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.
trevor clifton (high-A) could be interesting in a couple seasons...could even become a high/middle rotation guy. he's got a lot of pluses in his pitching except control.
eric leal's (high-A) progression through the minors should be worth watching even if only projects to be an mid/end-rotation starter.
we also gotta keep a long-distance eye on guys like jose paulino (ss-A) and preston morrison (A).
As Johnny Bach used to say when it was time for the MJ Bulls to crank up the defensive pressure: "Release the Dobermans!", and Jordan, Pippen, Rodman and Harper would just suffocate the other team.
I'd love to add Carl Jr. to that group - he's got the stuff.
Historically, the Moneyball guys have been great at identifying productive hitters. Not so much with pitchers.
Wow - Pierce Johnson with an ERA of 8.01 in 42IP!
What a stud prospect! Must be pitching with a pierced johnson.
Looks like Ryan Williams is the only legit prospect there. That is sad...
Well it would seem that's all they need now. "Stropy" can have his moments, but he's been more consistent post-asg.
Take THAT, Cardinals -- you beat Fernandez, we beat Sale.
I really like Lackey as a 6-inning pitcher.
Three amigos? Because the Dominican, the Venezuelan, and the Cuban?
Maybe the three-headed dragon?
Who says Contreras can't frame? Stone cold robbery of Eaton with that called third strike for the first out in the eighth
Three amigos time?
he should hit more of those. that would be an ideal outcome. /moneyballs
Russell with 19 RBI in July so far. Grand Slams help.
...and Familia with back-to-back blown saves. Blows a one-run lead vs. Rockies today, gets his 2nd consecutive loss.
I am OK with the Mets missing the playoffs and suffering crushing losses at home --- just want them to beat St. Louis.
He played with fire twice agains the Cubs -- unfortunately, the Cubs couldn't stop swinging.
How about Kyle Farnsworth? I know he was consistently upper 90s.
If he puts up Soriano numbers I will be ecstatic
I think Javy is learning--but he's learning to make contact, not learning to lay off pitches out of the zone. A quick glance at his plate discipline numbers on Fangraphs shows that his contact rate is up, especially his contact rate out of the zone, but his swing rate is up too, especially his swing rate out of the zone.
I definitely saw ballpark radar guns go up to 102 on Kerry Wood back when he was still a starter, but who knows how accurate they were.