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Blue: As far as this Bear fan can tell, you can't be better than 3-0. The Detroit game was won via a dumb move by an amazing talent. The second game needed a truly poor performance by Eastern Illinois' finest, Tony Romo. Monday night's victory required an amazing 18 penalties by the Packers, a blocked kick, Devin Hester's first return of a punt since 2007, and a forced fumble by Brian Urlacher on the final Pack drive. How long can we keep up winning based on the other teams' mistakes? Who cares? As I said earlier, you can't better than 3-0.
Other than Jay Cutler throwing a perfect tight spiral interception to the Packers' Derrick Martin in the end zone, the offense looked good enough. The Mike Martz system still seems a bit of a mystery at times to the WR corps, the running game is woefully absent, and the offensive line still seems to be hell-bent on finding out if Cutler is tougher than Chuck Norris. On the positive side, though, the offense was able to move the ball when needed. Greg Olsen might be a top-5 tight end in a system that supposedly has no place for a tight end and the wide receivers are showing that you need no true No. 1 when you have four No. 3s. Think about it: If you have a No. 1, 2, 3 and 4 wide receiver, you add up to 10. If you have four No. 3s, you add up to 12. Jerry Angelo might be on to something.
The defense must have slept well on Monday night, with the Packers holding the ball more than 35 minutes in the game. In the words of Jon Gruden, "They played a lot tonight!" Bend but don't break is not just a style, it's a way of life to this D. But, time of possession is a worthless stat when you can't score. Yes, Aaron Rodgers went through the Bears defense like a chainsaw through water on a number of drives, but we stopped the Pack from scoring enough times to win with 20 points. It's painful to watch this team give up so many yards to opposing offenses, but somehow they were able to pull off the big play (Urlacher/Briggs combining for a strip that miraculously didn't go out to bounds before Tim Jennings corralled the rock) when it looked like Rodgers was just getting the chainsaw blade good and sharpened.
This team isn't going to make anyone forget the 1985 Bears (hallowed be thy name) just yet, but as the only undefeated team in the NFC, who isn't happy to see wins instead of losses? Though the O line likes to see if they can get their QB killed, we're basically injury-free (Major Wright should return soon, and Frank Omiyale is playing better than Chris Williams at LT, though it's not saying much) and can only get better as the defense finally finds a way to push some pressure with the front four, the run game gets off the bus and the Martz system will sink into the heads of these college-educated wide receivers.
But the Bears played hard, did what had to be done when it had to be done, and are 3-0. As far as I can tell, you can't do better at this point in the season than beating everyone you play.
Week 4: Bears at Giants
Though I do not profess to know much about the Giants beyond the fact that their coach looks a lot like my wife's crazy Uncle Marvin and that the media is always dying for them to be strong so they can fawn all over a New York team, I'm still going Bears. If we play just well enough on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, keep the perfect passes to the opponents down to a bare minimum, and keep forcing turnovers and idiocy, we go to 4-0. My totally uneducated prediction: Bears 28, Giants 21.
On a personal note: Raise your hand and strangle the dog if you wanted to go through your TV set on a dozen or more occasions to attack Gruden. Although there were occasional comedic sides to his ridiculousness - "He (Lance Briggs) and Urlacher love to penetrate" - the fawning about Clay Matthews being such a great player on a play in which he got called for a face mask on a play that made my neck hurt was more than over the top. It's a good game I'm watching; spewing superlatives to describe each player/coach/training staff member/beer vendor either on the field, in the locker room or on the inactive list doesn't make it a greater game. It just makes me want to kill you.
Orange: Students of Lovie Smith's algebraic philosophies will note that through the first three quarters of the first quarter of the 16-game 2010 season, the Second City squad is 3-0.
This coaching regime has practiced some fuzzy math over the years involving individual statistics (Brian Urlacher will likely be awarded 26 individual tackles once the Bears review the game film) and have deviated greatly from their chosen "run first" formula, but with a 100% success rate, one has to ask: Have the Chicago Bears calculated a vector for victory?
Considering the following statistics from Monday's win over the Green Bay Packers, past performance may not necessarily indicate future results.
* Green Bay recorded three sacks and six quarterback hits. Jay Cutler is tough, but he cannot continue to remain effective while taking this kind of beating.
* The Pack committed a franchise record 17 penalties, 12 of which were in the second half, including a touchdown-nullifying holding call and a defensive pass interference call that negated an interception in the red zone.
* Cutler led the Bears by running (for his life) for 37 yards. Half backs Matt Forte and Chester Taylor combined for 38 yards
Stepping outside the motif of the absolute for a moment (mainly because the official statistics in this category have not become available at the time of writing), the Bears missed a lot of tackles on Monday night; almost certainly a byproduct of coaching. Lovie Smith has a burning desire to create turnovers and likely instructed his defense to focus on stripping the football, leading to numerous botched arm tackles.
Let's wrap up our math portion of the Football SAT study guide with some example questions:
"Positive turnover differential" is to "wins" as "missed tackles" are to . . .
c) sore arms
d) b and c
Flip over your monitor for the answer and a lobster shaped maze!
If a train leaves Chicago bound for New York on Tuesday with 53 players in first place, each with their confidence flying at 30,000 feet and a city's expectations running a million miles per hour, how many wins will this 3-0 franchise have in 6 days?
The answer is . . .
Week 4: Bears at Giants
. . . 3.
The Giants are not a good football team, but they are desperate, they are at home and they are playing a Bears team that simply cannot continue to defy the odds. Look for Eli Manning to save the Giants' season by connecting early and often with wide receivers Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham. The porous Bears offensive line will not be able to contain an overrated but reasonably talented Giants pass rush and Cutler will spend much of his evening in New York on his rear. Giants 20, Bears 17.
Andrew Golden brings you the Blue half of this report every week; Carl Mohrbacher brings you the Orange. They welcome your comments.
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