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Even though I've been rationing this type of turn-of-phrase throughout 2016, I'm going to exhaust snappy "50% of the game was really f-ing bad" themed one-liners sooner than I thought if this trend continues much longer.
Who knew that 11 weeks into the year, we'd have enjoyed exactly two complete efforts by the Bears - and that's counting the wire-to-wire shitshow that was the loss to Tampa Bay on November 13th.
What else is there to say? Next week might be titled "Chicago Area Football Team Plays Game (Sigh)."
We'll cover what worked in the first half in next section, but let's take a minute to throw some shade at the Bears coaching staff.
Nothing screams "devoid of halftime adjustments" quite like the stinker we saw from the third quarter on against the New York Giants last Sunday.
The Bears gained 101 total second half yards, of which five were on the ground, and zero points.
That's a group of stats so bad, I'm actually going to cite a source (Rich Campbell, Chicago Tribune) to make my point.
You see what you made me do there, Bears?!
That's right, you were so bad I had to commit an act of actual journalism.
An injury-riddled offensive line, the absence of top receivers, and very windy conditions were certainly factors, but in a game where Chicago was never down more than six points there was no reason to stop running the ball again (five carries for Jordan Howard in the second half . . . argh, another real stat) and last I checked the rapidly moving New Jersey air didn't show any favoritism to the Giants.
Just ask former Bear and misser of three Giants kicks, Robbie Gould.
Coaches, managers, all off-the-field personnel: huddle up here for a minute.
A little closer . . . good, but keep coming . . . that's right, let's get friendly . . . closer . . . clooooooser . . . better.
Guys, even though it seems like everything else is going completely wrong, you have a rare bright spot on offense here. His name is Jordan Howard. He is a running back. And when you draw up running plays for this running back, good things happen.
Dowell, I can see you want to say something, it's probably that he's a spotty receiver, but shush 'til I'm through.
FEED HIM THE GODDAMN ROCK!!!
(In normal tone)
Thanks for your time, gentlemen.
As a palate cleanser, and an incredibly lazy way to call back to the section title, here is a picture of a cat in a bag:
What We Were Thankful For
- The First Half: Once again, the Bears showed us everything good they can be - for about 30 minutes. In fact, except for the first Giants drive of the game, it was a really solid performance. Jay Cutler was near perfect, leading the team to three straight scoring drives. Shoot, the last time Cutler scored on three straight attempts he was in college (no married mother of multiple children says "yes" three days in a row)!
They ran the ball, the defense stood fast when needed, this looked like a very winnable game.
And then it came to a screeching halt.
What Made You Want To Stab Yourself In The Eye With A Drumstick
In case you fell asleep during the stat dump above, I'll quickly sum the bad that was the second half: scored no points, dropped many passes, defense was unable to make a couple of key stops due to fatigue.
That said, the biggest news is the rash of injuries and suspensions that have piled up to near comedic levels over the last couple weeks.
Here are some notes on a portion of the metric fuck-ton of bad luck and poor decision-making which created gaping roster holes.
- Alshon Jeffery: Suspended for taking banned amphetamines mixed with rhino penis (we covered this last week).
- Jay Cutler: "Torn labrum." In quotes. In case I didn't make myself clear. With the season lost and Cutler's time in Chicago likely numbered, the management regime is, shall we say, interested in evaluating (read: plumbing the depths of) the quarterback portion of the roster. Like him or hate him, we know what Cutler is. I'm not saying, I'm just absolutely saying.
- Zach Miller: Broken right foot. "Don't worry, it's not the same foot that kept him off the field for the better part of four seasons," said optimists everywhere. So for those of you looking forward to the 2017 season, get ready for a 33-year-old starting tight end with two bad feet.
- Kyle Long: Ankle (it's bad, really really bad). Long has already been placed on IR and is lost for the season. Pshaw! Who needs a perennial Pro Bowl guard anyway?
- Josh Sitton: Ankle (it hurts a lot, probably?). At the time of this writing the extent of Sitton's ankle injury is unknown; he's officially listed as "questionable," which coincidentally is the same designation most Bears fans have assigned themselves as it pertains to the likelihood that they will watch the upcoming game against the Titans.
- Bobby Massie: Concussion. Well at least we all know what the heck is going on between Massie's ears these days (answer: dangerous amounts of brain swelling).
- Jerrell Freeman: Suspended for also taking banned amphetamines mixed with rhino penis. (Note: When you're a pro athlete, never, never, eat anything on a dare. Even if Willie Young says he'll pay you $15,000 to eat a handful of something called "Monster [Brand] Gummy Cocks." It's not worth it.)
- Leonard Floyd: Concussion. I won't link to the video of the play in which Floyd injured his head, but if you're the morbid type you're welcome to google up a classic example of an injury commonly referred to as "accordion neck." Ow.
- John Fox: Multiple finger blisters caused by furiously updating his resume on Sunday night. Officially listed as "probable" for the Titans matchup.
Eye On The Opposition: Remember The Titans?
It's been a while since Tennessee has been good.
If you're feeling glum about the number of years since our Bears have been to the dance, take some heart from the fact that at least recently, Titans fans have had it marginally worse.
Last time we saw the Titans in the mix, Kerry Collins was their starting quarterback.
I bet I made some of you feel old for knowing who Kerry Collins is, and made some of you confused because you weren't born when Collins rose to relevance.
And now the older crowd is scrambling to Google, because they could swear it wasn't that long ago that Collins started a Super Bowl, only to be disappointed because yes, you are that old - Super Bowl XXXV was in 2001.
But fear not geriatrics, Cap'n Kerry had a brief career second act with Tennessee in 2008. So while having a clear memory of the man's playing days technically qualifies you for an AARP card, it doesn't necessarily mean you should be collecting Social Security.
Nowadays, the Titans have a decent group of up/coming players including a good young offensive line and a guy who literally put "boogie boarding in Bali" on his bucket list. In case that tidbit hadn't clued you in, Titans QB Marcus Mariota is as Hawaiian as poi (the food that looks like root pudding, because it is).
Tennessee also has one of the top rushing attacks in the league, thanks to a bounce-back year from DeMarco "I Will Let You Cut Off A Toe In Exchange For A Trade Out Of Philadelphia" Murray.
This would have been a strength-on-strength matchup for the Bears, but frankly I don't know what this team is exactly following two weeks of constant injury and PED suspensions.
Kool-Aid (1 of 5 Rusty Nails)
I'm sticking with my "mixing multiple types of liquor" theme until the Bears play a brand of football that doesn't make me sad.
Plus, I'm currently bending rusty nails into a spare two-by-four in case I get angry enough to violently take out my aggressions on the television this week.
You can never be too prepared, right Bears coaching staff?
What's left of the Bears will plan to leverage their only remaining strength (their front seven) to slow the Titans' run game. If a second-year QB and the immortal Rishard Matthews end up beating the Chicago secondary, so be it.
Help may be on the way in the form of Kyle Fuller, who was officially taken off of the IR "Designated To Probably Return Maybe?" list earlier in the week.
As for the offense, yikes.
Matt Barkley is tabbed to start, so this has 8-24 with no TDs and a pick written all over it.
I'll say it again: Give the ball to Jordan Howard.
I know the Titans will put 10 men in the box until Barkley shows something, but a running game must be established at all costs if this is to be a game.
This is shaping up to be a defensive battle and unless the defense finally starts generating turnovers, I don't think the Bears have the firepower to push across more than 10 points.
A late score against a tired D sinks Chicago again.
Titans 17, Bears 10
About The Author
The Author isn't angry, he's just disappointed.
On second thought, no.
Carl Mohrbacher is our man on the Kool-Aid. He tolerates your comments.
Baffert is a serial cheat and oh, by the way, he also kills horses.Continue reading "TrackNotes: The Baffert Stakes" »
Posted on Jul 20, 2021