Here's the thing... I'm not trying to compare and contrast. I'm just calling things how I saw them, the Texans' secondary didn't play "great" IMO...
Originally Posted by jradMIT
A) There were a number of drops that would have led to scoring opportunities, had they been caught. Thus the opportunities were present, the Bears just didn't execute. This has nothing to do with how the Texans' secondary performed, it has to do with how the Bears' offense didn't perform. You cannot take credit for making a play, if you didn't in-fact make a play. A receiver dropping a catch-able ball is not a DB making a play.
B) As for the INTs, one was on an illegal contact no-call. The other was due in part to a concussed QB, which was again caused due to illegal play from the Texans. Neither of which was what I would consider a "good" play, due to the circumstances surrounding them. I will go on the record to say that both teams were guilty of pass interference (offensive and defensive). My point is simply that, if you have to break the rules to make a play, you didn't make a play... you just benefited from poor officiating. Overall though, the blown and/or no-calls weren't one-sided and somewhat balanced. Basically, if a team were to shutdown Watts by holding him all game (and the penalties were not called)... did the opposing OL actually play well? Do we look at the performance or just the results?
C) The Texans' secondary faced a back-up QB for half of the game. One who missed open receivers consistently and who made a ton of checkdowns rather than challenging the Texans' secondary downfield... not because the Texans' secondary locked down the Bears' WRs, but because of circumstances (ability, weather, chemistry/reps, play-calling, etc...).
All that said, I'm not saying the Texans' secondary was bad, I'm merely saying that it wasn't as out-standing as some of you believe. The opportunities were there and that is against a mediocre Bears' offense, during rainy weather.
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are" -John Wooden
Getting back to what we learned from a Bears perspective...
[And I do tip my hat to Houston for an excellent game plan, better execution than Chi in a tight, low-scoring game (where seemingly little things are magnified), and a gritty performance (esp. on D) on the road--you guys were the better team last night and deserved to win more than the Bears did.]
1) Please stop trying to pretend Hester is something he is not. It is a waste of time throwing to him deep unless he's alone by clearly beating the DB. All he does is get out-positioned, fall down, and then leap up claiming he was interfered with. I'm sick of that shit. It is a waste of time throwing to him short too. He couldn't even fall forward for 1/2 yard to get a key first down. He is only useful on rare plays where he can catch it unmolested in space and use his speed going immediately downfield. Basically Hester's career as anything more than a decoy and on an occaisional fly route needs to end. With Jeffery coming back, Hester needs to sit on O the vast majority of snaps.
2) Bennett, who I expected could/should have a nice game, utterly disappeared. Including on 3rd downs which are his specialty. I don't know if that was because he didn't get open or was overlooked by the QBs. But any game where he can't get 4-5 or so rec's (with his reliable hands) is a game where something went really wrong.
3) If Bennett was AWOL, Kellen Davis was way worse. As in EMBARASSINGLY BAD. A fumble and multiple drops on top of very shaky performances blocking and receiving leading up to this game. He needs to be benched to send a message. Use KAdams and ERod (in the PASSING GAME) instead to see what they have. Use Eldridge for blocking for the same purpose. Whatever the result, Spaeth and KDavis should not be on this roster next year and we do need to develop or find or draft or buy (in FA) a plausible receiving threat out of the TE position because Davis has proven he's not it.
4) Alshon Jeffery's absence was a HUGE exposed hole last night. See numbers 1 through 3 above. We need him back asap AND we need to find some kind of half decent offensive production out of the TE position, one way or the other.
5) The OL played pretty damn well. Maybe helped by the weather, but Watt was no factor much to my surprise. Carimi was much much better and only Rachal stood out negatively due to a couple penalties. You can't blame the lack of points on bad pass pro and Houston was selling out to stop Forte, which they did very well.
6) Bush was very mis-managed in this game. His north-south style of running was what was needed in the ground game when it became clear that Houston was shutting down Forte and he couldn't make his jump-cut style of running work on a slippery field and couldn't get to the outside either. His fumble was truly a back breaker (actually both fumbles lost were the the difference in the game IMO even though they were in the first half both times) but he should have been getting the rock starting the 3rd Q rather than not until the mid-4th. Bad decision by Tice there.
7) Campbell is a decent QB but he had a number of key errors of omission and comission last night, when the game was still winnable into the 4th Q. Threw some inaccurate passes and didn't see open receivers downfield either. On the last 2 drives, with a tie game potentially still doable, he should have been chucking it deep to Marshall repeatedly. We weren't going to put together a sustanied dink-and-dunk drive there obviously by then and the only hope was a big catch by BMarsh or drawing a PI call. Tossing quick check downs for 2 yards was a losing strategy at that point and Campbell should have risked the pick to throw it deep. There was 1 chance to win/tie and 2 to lose at that point so choosing to not risk the pick was a bad tactic. He wasn't a $3.5 million backup QB last night so he better step up next week since it looks like he's going to be starting...if he wants to get a starting job somewhere else next year that is.
8) The D was superb. Stopped Houston time and time again when they copuld have put the game out of reach. It reminded me of the week 2 and the 2010 NFCCG vs the Packers--where the D kept the O in the game far beyond the call of duty and the O failed to do anything.
9) Based on Hester's uselessness on O and his declining ability on STs (teams are fearing him largely now based on past rep only), a potentially difficult decision about him is going to have to be considered this offseason. Is he going to be worth a roster spot next year if his return abilities are fading fast and he adds little-to-nothing on O? I have my doubts.
10) Urlacher looked better despite not being his full former self last night but Roach (upcoming FA) was roadkill-on-the-turf way too often. There's 2 good reasons to draft a LB high next year who can play SLB and then take over MLB when BU hangs it up. I can't see how this isn't a top-2 priority for 2013.
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Well said MP. My only desent is your opinions of Hester, which seem to be a large sentiment for most Bears fans; lot of talk of him being lost, shouldn't be seen on the O, etc etc. The guy is a #4 WR, on his best days #3. he's a guy that is going to get 30-50 rec's a game and 400-700 yards. He's only getting 3-4 looks a game. And while the last few weeks he's not played well, last night he did pretty well. He only caught 2 of 4 passes but one of those was a clear no call pass interference. And his best catch was negated by the qb being over the LoS. As for the ST thing, I don't think it's hurting him at all, the Bears are still near the top, if not #1 in starting field position, even though they are not anywhere near that in actual return yards, that is all Devin Hester and the fact the he's nearly broken a recently.
I do think you hit the it when you said he shouldn't be running straight down the field though. I said it myself, the guy needs to work the middle of the field, behind the LB's and infront of the DB's, and he should be facing the ball when he catches it. His best play last night was right there about 10 yards past the LoS, and he took it near 30 yards down to the 2(negated as the qb was over the LoS). Go back earlier in the year when he caught that sweet td pass, it was him turning into the middle of the field, he actually did get seperation, faced the ball jumped and caught it w/one hand and kept control even w/a hard landing on the ground. That's how he should be used. If you give him those shots 4-6 times a game he'll do you just fine.
According to this site: of his 27 targets 3 have been drops that's horrid, it's not he sucks or cannot play. He's not Marshal, or Jeffery or Bennett, but he's not unplayable by any means. He just has to be used correctly.
Was it just me or did the weather call for more Bush rather than the Forte type of running. The one real drive that we had involved a lot of Bush (1 cut and then Down hill type running).
Forte's style requires more cutting and then bursts to the open hole. Well the field conditions did not allow that.
Pro Football Focus Take Refocused
Sometimes, you have to win ugly. In a matchup of two of the top teams in the league this season it was the Houston Texans who came out on top in a game ugly enough to match the weather conditions.
With the rain falling and the long grass at Soldier Field slick, this was always likely to be a game filled with handling errors on both sides. The six first-half turnovers and seven drops between the two teams were proof positive that neither side escaped those errors. However, in games like this it is about managing the errors and ensuring that they do not cost you the big plays. The Texans had half of the turnovers and only two of the seven drops, while the Bears put potential touchdowns and crucial conversions on the ground to thwart their efforts.
This was one of our first tastes of autumn football this season, and it was the ground and pound of the Houston Texans that won out as they held their place atop the AFC. Here are some of the key performances that helped maintain that slender lead over the chasing pack.
Houston – Three Performances of Note
In spite of the conditions in Chicago, the Texans’ pass defense was far busier than their run defense, by a ratio of 2:1. This put pressure on the likes of Johnathan Joseph, Danieal Manning, and Kareem Jackson, and the Texans’ secondary responded with a strong game. Things may have been different had Brandon Marshall hauled in that pass in the end zone over Joseph, but the real story of the game on the back end was the performance of Manning and Jackson, who both recorded season-high coverage grades. Between the two players they allowed three completions on six targets for 15 yards, with the three incompletions all coming with Jackson or Manning getting hands to the ball. Jackson’s interception was his fourth of the season but his first since the Week 5 victory in New York. Easily in the finest vein of form in his career, Jackson has allowed fewer yards in the Texans’ past six games (117) than he allowed in their first three (167).
In such weather conditions, you look for your offensive line and ball carriers to carry you, and this week Arian Foster and Justin Forsett put in the hard graft for the Houston offense. Due to the nature of the conditions, the play calling and the opposing defense, Foster was kept largely bottled for much of the game but the rushes on which he broke free were crucial for the Texans’ offensive success. Forsett and Foster both came up with long carries to set up Foster’s excellent touchdown catch prior to halftime, and it was the Bears’ inability to completely bottle the running game that allowed the Texans to do just enough to win. Neither passing game was going to win the contest in the conditions, and it was the Texans’ discipline and commitment to their running game that proved to be the difference.
It says something of the season that J.J. Watt is having that a +1.9 game grade is his worst of the season. His ‘lull’ didn’t lead to a letdown from the rest of the Houston defense, however, with every front seven defender except Antonio Smith recording a positive run defense grade. Third-year nose tackle Earl Mitchell, making his first career start, led the way in terms of stops but this was a group effort, exemplified by Brooks Reed working at inside linebacker in a five-linebacker set to allow rookie Whitney Mercilus on the field at outside linebacker. While Reed didn’t record a single stop, he did get the better of the Chicago fullback on a series of plays at the start of the third quarter, persistently redirecting the back and preventing the rookie from clearing the point of attack. There is little doubt that Matt Forte is the engine of the Chicago offense, and the Houston front seven ensured that he could never get on track.
Chicago – Three Performances of Note
Mistake After Mistake
There was a time when Kellen Davis was a great hope for the Bears’ offense. A two-sport star at Michigan State, Davis has the body size and athleticism to be a difference maker at tight end, but things simply will not come together in his second season as a starter. Davis has been an inconsistent run blocker this season and is still struggling to make a positive impact in the passing game. Off to a difficult start last night with a fumble on the first snap of the game, things didn’t improve for Davis, who dropped two passes and was overthrown byJay Cutler for one of his two interceptions. With Marshall drawing coverage outside with some exceptional performances, the opportunity should be there for Davis to make an impact inside but he simply isn’t doing that in a positive manner. He needs to step up his game before the Bears start to lose patience.
Jennings Re-asserts Himself
In recent weeks, Charles Tillman has taken the limelight in Chicago with an exceptional display against Calvin Johnson and the Lions on national television, in addition to forcing a career’s worth of fumbles in a matter of weeks. What that run of form has served to do is cover up a fine season from Tim Jennings that has drawn some press, but arguably not enough. In spite of his electrifying, ball-hawking start to the season Jennings has been the most targeted corner in the league this season. In spite of getting his hands to nearly half as many passes (17) as he has allowed completions (40), teams continue to look his way and in slippery conditions Jennings made the Texans pay for this tactic. A combination of inaccuracy from Schaub and slippy, trippy footwork by Keshawn Martin gifted Jennings his two interceptions, but outside of that he also broke up another pass and allowed only one completion to Kevin Walter for 23 yards. Customarily, a second corner opposite a top-tier player will make plays but also be victimized for big plays. This cannot be said of Jennings, who has allowed more than 50 yards receiving only four times this season.
Has there been a better primetime performer this season than Henry Melton? Outside of the Bears’ disappointing defeat in Lambeau Field in Week 2, Melton has accumulated an overall grade of +10.2 in Chicago’s subsequent primetime games. This week it was All-Pro centerChris Myers who was on the receiving end of Melton’s primetime performance, as he yielded a sack and a tackle for loss in the run game to the second-year starter. The former Texas Longhorn now has 10 pressures (2 Sk, 2 Ht, 6 Hu) in primetime games this season to go with five stops in run defense. With Melton starting to build more consistency around these big games, he is developing into one of the most disruptive defensive tackles in the league.
- The 51-yard field goal by Robbie Gould may not have been a career- or season-long, but considering the conditions — essentially kicking from a wet meadow — you won’t see many more impressive kicks than that in the NFL.
- In his first career start, Earl Mitchell recorded four defensive stops, the second-most he has recorded in a single game. (Five in Week 17, 2011)
- Rookie defensive end Shea McClellin recorded a season-low with only a solitary snap on defense after picking up a concussion. The Bears used only 15 defensive players.
PFF Game Ball
On his return to Chicago, Danieal Manning was a difference maker for the Texans defense. Forcing two turnovers in the first quarter, Manning took away potential scoring opportunities with both plays to prevent a fast start by the Bears in a low-scoring game.
Originally Posted by mdbearz
D manning was on the score this morning, and he said regardless of what Wade said in his interview about doubling Marshal, the plan was to always stack 10 in the box and shut Forte down; and make Cutler beat them. And I think you saw that; it wasn't th efield/weather that stopped Forte from cutting back; the D was set up to close down the cut back lanes. It's probably why Bush had an easier go of it also, the Texans might have went out of that 10 man front b/c they don't have to worry about Bush breaking a long one...and EXACTLY why the Bears should have given him more then 3 carries.
How damning is that? Teams might be worried about Cutler/Marshal, but it's who teams are willing to have the Bears beat them over Forte.
I don't blame them. I'd play it the same way. No matter how we all love Cutler-Marshall, they have not dominated any games. I think the issue is at the QB side. And historically, I would have said that it is because of poor protection. However, this last game that was not the case, but we did have a strong D and lousy weather to contend with.
It looks like Cutler may not play this Monday. If he does, I think the weather won't be a factor. If he gets good protection and still can not score, then we have to start looking at the issue being something other than OL (although that still needs to be addressed).
I am looking forward to the game and hope Cutler is playing. Maybe the extra day will be enough, but I suspect they will hold him out one more game.
Originally Posted by Riczaj01
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I don't get why it's such a problem to have both of Bush/Forte on the field...
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