Posted on: October 2, 2010 3:01 pm
First off, while their performance in Green Bay was far from ideal, the Bears won the game in what I feel was a fairly convincing manner. Many people seem to be suggesting that the Packers "lost" that game rather than that the Bears "won." While I agree that Green Bay didn't play to the best of their ability and made some key mistakes, thats what happens in football. You could probably make a case for almost any close loss to comedown to mistakes on the losing side. I understand the Bears' reputation, and I realize that makes it alot easier to refrain from giving credit when it's due, but I would encourage the dubious to look a little closer at how the Bears won this game.
Myth: The Bears barely skated by in a 3 point victory
The Bears, down 10-0 in the 1st quarter, with Cutler already sacked 3 times and having thrown 1 int, rallied to outscore the Packers 20-7 for the rest of the game. Cutler (playing without stariting LT Chris Williams ) would not be sacked after the first minute of the 2nd quarter, nor would he throw any more ints (I'll cover the pseudo-picks later). The Packers had the ball 10 times, the Bears 9. If you disregard Rodger's Hail Mary interception drive, as well as the lateral-laden last play of the game, the Packers had 8 "real" possesions. While they certainly outplayed the Bears early, the Pack's 5 "real" drives after gaining a 10-0 lead look like this compared to the last 5 times the Bears had the ball (Disregarding the Hail Mary possesion and the last play of the game):
Pack: Punt, Blocked FG (got to the CHI 16), Punt, TD, Fumble
Bears: TD, Turnover on downs (got to the GB 2), TD (return), FG, FG
I'm not saying the Bears dominated, I just think that the Bears are not being credited nearly enough. Chicago dominated on special teams. Their defense was solid and forced a decisive takeaway.The offense was a little shaky early but ended the half strong and came through on crucial game-tying and game-winning drives.
Myth: The Bears got lucky, and won, thanks to crucial Packer mistakes
It has been suggested that missed opportunities, such as the touchdown called back for holding, the blocked field goal, and the fumble in the 4th quarter are why the Bears won. I would somewhat agree. What isn't as mentioned is a dropped 4th and goal touchdown by the Bears and Gould's missed 49 yarder (long, but makeable.) If a Packer fan can say they'd have won without that holding call is like saying the Bears would have won big had Dez Clark not dropped a touchdown. Both teams failed to convert crucial touchdowns due to mistakes by single members of personnel. Green Bay was as "lucky" that the pass was dropped as Chicago was "lucky" that Peppers drew a hold. These, to me, seem to offset, as do the missed and blocked field goals. If anything, the Bears' missed kick and dropped touchdown were the unforced errors (Gould's kick was wide right and Dez let it slip through his hands), whereas the Packers' aforementioned holding call and block kick were at least forced (both by Peppers, man is a beast). The logic that says the Packers almost won 24-20, also co``uld say the Bears almost won 27-17. The 4th quarter fumble was forced by future Hall-of-Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher , and if that was pure luck then you can pretty much call any decisive play in football (or in sports) luck.
Myth: Jay Cutler performed poorely, and should have thrown a few ints
This is not a Jay Cutler vs. Aaron Rodgers debate. At this point in his career Rodgers is better. He's actually quite amazing and impressive. Packer fans have alot to be excited for. That's not to take away from Jay Cutler. Yes, he's a gunslinger. But anybody who has watched the Bears this year (or even just the last game) has to agree that the man is a warrior. Watch the last two first quarters for the Bears. He has gotten absolutley lit up. But he has hung tough the rest of the game, both times overcoming an early deficit to win the game against speculated contenders. Anyone who can't see positive change with Cutler in this Martz system isn't watching closely. Cutler's first int, on the 2nd drive of the game, was inexcusable.. I haven't yet figured out whether it was miscommunication or just a (massively) errant throw. But the "non-picks"? Both ints that were reversed due to penalties were the right call by the referees, and both times the penalties clearly caused the interceptions. Helmet to helmet contact as Cutler throws, and blatant pass interference, were obviously the reason for said "non-picks", yes the second was a little underthrown, but I don't see that as a pick if there isn't prison yard football going on in the secondary. As far as dropped ints I didn't see any sure-fire interceptions dropped, though if I missed that I apologize. Green Bay is credited with 3 pass deflections to the Bears' 4.
Phew thats enough for now, I'd love to discuss and debate any points though so feel free. Also I know this was fairly light on statistical analysis, and humor, but I really needed to get this off my chest before working on more unbiased (I'm from Chicago) blog entries.