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Regardless of the Monday morning quarterbacking from everyone starting with the experts and ending with my grandfather, a win is a win is a win is a win, naysayers be damned. Being that the NFL season is only 16 games long, I'll take every win our Bears can get, even if that means we're going to need at least one play of especially stupid proportions to maintain a lead in the final moments. Don't fault the Bears for Calvin "Megatron" Johnson not knowing the rules as well as this writer, just accept the gift and say, "Thank you."
But, if one were to look past the last couple minutes of the game and closer to the numbers, you might see some interesting stats:
* Jay Cutler goes 23 of 35 for 372 yards, two TD tosses and one interception that I'm blaming on poor play calling versus poor quarterbacking. On third and forever, just run the draw, Martz.
* 20 combined tackles by the linebacking corps. Though not eye-popping numbers, when you add in a sack by Urlacher, an amazing Briggs strip of the ball on a hand-off and the fact that next week we actually get to start the same three linebackers as we did this past week, it's not too shabby.
* 151 yards receiving by Forte with two TDs. Who needs a No. 1 receiver when your running can turn a 4-yard gain into 89 yards? We didn't need the services of Anquan Boldin, we knew that Forte would be his own two-headed monster.
* Despite the boneheaded decision to not kick a go-ahead field goal, receivers who clearly have not grasped the playbook and playing a greatly improved Lions D line, we won.
Some say the Chicago Bears don't have the O-line to stop the pass rush. I say it enhances Culter's abilities. Since no one will know where he's going to go after being flushed from the pocket, no one can defend the reality that not even Jay has any clue where he's going to have to throw it when Hester, Knox and Aromashodu run to probably the wrong place after the play breaks down.
You may ask why Jerry Angelo dumped Josh Beekman after he started all 16 games in 2008. It was by design! You saw it this past weekend - the worse the O-line played, the more Jay had the crazy feet, the more confusion it caused in the Lions.
Less O-line = more crazy offense. I like it, and I think against players like DeMarcus Ware of the Dallas Cowboys this upcoming week, we have an amazing opportunity to exploit Jay running scared. Or as I like to think, scrambling towards greatness.
The second biggest question mark behind the O-line coming into the season had to be the defensive secondary, and though they did not have a stellar performance they also did not embarrass themselves. Though not looking like clowns is not a mark of excellence, if the front four can increase the amount of pressure put on the opposing QBs even a small amount over what was done to the Lions, we won't need Pro Bowl performances from our DBs and safeties to keep opponents' scoring to a moderate clip.
Speaking of the front four, though Tommie Harris looked fat and slow when the ball bounced to him after the Julius Peppers sack and strip, after a second-string neverwas QB entered the contest, they were dominating against the run, albeit with a lot of linebacker support.
Week 2: Bears at Cowboys
The Mighty Bears, riding a wave of luck and good fortune, will continue their winning ways through moderate to okay defense and an offense that has to hit on more cylinders all the way down the field much better than they did a week ago. Turnovers will be limited to an errant Cutler pass that this time will not result in points. The Cowboys, who came into this season as Super Bowl favorites, will again show that Eastern Illinois is possibly not a true hot bed of QB prospects as Romo coughs up the ball a number of times. Lovie will have a field day at the press conference, again boring the masses with the mantra that forcing turnovers leads to victory.
Bears 20, Cowboys 17
Assuming Sunday's 19-14 victory over the Detroit Lions is the model for the next 15 games, I believe the Chicago Bears can go 11-5.
However, the following must occur in each game:
* The Bears win the time of possession battle by ten minutes.
* Jay Cutler throws for 350-plus yards, including twice as many touchdowns as picks.
* Matt Forte averages 200 yards of total offense per game.
* The defense holds opponents without a first down for two quarters.
* The offense outgains opponents three times over.
If Lovie Smith's ragtag crew of expensive underachievers, failed former head coaches and unproven C-list talent can repeat the above formula for success, we can all look forward to a first-round out.
But the Bears won't be breaking anyone's hearts this January without some adjustments.
* The defense needs to tweak its "bend but don't exist" prevent package in situations where they are leading by less than a touchdown and under a minute to play. Upcoming foes Tom Brady, Aaron Rogers, Brett Favre, Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb and Eli Manning may not be as forgiving as Shaun Hill in this scenario.
* The Bears secondary must stop relying on opposing talent to fall down while running routes or misunderstanding the "process" of catching a football (courtesy the Fox broadcast).
* The offensive line should not be asked to make a push of any kind, let alone in critical fourth-and-goal situations. Instead, use the 90-yard screen pass to set up the two yard run.
* Devin Aromashodu should not be asked to run routes face first into opposing cornerbacks. That's what Garrett Wolfe is for.
If the 2010 squad is going to reach its ceiling - a marginal playoff team with some talented individuals that get all the bounces and are eventually outclassed by a superior Atlanta-based opponent early in the playoffs (see the 1998 Cubs) - it will take more than luck. It will take 15 more games with the Detroit Lions.
Week 2: Bears at Cowboys
Despite backup tackle Alex Barron amassing 100 yards in holding penalties and head coach Wade Phillips' debilitating obsession with his sweet new phone, the Bear defense will be unable to withstand 60 rushing attempts by Marion Barber and/or Felix Jones and/or Tashard Choice.
Cowboys 27, Bears 14
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