We all know the game was ugly. We all know it didn't go great. And we all know that statistics don't tell the story...but honestly? Right now, I'd like to take solace in some statistics.
The Run Game
In all fairness, this looked really good. Jacquizz looked a little tapdancy back there, but Turner had a great day outside of the fumble, which I'll get to later. Snelling looked good too. As a team, we averaged 7.857 yards per carry - extremely good against a stout Bears Run D that was rather good last year - and Turner had 10 yards per carry. Hell, he was still over 5 ypc if you take out his big run, so you can say "inflated numbers" all you want - we wanted explosive plays and our run game delivered. If we'd focused a bit more on that, maybe we would have looked a tad better.
The Passing Game
Besides a few drops, our recievers looked pretty dang good. Julio and Gonzo both got over 70 yards on 5 catches apiece, and Roddy was steady (albeit limited due to all the stinkin checkdowns). Something I'd really like to draw your attention to, though, is our RBs - something you guys have wanted us to use more for a while now.
I was reading through the game thread earlier and I saw some anger about us not doing many screens. Well, it's true with our WRs, but we got our RBs really involved. As a matter of fact, the RBs accounted for 105 of Matt's 300 yard passing game, with Turner, Snelling and Quizz getting 40, 32 and 33 yards, respectively. Believe it or not, explosiveness is NOT all in that 40 yard streak down the sidelines. Explosive players lead to explosive plays. And while I'd have really, REALLY liked to see more big plays today, there's a little perspective to be had here. We had (I believe) 3 plays over 30 yards, and 5 plays over 20. Is that stellar? No. But it's a definite step in the right direction. I wish Ryan had gotten a few longer passes, but...that's life. And I think he'll fix it.
What's more important to me, however, is the play of our offensive line on passing downs. There were several times where Ryan had less than two seconds to make a decision, and he went down 5 times (what a trooper) while being hit FIFTEEN TIMES. That's unacceptable. Seriously. We need McClure back, and bad, or else Hawley and Baker (that joke) need to step up.
The Special Teams
Had a scare or two with Hester, but we were actually remarkably solid in coverage, and Hester had only a 17 yard average. Their field position was hurt further with all the penalties too (quite nice). On the other hand, I think Bosher was a huge mistake. His leg is pretty mediocre at best, and he failed to impress me all day. Bryant's money, though.
Needless to say, we pretty much rocked here. Outside of a big 27 yarder for Forte, he averaged 2.73 ypc, and Bell was down at 2.4 ypc. Even with that added in, their rushing plays average 3.26 ypc. And that is plain sad. We did really well in the run game overall, and it felt good to see.
I've got to give credit to our D-Line; they had a fanfreakintastic game. 4 sacks on Cutler and a pick for a TD by the ever-talented Biermann? I liked it. Of course, there were some times where Cutler had all day to throw, but for the most part, we kept him on the run and on his ass. Great games for Babs, Abraham, Biermann, and Sid today. RE didn't look stellar, but he wasn't in long either, so...eh.
Our DBs were a mixed bag, if only because Grimes made them look far better than they actually were. He had 3 pass deflections, which were a little offset by the fact that Decoud dropped two of them that could have been easy interceptions. Dunta looked awful. When a CB is fourth on the team in tackles, he isn't doing his job, particularly because he was slipping all over the place and missed a lot of tackles too. Moore looked alright. Owens was ugly. As a whole, Grimes is the only thing keeping this secondary's heart beating, and I'd really like to see Hayden maybe step up and take a main CB position so Dunta could slide into the NB spot. I saw a blitz from Dunta - let's see MORE of that.
What really killed us today was the coverage of linebackers...particularly, and I'm sorry to say it, Weatherspoon. He was flying all over the place early, making great tackles, but he did AWFUL missing a few tackles today. The one where he 'shoved' Forte on the pass was nothing short of embarassing. Step it up, man.
So yeah. Lots to improve on there. But the big things for me were:
We had more than the Bears, and we got clobbered by 18 points. That can be directly attributed to settling for freaking FGs instead of the touchdown. I'm sick of that, and MM SERIOUSLY needs to be more creative once we get into scoring position. Of course, our difficulties there can be more attributed to...
We had a great turnover ratio last year. Not today. We had three, whereas they had just the one. They got 17 points off of our turnovers, and it KILLED us this game. Ryan made a stupid play with Urlacher, and his fumble is possibly the most idiotic play I've seen him ever make. It was flat out awful. I'm not blaming Turner nearly as much, as that was simply an excellent play by the Bears, and he accounted for 140 yards on his own. The turnovers directly attributed to another thing we were great at last year, but not here, and that is...
Time of Possession
Really. It was bad. They had the ball a good six and a half minutes longer than we did, and considering how we dominated last year, I wasn't even that surprised by the loss in the end.
Look, guys. I think we're going to fix these issues. McClure might be back next week, hopefully Corey Peters will help our D-Line look even gnarlier, and our ToP and Turnovers are things Smitty won't let go unnoticed. Ryan learns from his mistakes too. He WILL fix them.
A lot of people here didn't take the Bears seriously, I think. Every team in the NFL should be taken seriously...the Bears are the last team anyone should make an exception for. They're really good, and they're one of the few teams that matches up well to GB's style of the game.
Next week we have the Eagles. I was more worried before the Rams game. Bradford, Jackson, and Amendola had to go out for the Eagles to win...the Rams exposed a lot of weaknesses. Particularly, their run D doesn't look much better. We can and should attack that, especially now that Turner's running like he has something to prove. He looks much more fresh.
We can beat them. We will beat them. and honestly, if we win 2 of our first 5 games, we'll go at least 11-5 and get to the playoffs. I hope our secondary looks better - maybe Sanders can step up and take Decoud's spot? - and I hope we have what it takes to fix the mistakes. I hope we will. We'd better fix them.
Oh, something I haven't mentioned yet is our coordinators. I've hated MM for a while, and want him gone. I think if BVG played games with the same urgency as the NO one where we blitzed Brees so much, he'd be much better, but at the moment he looks awful too...and I've never been his biggest fan. But that's another post...the fact that I don't want either of them here isn't that relevant.
They called an awful game. We got flat out beat. But we still had a chance, if not for stupid mistakes and failing to capitalize on touchdown and turnover opportunities.
We will rise up, and beat the Iggles next week...take it to the bank.