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The Bears really need to do me a solid and put together a couple games that are either 100% good football or 100% bad football, because at this rate I expect to run out of snappy opening titles by Week 6.
There wasn't a lot to like about Monday's 31-17 loss in Dallas, but aside from the continued high-level play of linebacker Jerrell Freeman, there were a few positive takeaways to be seen if you squinted hard enough.
- Jordan Howard: The rookie 5th-round pick was again an offensive bright spot. And like the offensive bright spot on your shirt, the one your co-workers really, really hope was caused by yellow mustard, it's become fodder for chat at the watercooler. Were you eating a ballpark hot dog on the drive in or something?
- Zach Miller: The Bears almost made it a game in the second half thanks partly to a nice performance from the veteran tight end. Please note that the term "veteran tight end" is a trademark of the NFL Players Association and is in no way affiliated with the Brazzers' adult film series featuring women over 40 with great dumpers.
- Jacoby Glenn: For the second week in a row, the second-year cornerback made plays that looked, for a second, like they might be impactful. And just like the previous week, they ultimately ended up having absolutely no impact on the outcome of the contest. But keep at it, Jacoby! One of these days we'll play the Browns!
- Slumber: True story. The Bears' lackluster performance in the first half bored me so badly, I opted to record the second half and go to bed. I should mention that in addition to being a pretty big Bears fan, I work a nine-to-five shift and that I've had problems sleeping since I was a kid. Nodding off this easily is, for me, unusual.
On Monday around 7 p.m., I fired up the Tivo and fell asleep again while watching the second half. The 2016 Bears may be failing at football, but as a treatment for insomnia they are bordering on a holistic medical breakthrough.
What Made Us Turn Off The TV At Halftime Because Goddammit Some People Work Tomorrow And Shouldn't Suffer Through This Garbage Until Eleven O'Clock At Night
- The First Half: Already covered this, but I'll add that I would love to see what kind of ratings drop-off NBC experienced at halftime for the Chicagoland area. I doubt Chicago's many third-shift lumberjacks were the only ones sawing logs by 10 p.m.
- Run Defense: I know Dallas's offensive line has quite a reputation, but they had injuries of their own and I expected more out of the Bears defensive front in the first half; nose tackle Will Sutton in particular. If memory serves, the D-line's job is to "push 'em back, push 'em back, WAAAAAAAY back." Not helplessly "watch 'em run, watch 'em run" as a halfback sprints through an eight-foot chasm.
Please note that the term "eight-foot chasm" is a trademark of the NFL Players Association and is in no way affiliated with the Wicked Pictures adult film series featuring . . .
[Editor's Note: Stop.]
I know what you're thinking. Only two bullet points regarding what didn't work for this game and four for the good news?
One point covered 50 percent of all game action and the other point aimed squarely at roughly half of all Bears defensive plays.
I'd say that about does it.
Eye On The Opposition - Detroit: Home Of The Whopper
The Bears and Lions rivalry is one the more underrated rivalries in the NFL. It goes back a long way and it's been bitter since its inception.
To make a long story short . . . (takes a deep breath)
As a trading outpost founded by intrepid fur trappers Charles Batch and Jonathan Morton, the city of Detroit-Chi was officially founded in 1928 and shortly thereafter recruited 28% of its total population to field a football team in a bid to join the National Football League.
In fact, the term "Detroit-Chi" roughly translates to "not quite as bad as Chicago."
Some feel that this mildly derogatory comparison to the Windy City originally pertained to murder rates. Chicago had five murders that year in 1928, which was a startling figure at the time.
Other noteworthy events in Lions history include General Barry Sanders' victory over Mussolini at the battle of Wayne County in 1956 (though technically much of the fighting took place in Tecumseh, Ontario), former Lion Dick LeBeau's stunning win over the Iron Sheik at WrestleMania II and, of course. Calvin Johnson's infamous endzone "drop" in 2010, which brought the term "The Matthew Stafford Rule" into the popular football lexicon.
Hahahahaha! Learning is fun-da-mental!
While at a record of 1-2 the 2016 Lions appear bad on paper, it's only because they are also bad on film and bad in person.
They do, though, have the ability to score points through the air.
"Arrrgh, scoring points! Our only weakness! How did they KNOW?!" yelled Bears Defensive Coordinator Vic Fangio at Tuesday's conference call with the press.
Turns out that Lions QB Matthew "Love Child Of Krusty The Clown And A Wolf" Stafford can still sling it even without Calvin Johnson on the team.
Free agent acquisition Marvin Jones has stepped out of the shadow of former Bengals teammate AJ Green and is staking his claim as a top option for Detroit.
Complimented by the steady presence of fellow wideout Golden Tate and match-up nightmare tight end Eric Ebron (or "Rice Boner," as he's known by teammates. Yay anagrams!), Stafford has a number of ways to keep the ball moving.
The good news is that one of those ways probably won't be on the ground, as Detroit's lead running back Ameer Abdullah is likely out for the season. The Lions' rushing game looks a little better than the Bears' on the stat sheet, but since they haven't had to abandon the run as early and often as Chicago has, their overall performance has been basically been as bad.
However, the mobile Stafford can be difficult to wrangle at times and we've seen how well this defense has handled mobile QBs through three weeks.
Can the secondary provide coverage long enough to allow the Bears pass rush to finally materialize?
The answer is no . . . oh, wait I'm supposed to do that in the next section.
Kool-Aid (2 of 5 Pints Of Scarlet > Fire)
I'm a fan of ales, redheads and fire, so this tasty beverage out of Mundelein is all like, check, check and check.
If you like yoga, beer and kidding yourself into believing that you're working out, consider attending one of Tighthead's monthly "Poses And Pints" events.
You just might get to meet me and The Mrs.
I'd be Lion if I told you that this game is more important to watch than say, a YouTube reaction video of the trailer for the movie Passengers*.
But this match-up provides a few good reasons to pay attention.
With Jeremy Langford expected to miss at least the next month, we'll get an extended look at the aforementioned Howard.
Since it's officially time to label this season a "rebuilding year," (read: we've ruled out terms like "wild card caliber team," "young but competitive" and "acceptable") watching our newest players in action is the best reason to tune in, other than getting high and trying to find portions of each game that line up with "Yackety Sax" the same way Dark Side Of The Moon lines up with The Wizard Of Oz.
Unlike Chicago, Detroit's offense is a functioning one, so to win this game the Bears need to put more than 25 points on the board.
It's as simple as that.
We've seen improved play by Kevin White as the season has progressed and he'll need to take another step forward, along with a jump in class by the revamped running game as I expect the Lions D to try and lock Alshon Jeffery down.
QB Brian Hoyer may not have to make plays in dramatic fashion, but he must move the chains.
I think he will, thanks in large part to an offensive line that finally starts to gel and more balanced play-calling.
With that in mind, the Lions will get theirs. Expect a shootout.
Don't expect a win to save the season, but I see young guys on both sides of the ball stepping up this week to notch a narrow home victory.
Bears 28, Lions 27
About The Author
If you're interested in getting drunk and doing yoga with The Author and Mrs. The Author (pictured below), go to Tighthead Brewing in Mundelein on October 2nd and flag them down.
It should be noted that neither of the children in this picture belong to The Author or Mrs. The Author.
Mrs. The Author just shoved two kids wearing Bears gear into the car and yelled "Drive!" You can see the one of the right trying in vain to escape. Hahahahaha!
But The Author and Mrs. The Author sure enjoyed taking those lil' scamps for ice cream and then returning them to their parents as planned with absolutely no ransom involved.
* A film Columbia Pictures would lead you to believe has a working title of Space Station Penetration: The Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence Story.
Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He welcomes your comments.