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.
video of Maddon.
always nice that he actually tries to honestly answer questions. Does mention that he wanted to give Zastr? a chance in a meaningful spot rather than a mop-up role.
#Cubs Maddon: "I'm not going to make up an excuse for why I did what I did. It has nothing to do with lack of confidence" ... "It was the right thing to do today based on what I saw, what their lineup looked like and Rob Z.'s availability." #Cubs
Hammel not particularly understanding of getting pulled out...as he should. Be curious what Maddon had to say. All I can think of is is keeping arms fresh and maybe wanting to see if Zastr? is worth considering for the playoffs and how he'd do against the Dodgers.
Heyward, Russell, Baez, Bryant, Ross in particular...although Bryant's a bit hard to judge with all the positions.
Fowler and Rizzo in the top half of the NL for their positions as well (per fangraphs)...Zobrist right at the halfway cutoff for 2b in the NL.
I'm sure some luck is involved too, but the Cubs and Maddon knew what they were doing.
If all the starters have FIP > ERA, is that luck or good defense?
#Cubs plummet to 19-5 in August.
Fun with FIP
- J. Hammel 3.07 ERA/4.27 FIP (3.68 FIP last year)
- J. Arrieta 2.62 ERA/3.05 FIP (2.35 FIP last year)
- J. Lester 2.81 ERA/3.67 FIP (2.92 FIP last year)
- K. Hendricks 2.19 ERA/3.37 FIP (3.36 FIP last year)
- J. Lackey 3.41 ERA/3.72 FIP (3.57 FIP last year with Cards)
zastyryzryzryzny put in 3.2ip 1h 0bb 3k
he's great when his control is "on"...problem is it's rarely "on" consistently. he could vault up the cubs prospect list if he ever gets better with that aspect of his game.
JD's take was just trying to get in a lefty to better deal with mostly lefty Dodgers lineup.
My second thought was what you came up with. My first thought was he was trying to light a fire under Hammel.
Maybe he was trying to spare him another brutal road start? NY, Colorado...
joe got a pitcher up for hammel at nearly the 1st sign of trouble in the 3rd...pulled after 2.1
not injured and though it wasn't his day so far he wasn't looking like a pure disaster.
really short leash on him. zastryznzryzryny in.
Russell and Soler can attest that Urias has a pretty good curve/slider - two big strikeouts looking to get out of that jam in the first.
Classic Scully - great stuff.
Thank God we'll still have Hawk next season. (cricket cricket cricket)
Here's Scully's call on Bryant's 10th-inning homer:
"And it's a long fly ball, a mean fly ball, and a gone fly ball."
When the Cubs were the old, hundred-year Cubs, one bad hop did not undo their opponents.
If only he was clutcher. More clutcher.
cubs win...bryant with 7HR in his last 8 games.