Bears-Buccaneers postgame thoughts

September 21st, 2008 - 3:57 pm

They blew it. They simply blew it. For the second straight week, they had control of the ballgame and they wrapped it up in gift wrap and presented it to the other team.

I don’t care about cliches. I know some people will say: “Coulda, shoulda, woulda, but didn’t”. I’m not going to listen to that and I’m going to say it anyway: The Bears could have and should have been 3-0 right now. Instead, because of their own volition, they’re 1-2 and staring down a possible 1-3 start to the “first quarter” of their season, as Lovie likes to call it, following next week’s game against the Eagles.

After the first half, I sent a text message to my brother saying, “Until Kyle Orton can make some plays downfield, the Bucs, and every other team, will stop Matt Forte and limit what the offense can do.”

And finally — finally — the Bears opened up the passing game in the second half and it started to resemble an NFL offense.

We knew the Buccaneers were going to try to stop the run and Forte only amassed 89 yards on 27 carries — a 3.3 average, which isn’t all that bad considering what we saw last year from the run game.

I was pleased with how Brandon Lloyd played in the second half, but was discouraged in overtime when Rashied Davis dropped a sure first down pass to kill the drive.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t bring up the Charles Tillman personal foul penalty in overtime after a failed third down play that gave the Buccaneers an automatic first down. But I want to stress two things:

  1. Yes, Tillman was a bonehead who shouldn’t have let his temper get the better of him. Players need to learn to just run off the field on third down and let the officials sort it out.
  2. With that said, it’s really tough to see Tillman get a penalty when one of the Bucs’ offensive linemen had pinned Adewale Ogunleye to the ground and was driving his forearm into either his neck or facemask — I couldn’t quite tell.

In the least, it should have been a double personal foul and offsetting penalties. For the officials to to alter the course of the game like that was just plain wrong. One of the unwritten rules of officiating is you let the players decide the game. And for the officials to alter the course of the game on a play in which players from both teams were pushing and shoving… it’s just plain wrong.

The defense looked tired at the end of the game as they were gashed on four consecutive drives: The final four Buccaneers drives were 12 plays, 11 plays, 10 plays, and 12 plays. You can’t win when you don’t get off the field sooner than that.

I’ve spoken about the offense and the defense, so now the special teams. I don’t think the Bears missed Devin Hester one bit. Danieal Manning had several solid returns to give the offense great field position and Nathan Vasher did a nice job returning punts and protecting the ball.

To recap, though, the Bears ultimately gave another game away, and you can’t expect to win games when you shoot yourself in the foot.