Biggs: 10 thoughts after Bears' loss to Lions

Discussion in 'Chicago Bears' started by riczaj01, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/chi-chicago-bears-brad-biggs-10-thoughts-20130930,0,7577477,full.story

    Biggs: 10 thoughts after Bears' loss to Lions

    By Brad Biggs, Tribune reporter
    11:47 a.m. CDT, September 30, 2013
    Ten thoughts after the Chicago Bears’ 40-32 loss to the Detroit Lions on Sunday that left the NFC North rivals tied atop the division at 3-1 after the first quarter of the season:

    1. Two minicamps, 13 OTA practices, training camp, three preseason games and the first three regular-season games under quarterback guru Marc Trestman were not enough to cure Jay Cutler of some old habits.

    The Bears quarterback rightly put it on himself after a turnover-filled day in Detroit. He wound up with 317 yards passing and completed 27 of 47 throws, but two weeks after he survived a three-turnover effort against the Vikings, he couldn’t overcome four giveaways against an improved Lions team.

    Sure, the Bears wound up getting the game within one score with 43 seconds to play but there was plenty of empty yardage in Cutler’s passing totals -- space underneath for his targets in a soft zone as the Lions were careful not to be beaten by the big play. Cutler threw three interceptions and was stripped by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for a touchdown return for Nick Fairley, the second time in three games a Cutler fumble has been taken back for a score. In all, the Lions scored 17 of their 40 points off the turnovers.

    “It’s tough,” Cutler said. “I thought the defense did a good job. They held them to field goals and I have to give us a better chance to win. I mean three picks, it’s hard to come back from that. Have to play better. I felt good about my decision-making. I just missed the throws. They made a great play on the first one and then I underthrew 'B' (Brandon Marshall) and overthrew Alshon (Jeffery). They are throws I am accustomed to making. I just have to make them.

    “I thought the offensive line battled all day long and did a great job, especially in the passing situations we were in. We got slowed down due to my turnovers and we just have to do a better job.”

    The positive here is Cutler pointed the thumb and not a finger. There were dropped passes, some at crucial times. The line could have done a better job but keep in mind the strength of Detroit’s defense – maybe the entire roster – is on the defensive line. Suh and Fairley are tough customers the Bears are going to have to battle for seasons to come.

    Jeffery just barely touched the first interception – over the middle into coverage – when free safety Louis Delmas exploded and grabbed the ball away. It was a terrific play by Delmas, a reason why he is such a difference-maker in a secondary in need of help. Then, Cutler tried throwing a go route to Marshall off his back foot and it hung up on him, allowing Glover Quin time to get over and pick it off. Later, he overthrew Jeffery as Delmas made a second pick.

    “I don't think they were about decisions,” Trestman said. “I think the first (interception) was right where it had to be. I think the safety made a very good play. The second was an underthrow, he just didn't get his feet set. He had one-on-one coverage outside and underthrew (Marshall). The third one, to my recollection, was he scrambled right and threw the ball down the middle and again, just didn't set his feet and the ball went high.”

    The fumble was the most problematic. The Lions were ahead 30-16 and driving in for another score when a low pass from Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson was deflected up into the air and Major Wright intercepted at the Bears’ 8-yard line. It was new life and late in the third quarter the Bears trailed by just two touchdowns. But facing third-and-10 from his own 16, Cutler held the ball far too long after his first read Marshall was covered up. Suh, on a stunt, came around the right side. Cutler was holding the ball low – when it should have been out – and Suh targeted it. Fairley scored and suddenly the Bears were in a big hole.

    “I was just waiting,” Cutler said. “They played zone coverage and were just dropping out of there. I didn't really like the first look and was trying to work back out. Waiting, a three-step drop for those guys up front. They think the ball is going to be gone pretty quickly. We got away with it a few times, but that's on me.”

    Cutler was better mechanically and more on target through the first three games. The feeling is the 30-yard-old is making measured strides now paired with Trestman. Nobody expected a polished product by Week 4 and this serves as a reminder.

    “I thought he played tough and courageously,” Trestman said.

    The coach has been upbeat from Day 1. We’ll see where they head with these teaching points.

    2. Kyle Long had respect for Ndamukong Suh entering the game and it was further enhanced after he went up against the Pro Bowl defensive tackle. Suh was credited with two sacks and one strip. One sack came on a stunt, the other when Suh bull-rushed Long straight into the backfield. Long had his moments but it was a challenge. He was also called for illegal hands to the face.

    “Great player,” Long said. “Great competitor. Very strong guy. Relentless. He was who we thought he was. He is a very good football player. You win some, you lose some. That is the thing about the NFL. Everybody is a very high-level player. You just continue to work on techniques and try to combat some of the things they are trying to do to us.”

    Long tried not to talk too much about Suh during the week. He didn’t want to make a wrong move. He wanted to show what he could do on the field.

    “I didn’t have any thoughts,” Suh said when asked about Long. “Really, just wanted to affect the quarterback and affect the running back and not allow them to be successful. They were successful to a certain extent but I think we did a good enough job to obviously win the game. I’m actually not that happy because we gave up 32 points.”

    Lions coach Jim Schwartz was incensed his defensive line didn’t receive more calls.

    “I can’t believe we didn’t get about 100 holding penalties against them today,” he said.

    Maybe there will be more when the teams meet again Nov. 10. But Long had high praise for Suh and isn’t distracted by all the stories of dirty play by the Lions’ standout.

    “It’s a shame he is overshadowed by the dark cloud that is over his head,” Long said. “The guy is an animal and I mean that in the most complimentary of ways. The guy is a beast.”

    3. Chiefs outside linebacker Justin Houston and Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis lead the NFL in sacks. Both have 7 1/2. That is 1 1/2 more than the Bears have as a team. They rank 30th and only the Steelers and Giants trail with four each. It’s problematic for defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. The Bears didn’t blitz a whole lot against the Lions, probably because they didn’t want to get caught in man-to-man situations against wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

    There isn’t a quick fix to the matter but it can’t be judged solely on sacks.

    “They’re still trying to push the pocket,” Lions center Dominic Raiola said. “They’re trying to condense the pocket and they were able to do that from time to time. I’m going to have to go back and look at it.”

    But Tucker and the Bears need better results. They need to harass opposing quarterbacks. If they can, it will make it easier to continue to pile up takeaways.

    The Bears tried Cornelius Washington, the rookie sixth-round pick, on defense against the Lions. They’ve got David Bass on the roster but he has yet to be active. Cheta Ozougwu is on the practice squad. None of these options seem appealingt but the Bears might be ready to try some fresh faces. They need the veterans to play better. Period.

    4. Charles Tillman gave it his best after missing most of the week of practice with groin and knee injuries. He started and didn’t come out until the final possession of the second quarter. He returned for the first half of the third quarter and then he was done and Zack Bowman took over.

    “I think I held up pretty good,” Tillman said. “I was in there as long as my body could take it. I wanted to be out there. The pain or whatever, it’s a team game. I am trying to be out there for my teammates.”

    The veteran missed most of the week of practice before facing the Steelers. You wonder if this is a situation where it is going to take a matter of weeks to get back close to 100 percent. We’ll find out if he can do anything on Wednesday or Thursday later this week but he will certainly be needed Sunday against the Saints.

    5. The Bears scored a touchdown in preseason at Oakland with pony personnel, meaning Matt Forte and Michael Bush are both lined up in the backfield at the same time, and they did again Sunday on Forte’s 53-yard touchdown run at the start of the second quarter. Bush lined up as the fullback and Cutler tossed it right to Forte, taking advantage of defensive end Willie Young crashing down hard from the outside. That gave Forte a big hole and then Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery made terrific blocks downfield. Jeffery took cornerback Darius Slay and pinballed him into safety Glover Quin, wiping both defenders out.

    “It was a great block,” Jeffery said. “I’ve got to watch it on film. I just ran off the ball, blocked my guy and pushed him into the safety and both fell down.”

    It marked only the fourth time the backs have been on the field together this season.

    “I saw a huge hole,” Forte said. “I’m thankful for our receivers out there working hard for me when I caught the ball. That was a great play call, by the way. I caught the ball out of the backfield and the defensive ends squeezed down so I had an alley to run through. Actually, Alshon blocked his guy into the safety and Brandon sealed his guy on the outside so it was just a big hole. I credit that to Alshon. Some guys (have) a big play like that (Jeffery had a 27-yard end-around on the previous snap), then they come out of the game. He stayed and he works hard like that at practice every day, too. The credit on that touchdown really goes to him and everybody who was blocking in front of me.”

    6. Press box statistics credited Lions safety Louis Delmas with three tackles but he also had three pass deflections and two interceptions, one of them on a terrific defensive play to rip the ball away from Alshon Jeffery. Some thought the Lions might let Delmas go last March. Knee injuries prevented him from playing in 13 games over the previous two seasons. But Detroit re-signed him to a $7.715 million, two-year contract. He missed time in the summer with the knee issues but he’s been on the field and he is a difference maker in the back end for the defense. The Bears saw why.

    It would be somewhat surprising if Delmas makes it through the entire season but he’s one to keep an eye on with the rematch between division rivals not too far off. The Lions come to Soldier Field on Nov. 10.

    7. Free safety Chris Conte is the closest friend defensive tackle Henry Melton has on the roster. The Bears went through their first game without Melton after he suffered a torn ACL the week before at Pittsburgh. Melton has been upbeat about his situation via his Twitter account but Conte revealed he’s been down – as you would expect.

    “However you would expect a franchise player to go through an injury like that early in the season, that’s how he feels,” Conte said. “He was expecting a big year for himself, he was working for that new contract. Then to have an injury like that, it’s rough. I am sure there are a lot of thoughts and feelings going through his head. As teammates, it’s time for us to be behind him and support him. Really, he’s got to focus on getting back and rehabbing.”

    What does Conte say to Melton?

    “Just that, support him. 'Hey, just focus on your rehab once you get the surgery done and get back and get strong,'" Conte said. “Don’t worry about anything else.

    “He’s been getting a lot of edible arrangements and different things from just about anyone and everyone. I think people are trying to make him feel better. Trying to talk to him right now, I think he is in a spot where he is a little upset. We all feel bad for him.”

    The Bears signed Landon Cohen, who has experience in the scheme, to take Melton’s place on the roster. Cohen was used ahead of undrafted rookie free agent Zach Minter, who was inactive for the fourth consecutive game. The Bears had Cohen on the field for 14 snaps. He was not credited with any tackles in press box statistics.

    8. Lane Kiffin was the coach at Tennessee when he badly wanted to get Alshon Jeffery out of St. Matthews, S.C., to come to his school. The story goes that Kiffin supposedly told Jeffery that if he chose the in-state Gamecocks program instead, he would spend the rest of his life pumping gas. I don’t know, maybe there are a lot of full-service stations in South Carolina.

    So, with Kiffin having been fired at USC only hours before the kickoff at Ford Field, I asked Jeffery about the story.

    “I’m just thinking about what I am doing here with the Bears,” Jeffery said. “I am here with the Bears. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    But Jeffery has said on the record to other outlets previously that Kiffin made the pumping-gas remarks.

    “I am here with the Bears,” Jeffery replied. “That’s all I am concerned about. I’m not concerned about anything else.”

    Well, Jeffery can’t blame a reporter for asking about it.

    “Can’t blame, no,” Jeffery said, at this point laughing about the subject. “But I’m not talking about that.”

    Jeffery had a big game and it was certainly worth talking about. He caught five passes for a career-high 107 yards and also gained 27 yards on an end-around. He dropped an easy pass in the end zone but responded by making a difficult catch for a score on the next play. He’s emerging, without question.

    9. The Bears got away from a lot of the double tight-end formations they were using in previous weeks and some of that, of course, was driven by their need to catch up in the second half and use three-receiver sets. But reserve offensive lineman Eben Britton was on the field for nine snaps as an eligible tackle. In contrast, tight end Steve Maneri had only three snaps.

    “I think their defensive line is so physical and they really get into that ... they want to be the bullies and that is their mentality,” Britton said. “You’ve got to respect that and I think getting me in there changed it up a little bit. Adding an extra blocker, an extra big guy.”

    10. The Bears catch a little schedule break this week. The Saints will be playing on a short week as they host the Dolphins on “Monday Night Football.” That will mark the second opponent in three weeks coming off a short week. The Steelers played on “MNF” at Cincinnati before playing the Bears. It gets better the following week when the Giants have to travel to Soldier Field on a Thursday night. Road trips for Thursday games are particularly challenging.

    10 a. Ton of snaps for nickel cornerback Isaiah Frey. My preliminary count is he was on the field for 44 of the 66 defensive plays. That was part of the Lions’ plan as they wanted to run against the Bears’ sub package.

    10 b. The Bears were dreadful offensively but especially on third down as they converted only 1 of 13. That’s pitiful but consider the Lions entered No. 1 in the NFL on third down. That defensive line is a big reason why.

    10 c. Fox has scheduled its No. 1 crew to work Sunday’s Saints-Bears game at Soldier Field. That means Joe Buck, Troy Aikman and Pam Oliver will be on the call.

    bmbiggs@tribune.com

    Twitter @BradBiggs
  2. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    1) So Cutler and Trestman are fine w/Cutler throwing into Triple and double coverage when that means there are obviously single or open guys? I find myself a little suprised by that. No matter how good your WR is, no matter how good your QB is, those are near impossible throws. But it's good to see JC and Trestman openly admit the TO's were the primary issue for the game and it needs corrected.
    This is a bad trend also, Cutlers worst games have been against Minny and Det, 3 TO's and 4 TO's respectively, meaning he had 1 against Cincy and 0 agaisnt Pitt. if he does this against GB and Det again, we'll finish at best 3rdin the div.

    2) Long's a rookie that did okay, all things considerred, against one of, if not the, best DT in the league, if next year he gets stronger and w/more experience he'll paly better against him.
    Schwartz is not just a certifiable nut, but a gaint douche also.

    3) doesn't that tell you something though? LB's, not DE's and DT's are leading the league in sacks, where have most of Chi's sacks come from? hasn't been the LB's? 6 of the top 10 sack leaders are LB's, the next 4 are DE's. Top 20 are 9 lb's, 7 DE's and 4 DT's. for the Bears is 3 LB's(2 DJ Will and 1 Briggs) and 2 DE's(Peppers and Wootton), and .5 for both Paea and Shea. So the Bears are essentially 50-50 from it's Lb's and DL. Tucker is using the LB's the same way others in the league are, but the DB's are not stepping up in the process. The DL needs to play better, but Tucker need sto find a way to keep blitzing w/DJ and the other LB's.

    4) Hard to complain about Tillman's play, per usual he shut down the best WR in the game.

    5) Bonus to having big WR's, they can block w/the best of them. Jeffery and Marhal manhandled the DB's and Forte romped down for a huge TD. Now I'd like to see Bush get the hand off eventually off that now that teams now what can happen by just crashing down on him. It should open up the field if Bush can get through the DL

    6) meh

    7) Conte and Wright are depth guys and shouldn't be starting. There is no replacement for Melton out there.

    8) See my commnet on Schwartz, Kiffin is the same. If that's how college coaches recruit he shouldn't be recruiting.

    9) And we scored pretty well b/c of it. If we had a better 2nd TE I'd be more comfortable w/that idea, but we don't so why do it? The team has an advantage w/WR depth, use it.

    10) Saints and Brees even on a short break is not a Break, not against this Def. Isn't this a home game? Do the Bears ever play the Saints in their home?
    b) and that's too many. This is the problem w/running nickle, it opens up the run and our DB's are not a depth position(imo)
    c)thinking i'll listen on the radio.
  3. JustAnotherBearsFan99

    JustAnotherBearsFan99 Coordinator SuperFan DBS Writer

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    LOL, poor Long looked like a bug hitting a windshield in that play.
  4. Bearsinhouston

    Bearsinhouston Hall of Famer

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    Long is as strong as a bull, but he is a bull that got run over by a truck. Even he understands that he is going to need some more strength training in the offseason. Suh is a beast. I really do think that in a year or two, he will handle him fine for the most part. A guy like Suh is always going to get his licks in, but Long won't get embarrassed forever.
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  5. Jimmors

    Jimmors The Rhymenoceros Staff Member SuperFan

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    Love Jefferey's response to that question. Why should he give a flying fuck about Kiffin or College Ball, or remarks made years ago? Kudos, kid.
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  6. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    yep him playing in the nfl is all the talk he needs, why pile on Kiffin, even if the dude is a douche.
  7. BearJim

    BearJim Veteran SuperFan DBS Writer

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    LOL. Can't blame you for that Ric! Not a fan of Buck, that's for sure.
  8. Mr. Deliverance

    Mr. Deliverance Guest

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    I'm only hitting a couple of these points.

    Tall order for Long to match up against Suh. But he did a respectable job.

    We have Tucker because Marinelli was a major asshole, swinging from Lovie's nuts, and willing to take a demotion over continuing to be DC. The Bears showed hima GREAT DEAL OF RESPECT, offering him the DC job under Trestman. And yes Mr. D. no longer has any love for that dickhead Marinelli.

    I mean let's get real...Tucker was never recognized in this league as a top flight DC. So why are we acting shocked that the D is playing so poorly? We're just trying to make due on short notice. If the D keeps it up. Tucker is gone after the season. Some one has to taste the guillotine blade.
  9. WearyBear

    WearyBear Rookie

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    Cha Ching!!! Wasn't it Schwartz who got into the skirmish with Jim Harbaugh after a game? Talk about a thug coaching thugs!
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  10. riczaj01

    riczaj01 DaBears Ditka DBS Writer

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    yes, yes he is.

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