Postgame Thoughts: Bears vs. Packers (9.13.09)

September 13th, 2009 - 10:20 pm

On a night when nothing seemed to go right and everything appeared to go wrong, the Bears were fortunate that they only succumbed to a 6-point deficit.

I know the talk of Chicagoland Monday morning will be about Jay Cutler’s career-high 4-interception game.  Saying he didn’t play well would be an understatement.  Claiming he didn’t have much help would be an overstatement.

I won’t blame anybody but Cutler for his interceptions, but those who claim those turnovers are an indictment of his ability are sorely mistaken.  The buzz of the off-season was how poor the Bears’ receivers are and we clearly saw a disconnect between Cutler and them.  For a quarterback who was seeing his first full game action with a new team, it’s no wonder so many passes were picked off or nearly intercepted.  Cutler doesn’t know what his receivers are doing and they don’t know what he wants them to do.  Plain and simple.

I want to know why Cutler was slinging the ball around the field all game long in the first place.  I know he’s a solid quarterback who has great skills, but what happened to No. 22?  Why weren’t the Bears running the ball more and getting Matt Forte’s hands on the ball in the passing game?  They weren’t chasing many points, so it’s not like they had to play catch-up.

I guess it’s only fitting that Nathan Vasher was the player burned for the game-winning touchdown.  He’s a bum, he’s washed up, and I’m done with him.  We will never see the Nathan Vasher circa 2005 ever again.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Lovie Smith is the worst coach in the NFL at challenging plays.  He made two stupid challenges today, both of which, of course, failed and cost the Bears timeouts.  The first challenge moved the ball from the 4-yard line — following a Packers interception return — to the 1-yard line, which was the reverse effect desired. Granted, the Packers probably would have punched it into the end zone, regardless, but there was a chance the defense could have held them to a field goal instead.  The second challenge was a Hail Mary prayer.  Following an unthinkable “audible” from long-snapper Patrick Mannelly — who inexplicably changed a punt to a fake punt deep inside their own territory — Lovie tried to see if he could get the Packers flagged for 12 men on the field, but to no avail.

I can’t completely blame Lovie for the loss.  After all, he did a pretty good job of calling the defense against a Packers offense that is pretty explosive.  The defensive line played well and Adewale Ogunleye picked up two sacks.

I lost count of the amount of times left guard Frank Omiyale got beat by Cullen Jenkins.  That’s probably why the Bears couldn’t run the ball effectively.

The game wasn’t all bad.  I thought Mark Anderson had some nice plays as did Devin Hester.  Johnny Knox, active because Devin Aromashodu was out with an injury, made a nice catch and flashed more of his good potential.

I know that all of Chicagoland is up in arms right now.  That’s what you get when you put ridiculously high expectations on Cutler and the entire team.  But what concerns me the most is not the offense.  They’ll be just fine — not particularly great, but fine — as the season goes on.  I’m worried about the defense.  I’m not sure of the statuses of Pisa Tinoisamoa and Brian Urlacher, two of the Bears’ three starting linebackers who left the game early with injuries and did not return.  I’m not sure how much longer the Bears will leave Vasher in the lineup.  I worry about the young safeties, Kevin Payne and Al Afalava, making mistakes.

This loss surely stings.  Not so much because of how badly the team played, but because it’s a loss to the hated Packers and it’s a crucial division loss.  The defending champion Steelers come in next week, and after that, the Bears travel to the west coast for a tough road matchup against the Seattle Seahawks.  The Bears could be staring down the barrel of an 0-3 start to their season.

But haven’t we seen this script before?  Haven’t the Bears been down in past seasons only to fight their way back and have a shot at making the playoffs late in the season?  This year, it’ll be near-impossible to make the playoffs with a 9-7 record, though, so they’ll really have to string together a bunch of wins to avoid falling into a deep hole.

But the season is far from over, and things are definitely not as bad as they looked tonight.

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