Jay Cutler=Jeff George; Bleak Outlook on the Season
I have to say, gentlemen, that from now on, I will believe that we will beat the Packers when I see the results themselves. That game last night was a complete wash -- only our defense played well until it was worn down late because of being on the field for far too long. We were outcoached on offense and, dare I say it, special teams. The death knell for this team was the touchdown scored on the fake field goal, but the fact that we only had like 57 total yards of offense in the first half was disheartening and, shall I say it, disturbing to say the least.
First, let's give the Bears' defense the kudos it deserves, because it was every bit as dominant against the Packers as was the 49ers. Our four-man rush was brutal; I think we had like five sacks if memory serves me correct unless we had another one after I turned the game off with only half of the 4th Quarter remaining. Now, onto the criticisms. If we only had an offense and an offensive line -- a competent left tackle and, yes, a smart quarterback who isn't a hot head and doesn't commit hubris leading up to the game -- we would have won this game. The playcalling baffled me on offense somewhat because we didn't attempt to establish a running attack until well into the second half. As far as I know, we out gained the Packers on the ground for a while, though Benson had some pretty decent run of about five or six yards out of the I-Formation, something that Packers coach Mike McCarthy committed to after his ignominious failure in Week One. Matt Forte played well while he was in the game, but it was mainly as a receiver in which he did most of his damage. I was pleased with Michael Bush's consistency in getting us tough yards on the ground and moving the yard markers. Still, it's the pass protection that has me baffled. Perhaps the preseason game against the Giants did more to foreshadow what is to be in store for us this year than anyone ever thought, because despite chipping tight ends and running backs on the left side in order to help J'Marcus Webb, neither he nor Chris Spencer could do anything to consistently stop oncoming pass rushers from destroying any attempt to set up a passing game.
And Jay Cutler...what can you say about him? He really screwed the pooch last night with poor throws that resulted in four interceptions. When it became obvious that the deep pass wasn't available to Cutler, offensive coordinator Mike Tice opted to continue throwing deep anyway, and it cost the Bears dearly. Again, as was stated earlier, Tice didn't try to establish a running attack until the 3rd Quarter, which was ultimately dashed in its effort because Matt Forte had to leave the game with a high ankle sprain. The biggest reason why Cutler couldn't make a connection to Brandon Marshall and company is because of the horrible blocking by the offensive line. The offensive line has to be fixed next year if we are to make a serious run for the Super Bowl. This means that J'Marcus Webb and Chris Spencer must go because the other three-fifths of the line are doing their job pretty damn well. The left side (Webb and Spencer) is the weak side of the line.
To make this season a success, Tice is going to have to scrap trying to throw the ball deep all the time and use the old "three yards and a cloud of dust" strategy to crush defensive front sevens across the league. What's more, if he does this, he will open Cutler up a window by which playaction passes can be employed and then the offense will be able to click like Tice wants and we might be able to throw the ball deep like he wants. Until then, however, this will never happen, and I don't foresee the Bears making the playoffs with a pathetic offensive line effort like the one we saw last night, or because of the poor judgments by Cutler.
By the way, Jay Cutler is looking more and more like Jeff George than I ever thought he would. He's every bit the hot head, blaming teammates in public for mistakes they make rather than be supportive of them, and he chokes in big games.