your offense turns the ball over 4 or 5 times is to get it back. I want a more aggressive defense, I want more blitzing, I want more forced fumbles and I want more interceptions. Last year the defense would give up big plays but they forced turnovers and sacks.
Last year there was 18 interceptions and 9 forced fumbles for a total of 27. Forced 9 turnovers so far, which, now that I look at it it's about the same pace as last year but I guess I thought we'd have more. Dominant defenses take the ball away a lot. In the back of my mind I've thought that even though we have high expectations for this defense and they can be really good they need to take the ball away more.
3. Sacks. I definitely understand the whole sacks are not totally indicative of the pressure you're getting "thing". There's hits, knockdowns, hurries, and turnovers that pressure can cause. Maybe it just seems like we aren't blitzing as much because we aren't getting sacks but I think we should blitz more often. I think we're a really good blitzing team and when you have a Cornerback tandem like we do, we can do it extremely well. We have two outside Linebackers that can eat a blocking RB for lunch and we've seen it before. All 3 can put up a pretty good fight against a lineman for a linebacker. We're definitely getting lots of pressure, even with 4 down, I just think that if you bring that extra guy more often there will be more sacks for everybody. As a result offenses are put in long down and distances or will turn the ball over more often. We have 12 sacks and I wouldn't be surprised if we led the league in QB hits. We're on pace for 38 or 39 and we had 46 last season. The most of any 4-3 defense. We had 14 after 5 games last season, so maybe I'm just nitpicking. It's hard to recall how much pressure a team gets on a Quarterback one year to the next just off of memory so I don't know exactly. We just gotta get there more often, once we do, this defense will dominate.
4. A.J. Hawk either needs to make more impact plays or be put in a position where he can make more impact plays. I'm one of his biggest fans. He's an excellent tackler. Easily one of the best tacklers in the NFL from the day he came into the league. Offenses really cannot run the ball to his gap at all. And he's the one guy I see most often trying to rip the ball out in a pile. He'll make a play at least once every game this year where I say to myself, "Wow, that is quietly but surely a pretty impressive play." I just want more of it. I know he may never light the world on fire with pass deflections and interceptions but I feel like if A.J. forces turnovers in any way then everybody else will. He's the type of player that has a low risk of being exploited. He's just very sound in what he does. That's why I think they need to give him more opportunities. If his assignment on the play is not ideal he will know what to do. They have to allow him to be more of an impact player. I can say that he needs to step up and become elite, cause there's a few things I've seen in each game he could've done in a different way. But he was the 5th pick in the draft and his a very smart player. Let him out of the cage.
5. Ball security, stop the careless turnovers, need I say more?
We need to win this week against the Redskins. They definitely look for real this year. I feel like they're one of only a few teams that can contain our passing game right now regarding completions and yardage (cause every team can force fumbles or interceptions). I think we will need to run the ball well in this game to put up a lot of points. I think our corners match up well. Physical should beat the undersized but speedy receivers, Randel El, and Santana Moss. Key Matchup is Chris Cooley vs. whoever is covering him. The Redskins will see what the Bears Tight End's just did and they'll see what Antonio Gates did. I'm sure he will be the main target for the Skins if he's open, because frankly we should win the receiver/cornerback match up. We need to go into the bye week 5-1 with a firm grasp on first place and get some guys healthy for the stretch run during the off time.