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.
fwiw, all the games are free on mlb.tv
Short rest for MadBum would be 2 days. WC game is Wed., Games 1 & 2 are Friday/Saturday.
A left-handed one...
lester going for #20...cubs haven't had a 20 game winner since d.ellsworth in 1963.
J-Hey not finishing with an offensive onslaught.
If Geoff Blum could be a Playoff hero, there is hope still...
Giants scare me. I think you're wrong about Bumgarner, he would pitch on short rest for Game 2 and then full rest for Game 5. Cueto would go Game 1, then short rest in game 4. Add in some really tough outs in that lineup and I want nothing to do with them. With that rotation they can easily steal a series.
Cards are a tough matchup. The rivalry evens out their comparable lack of talent. And like someone said, they love HRs, which is how to beat the Cubs. The upside is that I would feel really good about Lester twice against STL.
j.buchanan with a nice start...5ip 2h 1bb 3k, 0r/er
zobrist with 2HR and a double through 8
heyward 0-4 :(
Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales
Soler likely to return Sunday, Maddon says
Right now, I'd like to see the Mets first, Giants 2nd.
I believe that since most of the team from last years' NLCS is on the squad this year, they will really amp their game up even more to kick their ass in payback for 2015.
The Giants just do not have the depth in years past, and I think all things equal - and at Wrigley - they could handle them.
I do not want to see the Cards, period. Or their fans, media, or Joe Buck.
I don't want to play Braves in the first round. Any friggin team in the league can win 3 of 5..I hate the first round. Furthermore, I wanted to play the Marlins in 2003 and the Mets over Dodgers last year.
With that said in reverse order:
3. Cardinals: It will be devastating to lose in the first round, but even worse to their main rival. It is increased incentive for the Cardinals, especially after last year. Cards would have nothing to lose, Cubs have everything to lose.
2. Giants: Rotation in the playoffs scare me a bit, but what a lousy team.
1. Mets--because of the losses in the rotation
2. Giants--because they're not the team they were BUT they maybe have bullshit even-year magic?
3. Cardinals--because rivalry and not making the playoffs hurts them more than losing in the NLDS plus getting eliminated by them in the playoffs would make for horrible sports commentary next throughout next season.
CLE/DET rained out last night already, possible rain-outs in New York (vs. Baltimore), Boston(vs. Toronto) and Philly(vs. Mets) this weekend too.
Not only games involving playoff spots that would need to be played, but any that involve home field advantage.
I got the first one! Second one I'm not even sure what even/odd betting is.
any opponent preference for NLDS?
Mets are down to 1 great pitcher instead of 4. Syndegaard may pitch Sunday which means if Mets win the WC game, he'd be set up for Game 1. There's a chance they clinch a spot by Sunday so he'd pitch the WC and then we'd probably get Colon for Game 1. They've certainly had the hottest bats over the last week and month out of the WC options.
A couple of Cub related puzzles.