Heading into week three, only six teams were undefeated: the San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, San Diego Chargers, Atlanta Falcons, Philadelphia Eagles and Houston Texans. Going into week four, the most there will be is four.*49ers lost to the Vikings. Max teams now at three.* The Patriots have a loss, the Packers have a loss, the Ravens have a loss, the defending Super Bowl Champions have a loss, and the Bears have a loss.
Just like last week was only one game, as is this week. As is every week. That is why one should never get too high or low. Yeah, the Packers loss was disgusting, but how much more emphasis did the media and fans put on the game because it was Thursday night and it was arguably the biggest rivalry in sports?
This week the Bears faced a Rams team that beat hype man RGIII and almost beat playoff material Detroit Lions. My partners in crime Pat Sheehan and Mackinley Salk believed the Bears would win easily, as they were favored by eight. I thought otherwise, expecting the Bears to win by only by a touchdown at most.
Before the game began, adjustments were already made to the offensive line. Starting at left guard for Chris Spencer was Chilo Rachal. Without having DVR rewinding capabilities, it was difficult to critique Rachal’s performance. I will be taking a look at the line as a whole later this week once the game is released to watch via NFL.com. On first glance, the pocket was rarely held, but the run blocking looked sharp as did the downfield blocking. Lance Louis and Roberto Garza did a great job helping downfield on a Michael Bush screen to convert on 3rd and 17. They only allowed two sacks on the day.
Jay Cutler’s performance was a notch above last week. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter that he started to get into a groove and make pristine passes with flawless mechanics. My biggest grip against Cutler is his complete disregard for footwork when the pocket breaks down. With the line that they currently use, he must learn to maintain solid mechanics while evading the rush. Unfortunately for Cutler, Devin Hester missed an easy touchdown to pad the quarterback’s stats. The only interception that was thrown came due to a deflected pass by Brandon Marshall that landed in Cortland Finnegan’s hands. The most disgusting pass came on a screen pass thrown at the feet of Earl Bennett.
Aside from Hester’s poor receiving skills, the rest of the wideout corps fared well. Alshon Jeffrey had a couple of drops, but made up for it in solid route running. His beautiful juke move led to a defensive pass interference call in the redzone but hometown favorite J’marcus Webb made sure that penalty was offset with a holding call. Brandon Marshall‘s performance this week was much better than last. He did the two things that make him an elite wide receiver in this league: one-handed catch on a ball thrown behind him and ‘went up and got it’ over Finnegan.
My favorite defensive stat was the 58 yards allowed in the first half. Chicago’s defensive gameplan was excellent again. Here are some other beautiful numbers to look at: the Rams 3rd down conversion rate was 23%, six sacks for a total loss of 51 yards, four sacks came on 3rd downs, 101 net yards allowed, two interceptions with one returned for a touchdown. Total domination.
This wasn’t the game that many expected to see from the Chicago Bears, having only scored one offensive touchdown. Mike Tice’s more conservative game plan was part of the next step toward becoming an offensive juggernaut. The next step is on the players.
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