The Bear Truth: Saints Came Marching In
A tough week for the Bears against a tough opponent...
The Good: The Bears were very much the equal of the Saints for first 35 minutes of game time. And then Cutler got blindsided (thanks Kellen Davis), fumbled and then like a boxer with a cut over his eye, the Bears methodically got pummeled into submission by the Saints the rest of the game. But they were within a score at halftime, the Bears defense got a three and out, the offense got it within a field goal, got another three and out by the defense before the aforementioned fumble and second half ass-whooping.
Matt Forte played like a man on a mission (for a new contract), busting tackles and (sadly) showing that he's the best receiver on the team. And even though he accounted for 90.5% (rough estimate) of all the good things the Bears did on offense, it didn't feel like they called his number quite enough, what with just 10 rushing attempts while Cutler was running for his football life on just about every passing attempt.
The Bad: The Bears defensive philosophy is to make teams try and drive down a long field, counting on forcing a mistake or keeping them to field goals. That means no 79-yard throws over the safety for scores. To the Saints credit, that was a perfect throw in stride by Brees to Henderson, a ball that Cutler either overthrows or Hester drops. It wasn't make or break, but certainly turned the momentum for the Saints at that point of the game. Still they gave up 30 points on the day and that's without the Saints even trying in the fourth quarter, although one TD was on a short field after the Cutler fumble. Not a terrible perfomance, but they've certainly done better versus this very same team and same offense.
As for Cutler, let's just get the excuses out of the way. The wide receivers and offensive line are still as horrible as ever. The receivers do a poor job of getting separation (Aikman commented on it a few times if you don't want to believe me) and then drop passes right in their goddamn hands for first downs. The offensive line acts like stopping a blitz is something you consider doing only if you're in the mood.
That being said, Cutler made poor decisions and flat out poor throws throughout a lot of the game, sometimes under pressure, sometimes not. It certainly wasn't his best effort as a Bear.
The Ugly: It might not have been so close if not for two rather generous calls in the first half. The Saints got nailed for a roughing the passer that kept the Bears first TD drive alive. A play where the defender was flagged for driving Cutler to the ground, but it appeared to be as clean a hit as you could have made. The following drive, the Bears clearly nailed the Saints receiver after he stepped out and the Bears didn't get flagged. Gabe Carimi could be out for a month with a dislocated knee. Two games in and Mike Martz is back to his 90/10 passing to run split(also a rough estimate) that Lovie had to slap him out of last year.
Big division game versus the Packers next week, where Cutler will undoubtedly be running for his life against the backdrop of about 35 stories of the NFC championship game last year and his lack of "courage" or whatever inappropriate terminology Fox will use.
When we played the Reds with Chapman, I always thought of it as an eight-inning game. So now other teams have eight innings to try to get a lead against the Cubs. Should be a challenge, assuming three or four Cubs ever start hitting again.
I don't really try to get to know and like these players personally. I'm rooting for laundry, for the most part. Exceptions might be when a player makes trouble in the clubhouse or in the dugout. (Zambrano and Bradley come to mind. Also Papelbon.) But I don't think Chapman is one of those jerks.
Unfortunately, a pretty good summary. It looks like next year Heyward will be getting yet another batting stance adjustment.
The recent good news has been Baez. I'm afraid about the next league adjustment on him, though, which is probably right around the corner.
Bryant I don't worry about too much. Just not seeing the ball well right now. He'll turn it around. Russell's been good with men in scoring position all year and he's 22ish. He'll be fine but next year is likely to be his breakout year.
If Travis' back-to-back-to-back walks cost Hendricks the ERA title, that would really suck.
Edit: "A lifeless loss to a lousy Sox team."
This place is a real downer after a loss to the Sox.
I expect they will go 5-9 games above .500 the rest of the year. 96-98 wins will win the Division.
They should have one more 2-3 week hot streak in them.
However, several players are just "average" for the last month: Zobrist, Ross, Russell, Ceasar. Montero is terrible, plus he cannot throw anyone out. -WAR. Heyward is abysmal at the plate, but a plus in the OF. Still with RISP he has been terrible. KB has not been driving in runs as of late. But Apparently the team is still above average with RISP according to S Sahadev.
I came to that realization tonight. I kept expecting them to play better, but now I realize they aren't going to. They are a .500 team now.
- They have one reliable starting pitcher. Jake's magic is gone, and it doesn't look like it's coming back. Lester has been lousy recently. Lackey's ERA goes up every time he pitches.
- Heyward has been dead weight all year. I can't remember a single series where he was a significant offensive contributor. Not one. Great defense, but but if he were hitting .270 with 10 HR and played average defense, the Cubs would be better off.
new rule...no one's allowed to throw k.bryant a changeup
Team is .500 since early May and is playing like a .500 team. Lack of offense seems to be putting a lot of pressure on the pitchers...and they aren't handling it terribly well.
.500 the rest of the way still may win the division though.
...i hate espn.
nothing like settling into a cubs game to get a few minutes cutaway for an ortiz AB in the 6th inning of the det/bos game.
oh, at least they're doing split screen now...i guess.
I'm liking this rookie Nathan.
Richard DFA'd. Meh...
Throwbacks with fashionable cutouts would be a nice touch.
The next 2 games are nationally televised. I think we dominate tonight, hitting 3 HRs off Shields. Great night for KB to end HR drought facing HR prone pitcher in one of the most hitter friendly parks in the league.
If the ball didn't deflect off the pitcher's mound, the game wouldn't have ended. Montgomery did miss his location though, but if that same contact was made and went in any of direction, good chance of ground out if it doesn't get through.
If it was 1 night later, Chapman would be out there and we probably would be going to extras.
Also, If KB wasn't robbed of a HR, perhaps we would have won. We will never know. Nice play by Melky though.
The comparison isn't Chapman replacing Rondon. It's Chapman replacing Richard (hopefully) in the pen. Chapman's better.