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With the momentum snatched and slated to receive the second-half kickoff, the Bears found themselves nicely positioned to break the hearts of their most Kool-Aid guzzling fans.
C'mon. Some of you were quietly rooting for Connor Barth to shank a last second kick.
Good news, everyone! It never came to that because the offense opted to hang back in the locker room after the conclusion of the second quarter, presumably to escape the Houston heat.
But look, we're not here to talk about the past . . .
[Editor's Note: At minimum, the first 40% of each column is dedicated specifically to talking about the past.]
So instead, let's talk about the past!
It's a small sample size but we definitely learned some things about the 2016 Bears.
Let's look at some of the ups and (lack of first) downs.
- Linebacker Play: Danny Trevathan and Jerrell Freeman lived up to expectations in Week One; Freeman, in particular, was a standout. Rookie Leonard Floyd had his name called a few times as well, and in a good way.
Not like, "Floyd, what the hell are you doing on top of that mascot?!*"
If Pernell McPhee returns to form after coming off of the PUP list - and assuming the outside backers perform up to par - the Bears finally have a chunk of the team is a for-real, NFL-caliber unit.
Disclaimer: The 2016 Chicago Bears are in no way affiliated with the Irvine, California based porn studio named "NFL Caliber Units."
- Four-Fifths Of The Offensive Line: I get the feeling that if the Bears made any attempt to establish the ground game in the second half (other than perfunctory handoffs at the start of a series, or the shameful jogs off the field two plays later), it would have been a more impressive looking effort.
But you know how it is when you're dealing with a practically insurmountable six-point deficit in the second half. More on that in a moment.
Cody Whitehair's botched snap on fourth-and-one was a noteworthy blemish, but on the bright side Cutler haters now have something else to bitch about besides Jay ashing in the beers of people in the front row**.
Bobby Massie wasn't great, but his tight ends didn't help much.
For a group so newly assembled that they're still learning each other's last names, the O-line did an overall admirable job on the road against a very tough match-up.
What Was The Football Equivalent Of Ingesting Garbage Juice Through Your Eyes
- Second-Half Offensive Play-Calling: Speaking of the run game, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains may want to consider saving the "Boys, get on Jay's back and watch that pigskin fly" strategy until it's absolutely necessary.
Didn't the Bears bring over a rugby player to open holes up the middle as well as make us all giggle?
Wow! A black dude who sounds like Flight Of The Conchords!
If that reference doesn't compute, YouTube their videos. They're funny.
Even if the plan was to favor the aerial attack, I was under the impression we had a YAC-prone tight end whose first name starts with "Z" and whose last name sounds like "Ack Miller."
Mr. Ack was to be one of several reliable mid-range targets for Cutler to utilize when he was under pressure.
Let's say we give the guy a few more meaningful looks before he gets another bout of season-ending injuries and is put back into cryo-stasis through 2020.
There were also yards to be had via the screen pass.
After a long gain was called back on a phantom holding call, the idea of capitalizing on the Texans' aggressive nature evaporated more quickly than Gary Johnson's approval rating following questions about Aleppo.
[Editor's Note: Settle down there, Dennis Miller. We've got a whole section of the site dedicated to content written by professionals.]
Fine. I'll shop my political insights elsewhere. I bet I can do a better interview than Matt Lauer.
[Editor's Note: That . . . might actually be true.]
One thing was made very clear on Sunday: The way the offense was called, the Bears are as likely to find out if Jeremy Langford is an every down back as Donald Trump is to disclose his tax returns.
[Editor's Note: BOOOOOOOO!!!]
- Second Half Receiver Play: From the third quarter on, it appeared as though Bears receivers were working off of a route tree that resembled a tangled wire hanger placed in the middle of the field.
Though Alshon Jeffery's final stats indicated he was clearly the best player on the offensive side of the ball, it was hardly a complete effort.
Juxtaposed against his 105 first half receiving yards, the star's catchless second half was emblematic of the Bears' entire opening week performance.
Kevin White looked particularly lost, especially when compared to Jeffery's first-half effort. His lackluster NFL debut included bad routes and a lack of explosiveness (I don't know if it's a word, but try saying "explosivenessless" five times fast). At one point in the third quarter, White wandered aimlessly towards the Texans' sideline, presumably because they had snacks.
Give him some time. By Week 6, he'll know the Capri Sun cooler is right next to Kyle Fuller, not with the opposition.
Eye On The Opposition: Life In The Wentz Lane
After trading presumptive starting QB Sam Bradford*** to Minnesota for a first-round pick, a conditional early round pick and the first-born son of an Amish farmhand who can spin straw into copper (before you turn up your nose, consider the material costs associated with an entire stadium's worth of piping), the "Iggles" (as they're known by those screaming nonsense from inside a Philly jail cell) look to bounce back from a season that went only marginally better than a five-alarm petting zoo fire.
Here's a quick list of low-lights from their last season:
- Preseason Game One: Running back DeMarco Murray demands a trade after briefly thumbing through coach Chip Kelly's playbook and discovering that 23 of the first 25 plays are end-arounds.
- Week 2: Following a loss to the Cowboys, Philly mascot Swoop is arrested for public masturbation. Shortly thereafter, millions of Americans to ask themselves, do birds have a penis?
- Week 5: Following one of his several zero-yard performances in 2015, prized rookie receiver Nelson Agholor strained his forearm punching a fan during a heated debate over the merits of a flat tax, which eventually spilled over into an argument about whether Don Henley is singing "it seems to me some fine things have been laid upon your day bed" or "have been laid upon your table" in the second verse of "Desperado." For the record, the lyric is "it seems to me some fine things have been laid upon your tapeworm."
- Week 11: As a child, Jameis Winston grew up an Eagles fan. As an adult, his Buccaneers took a steaming dook all over Philly's season by beating the home team 45-17. Towards the end of the contest, Winston baited the crowd by shouting "I nailed your sister last night" at the top of his lungs. Taking the claim literally, dozens of drunken fans were subsequently arrested for storming the field. While running for his life, Winston remembered that nearly everyone in Philadelphia has a whore sister.
- Week 16: Head coach Chip Kelly is fired with a single game remaining on the schedule. That actually happened. Nothing says "I hate your fucking face" like management assigning someone else to 80 hours' worth of your now meaningless work, while still cutting you a six-figure check.
Early returns in 2016 are more positive for The City Of Brotherly Love.
Rookie starting quarterback Carson Wentz looked strong against the Browns.
Admittedly, Cleveland is, as per usual, bad at winning football games.
But defense isn't the biggest problem with the team who loses at football near Lake Eerie, so don't go thinking Wentz's victory was entirely hollow.
That said . . .
Kool-Aid (4 of 5 Pints Of Yards Pale Ale)
If hoppy beers aren't your thing, I also recommend Yuengling when you're on the East Coast, because it's cheap, light bodied and, most importantly, alcoholic.
Fox n' Co. are building something here in Chicago and this is the kind of match-up worth getting invested in.
We should see some real results this week and that's reason to be excited.
On a related note, if you find me babbling resentfully at the computer screen drunk on scotch Monday afternoon, it's because I was dead wrong and made the mistake of re-reading the above sentence.
Another three hours of my life wasted you worthless (gurgling noise) . . . you're just like your goddam mother!
As an artist, my words are my children.
While the Eagles' rookie quarterback had a nice start to his career, it looks like there's success to be had for the Bears pass rush as the Philadelphia offensive line was beatable last week.
Pressure up front could lead to turnovers early in the game, so expect Vic Fangio to dial up a defensive scheme designed to confuse the young QB.
And if none of that works, just try hucking a few nine volt batteries at the kid. He doesn't know the rules yet.
The Bear offense has a much easier assignment than it did in Week 1; look for a more complete effort.
The running game should get around 30 attempts and receivers will catch passes in the second half that aren't against the prevent defense of an opponent who is up two scores, so I'm literally looking for these guys to use both of the legs Sunday night.
Dig deep, guys. I know you have it in you to be bipedal winners.
At home against a team in transition, expect a nice bounce back victory for the Bears.
Bears 27, Eagles 13
About The Author
Even after watching the second half of last week's game, the author (erroneously) believes this season will be A-O-K.
Definitely . . . A . . . O . . . K . . .
* On the plus side, a mascot doesn't need a doll to show the team doctor where the bad touch happened. It just needs to mash its fingerless hand against its own crotch.
** Goddammit Jay, you gotta do a better job goosing your center in the taint!
*** Having been surgically altered more times than the average person on Botched, Bradford might be best known for being the guy who put Dr. James Andrews' great grandchildren through college.
Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.
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