Protection calls right, Bears' blocking all wrong- film review
Protection calls right, Bears' blocking all wrong
Dan Pompei On the NFL
Giving up sacks the way a loose slot machine gives up coins is one thing.
But doing it when the protection calls are on the money is something else.
A closer review of the tape of the Bears' 17-3 loss to the Giants showed what happened to Jay Cutler was almost completely on his blockers.
First off, know this: the Giants rarely blitzed Cutler. In Cutler's 20 dropbacks, they rushed four men 15 times, including on eight of the nine sacks.
And also know this: the Bears were not playing it fast and loose with protection. They called for five-man protections only four times in the first half, and as it became apparent the Giants' pass rush was a problem, they adjusted. On six of the last seven dropbacks of the half, the Bears tried to protect Cutler with seven or eight blockers.
Two of the sacks came against five-man protections. Three came against six-man protections and another three came against seven. One came against eight.
So what the tape showed was Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell scheming to get advantageous matchups, individual blockers getting whipped and Cutler making poor decisions.
Grading key: Grades are between 0 and 10 with 0 being complete failure and 10 being perfect.
The pass protection improved in the second half. But that was like getting the fire under control after nothing was left to burn.
Blockers were beaten with speed. They were beaten with inside moves. They were beaten with stunts and twists. They were late to identify blitzers.
As for the tackles, right tackle Kevin Shaffer allowed a sack, a pressure that led to another sack and had a false start. J'Marcus Webb, who rotated with Shaffer, allowed a quarterback hit in the end zone. Left tackle Frank Omiyale had two false starts and was beaten for a sack.
The interior wasn't much better. Roberto Garza gave up a sack. Barry Cofield split a double-team by Olin Kreutz and Lance Louis for a sack. Edwin Williams didn't see Jonathan Goff coming on a delayed blitz and went to help Matt Forte with a double-team. Goff nailed Todd Collins, which led to an interception. Luckily for Williams, it was called back because Goff was called for roughing the passer.
Oh, and the run-blocking was like a multicar pileup in rush hour.
Of the 11 times Giants defenders got in Cutler's face, they sacked him nine. That tells you something about how the quarterback was handling pressure. The tape showed at least three of the sacks were Cutler's responsibility.
He didn't make sight adjustments. He refused to throw the ball away except for one time. He failed to protect the football in the pocket (three fumbles). And he didn't make good use of his mobility
Cutler became more and more shell-shocked as the second quarter went on. It's possible his concussion came earlier in the game and his judgment was cloudy. But by the time the quarter was half over, he was almost useless.
His only passes of consequence were an underthrow to Devin Hester on a potential touchdown pass that fell incomplete and an interception.
The best pass of the game, Chicago version, came from third-stringer Caleb Hanie. Both Hanie and Collins also showed better judgment than the starter in terms of avoiding sacks.
Greg Olsen made a nice adjustment to a pass thrown behind him in the fourth quarter for a 19-yard gain. Other than that, it was a rough day for the tight ends.
Both Olsen and Brandon Manumaleuna were beaten for sacks that resulted in quarterback fumbles.
Olsen was the intended target on both of the Bears' interceptions. On the first, he didn't put up a fight for a poorly thrown pass. On the second, a collision with Goff knocked him off his seam route.
If the roles of Matt Forte and Chester Taylor don't start to evolve, they might want to put on about 100 pounds each. Because all they really do is block.
Neither Forte nor Taylor had enough chances, though, especially in light of the circumstances.
They didn't do anything to help the team win, but they didn't do anything to make their team lose either. With only 13 passes thrown their way and most of them short ones, the wide receivers really weren't given much of a chance in this one.
This grade would have been higher, but the line wore down in the second half and helped allow the Giants 142 rushing yards after halftime.
Julius Peppers played another outstanding game. If he played against the Bears' offense, it would take him about three quarters to set a record for sacks in a season.
Israel Idonije is known as a run defender and so-so pass rusher, but his pass rush was more effective than his run defense in spots Sunday.
If Lovie Smith was hoping to light a fire under Tommie Harris, he's going to need more kerosene. Harris was a non-factor.
This unit has to take some of the blame for the run defense, but Brian Urlacher continues to play like a candidate for defensive player of the year. He got his hands on two passes, recovered a fumble and was a force in the gaps with another stuff
Danieal Manning and Chris Harris combined to make 17 tackles and Harris recovered a fumble, but they took some bad angles at times.
On Ahmad Bradshaw's 3-yard touchdown run, Manning had Bradshaw stood up at the 2 but couldn't bring him down.
A missed tackle by Harris enabled Brandon Jacobs to get another 21 yards late in the fourth quarter.
Zack Bowman served notice he was back by saving a touchdown with a forced fumble and recovery in the fourth quarter. But on the ensuing Giants' possession, he was beaten on a 30-yard completion.
Tim Jennings is showing an inclination for allowing receivers to run past him, then catching up and sticking his hand up at the last second to knock away underthrown balls. If he keeps playing like that, it will catch up with him. Jennings missed a tackle that enabled Kevin Boss to get 9 yards on an 11-yard gain.
The special teams units failed to take advantage of some nice opportunities. A holding call on Earl Bennett negated a 36-yard return. No one made plays when the Giants bobbled a punt return and fumbled a punt snap.