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Bears did it Urlacher's way, and it wasn't very pretty

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That is what Brian Urlacher was talking about, right?

When he thinks identity and he thinks Bears' football, 38 carries and 18 passes is what he has in mind, isn't it?

Never mind, temporarily, that they were not particularly good when it came to executing in today's 17-9 victory over the St. Louis Rams. The Bears (5-7) entered on a four-game losing streak and they had lost six of seven. They needed a victory any way they could get it, and a win over the hapless Rams (1-11) will qualify.

Coach Lovie Smith talked about Bear weather, the cliche that is this time of the year, and referenced needed to run the ball. For the first week of December, I'd venture to say it was about as nice as you can expect it to be on a newly re-sodded field. But the Bears wanted to get their running game going against St. Louis' lousy run defense. Matt Forte finished with 91 yards on 24 carries, lost a fumble and danced around near the goalline. Kahlil Bell had 35 yards on 11 carries, so the rookie was less effective in his first extended look. The Bears totaled 120 yards, averaging 3.2 yards per carry against a defense that was allowing opponents to gain 4.75 yards per carry.

Cutler pushed the ball downfield early in the game. He hit Devin Hester for a 48-yard gain on the first play of the second possession. Then a shot to Johnny Knox in the end zone drew a 35-yard pass interference penalty to set up Forte's one-yard touchdown run.

Move to the Bears' third drive and on the third play Cutler hit Earl Bennett coming across the deep middle and he raced for 71 yards. Cutler was at his best throwing the ball downfield. That's what has been amiss in this offense of late. That is what the Bears seemingly could have worked more on in a game against an inferior opponent.

"Part of it was the way our defense was playing,'' Cutler said. "We didn't feel like we had to make big plays or throw the ball down the field.''

The defense did a pretty decent job. It held the Rams to three Josh Brown field goals, and the Rams converted only 2-of-14 third downs. But they still had the ball on the Bears' side of the field with a chance to score a touchdown and two-point conversion in the final minute and force overtime. So as much as the Bears believed they were in control, St. Louis was two plays away from overtime at the end.

The Bears won the game playing like they did when they had their old identity. Don't they need to be playing to their new identity, though, the one they haven't quite found yet? Urlacher might needed to be reminded that the Bears aren't going to be winning a lot of games with defense this season. The defense isn't very good, and there were some faces missing today.

Now for 10 quick (and some random) reactions coming out of the game:

1. Adewale Ogunleye continues to play well against bad opponents. He notched his team-high sixth sack going against Adam Goldberg, a journeyman backup type who was filing in for Jason Smith, the second pick in the draft who was out with a concussion. Ogunleye got two sacks vs. Green Bay's Allen Barbre, 2 1/2 against Detroit's Gosder Cherilus and this was his first full sack in eight games.

2. I don't blame Cutler for stalking the sideline after an official for a little bit, upset over a non-call when it appeared there was pass interference. The Bears have had a handful of those in recent games, and the calls are just not going their way. Sure, they got a big penalty on the Knox play in the first quarter, but it was blatant as could be. There were some other pass interference calls that probably should have been made. If they're not calling them, Cutler and the team has to lobby for them.

3. Nice to see Jamar Williams have a big game with 18 tackles, 13 of them solos, according to press box statistics. After coaches' tally up the action in film review, could he reach the low 20's? Anything is possible. Williams has been the heir apparent to Lance Briggs on a few occasions and he delivered in what was just his second career start. Williams has been super productive before. He made 12 tackles in the second half of a game vs. Dallas in 2007 when Lance Briggs was forced to the sideline with a pulled hamstring. Remember, Williams was in position to compete for the strong-side job coming out of the offseason program in June.

4. Imagine for a minute Rams running back Steven Jackson playing on a good team. Jackson battled a back issue all week and didn't practice and he came out and ran hard. He got 112 yards the tough way, on 28 carries, and he was carrying defenders with him for many of those yards. St. Louis has a little bit of a makeshift line going, but it's playing OK and Jackson is doing so much of the work by himself for that offense. Quarterback Kyle Boller is athletic and possesses a cannon, but the wide receivers are all inexperienced so the pressure falls on Jackson. The fear is--and Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo admitted as much--that when the Rams turn the corner to respectability, Jackson will be running on empty. Right now, he's a great workhorse back.

5. While Williams deserves the praise he received, I thought Kevin Payne had a decent outing at strong safety, the first time he has played there since last season. Granted, all praise needs to be tempered by the fact that they were playing the Rams, but Payne did a solid job. He was second behind Williams with eight tackles (seven solos) and he broke up two passes, including a diving effort to keep Donnie Avery from scoring a touchdown. That's the concern with Payne. He's a physical and rugged defender in the box. Questions remain on his coverage ability and instinct. He showed well.

6. In a Florida T-shirt and Florida cap, defensive end Alex Brown was catching some grief afterward about his Gators and their loss in the SEC Championship Game. I asked him about quarterback Tim Tebow crying and he said that shows how much it means to him. OK. Whatever. Then, I inquired about the near sack he had before Rams' left tackle Alex Barron rode him to the ground for a 10-yard holding penalty.

"I get a holding penalty, but that's a sack. I've got to get that sack,'' said Brown, who didn't but has four on the season. "That's an easy sack. I told [Barron] that. I don't get credit for a holding penalty. I get credit for sacks. I said, 'You've got to just let me get that one.' He was like, 'Nah, you can't get one.'"

7. Anyone else wondering aloud about defensive end Gaines Adams being inactive? Instead, the Bears had two backup interior offensive linemen dress--Josh Beekman and rookie Lance Louis. Why dress Louis ahead of Adams when Louis wasn't going to play? Could it have been the coaching staff sending a message to the front office about the trade? Probably not, but it's at least worth mulling over. Adams has barely played. The coaches remain high on him but it's pretty evident there just isn't going to be a spot for him out there this season unless some type of injury occurs.

8. I've been quick to point out that Smith's bunch has been undisciplined at times this season, so it's important and only fair to note that the Bears had only four penalties for 35 yards marked off against them. That, combined with a lot of running plays, made for a quick game.

9. I'm not going to go through the potential tiebreakers involved, but let's look at the race for the No. 1 overall pick. The Rams, Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are all stuck on one victory with four games to play. Let's handicap the race:

Cleveland (1-11). Remaining opponents: Pittsburgh, at Kansas City, Oakland, Jacksonville.
Comment: Back-to-back games with the AFC West has to give the Browns a real shot at a win. They played San Diego tough at home today.

St. Louis (1-11). Remaining opponents: at Tennessee, Houston, at Arizona, San Francisco.
Comment: The best chance for the Rams might have been today. They don't have the firepower to hang with the Texans most days, and the Niners will beat up on them.

Tampa Bay (1-11). Remaining opponents: N.Y. Jets, at Seattle, at New Orleans, Atlanta.
Cumulative record of remaining opponents: 26-29.
Comment: The best chance for a victory might have come and went today with a game at Carolina.

I'm not going out on a limb when I say it looks like the Rams and Bucs could battle it out in a tiebreaker at 1-15.

10. Fake field goal in the red zone with a 10-0 lead? Come on. That right there shows you how desperate the Bears are to improve their status in the red zone. The look was good--tight end Greg Olsen had room in front of him--but David Roach made a strong play by following Olsen in motion. He showed great instincts. The Bears should have taken the points for a 13-0 lead instead of resorting to trickery. Save a fake for a team with more talent, like Green Bay. Don't go to the bag of tricks against the Rams.

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15 Comments

I doubt Williams will be the Heir to Lance Briggs thrown, by the time Lance is done he will be about 34 and Williams will be about 30 a little late in the nfl to start your career. Weak side is a stat bumper in a 1 gap scheme, its the funnel position.
Thats why their have been so man ygood weak side LB's in the Tampa2.

That fake field goal was just one of those Classic Lovie Bears moments. I am a little lost as to what the draft has to d owith this game. Brad are you already looking forward to the Draft that the Bears will not be in on day one.

The things written about Gains Adams in Tampa tended to talk about his work ethic and many reports hinted that he had a big crush on a girl named Mary Jane. Seems like a message may have been sent to Adams. As for the trade for him, Lovie and Rod new about the trade and watched a lot of film on the guy according to Angelo and Lovie. They were looking at two defensive players and liked Adams the best, the other was rumored to be Gken Dorsey who is being misused in KC as an end in a 3-4. From what I gathered Lovie and Rod both wanted the trade.

I am surprised you didn't point out the Bears running total in the first half. I believe it was like 2 yards. If they try this against a team that can score and has a defense, the Bears are getting killed again. Then again as soon as a team gets a lead the Bears dump the running game, with good reason actually. The Bears will have their hands full with the Packers and Baltimore.

I think you must have missed when Lovie said before the game they could go 9-7 so he is bringing it up, not sure why though. He also invoked Bear weather like a moron. Cause Baltimore and Green Bay are the sunshine states.

They could get 7 wins this year with a little luck and the vikings not playing their starters.


Brad

Could you look back and see how the Bears have performed their first offensive position of the second half? It seems to me that they have not only not moved the ball on that possession the last few games, they have moved backwards. Rams -8 yards, Vikings -10+, Eagles -5+. What does that say about the team going out of the break?

Bears second round draft history under Angelo: 2002 - Roosevelt Williams and Terrence Metcalf both third rounders, 2003 - Charles Tillman, 2004 - Tank Johnson, 2005 - Danielle Manning and Deven Hester, 2007 Dan Bazuin, 2008 - Matt Forte, 2009 - traded down again, Jarron Gilbert and Juaqin Iglesias, 2010 - Gaines Adams in a trade. So, Angelo seems to miss as many or more, than he hits with second round picks. Nobody gets them all right, but the top two rounds have been very disapointing in the Angelo era IMO.

Urlacher is another over-paid big mouth who is now not needed on this team with the way Jamar Williams can play. Next summer put Briggs in the middle and keep Jamar on the weak side!.....Did Tommie Harris even show up yesterday? I know he was there because he jumped offsides again. That's the only time I heard his name. Dump him and his big contract!

How asinine do Cutler's comments sound about reining in the offense?

I am paraphrasing, but this is basically what he said, "Yeah, we got a lead and our defense was playing well, so, like, um, basically, we just geared down our offense."

The defense played well?

The offense needed to gear down? Like our offense has more than one gear?

What crap.

We go into this game with a host of "experiments" at various positions, but we don't want to keep experimenting with our offensive play calling?

Whew, yeah man, I mean we rolled up 248 total yards in this game. We should definitely rein in our offense. I mean the Vikes put up more yards in one half than we did in a complete game against a horrendous defense.

Good philosophy.

Turner must be saving all of the "higher gear" plays for the Packers, the Ravens and the Vikes.

I can't wait to see them rolled out.

I'll say it

The Coaching is horrible.

Great coaches find ways to use the talent they have to win games.

Bill Parcels.
Bill Billacheck
Jimmy Johnson
Vince Lombardi

Where is Lovie? Rank him as a coach, this is why he has to be fired.

At your job is you performed like he did would you be employed?

Thank you

I'm a Bears fan and I would like some evaluation based on the winning percentage of the Bears. I am not looking for a SuperBowl every year but I expect playoffs most years, NFC Championship and SuperBowl victories. I also expect a better draft and much better free agent signings. Do the Chicago Bears need new ownership?

New ownership would help BUT if they would be willing to pay off the contracts of the people they have and hire someone that really knows the "in and outs" of football that would help. You also need better players and their drafts will need to be better-you can't win them all but go in with that intention. Regardless of who the coach is this will not be an easy job because they may be in a battle with the ownership. Only time will tell.

I agree Kevin Payne did have a nice game. The sad thing is, Payne should have been the starter at strong safety from the get-go. I think he earned the job last season when he was leading the team in tackles from his strong safety position. I hope the coaching staff is smart enough to keep him in the starting lineup. Payne is the Bears best in the box run stopper. No, he doesn't have the range to play free safety, but he does have enough range for the strong safety position, he proved that yesterday and in the past. The guy seems to be around the ball a lot, not just as a run stopper, but as a pass defender, again, he's had quite a few pass breakups in the past when giving a chance to start. I hope Chicago keeps him in the staring lineup at strong safety, I think he's Chicago's best option at the position. The fact he was second in tackles yesterday, and always among the teams leaders in tackles when at the strong safety position proves he's the best guy for the job.

As far as the race for the #1 overall pick in this april's draft, I don't know who will get it, but I bet Notre Dame's Jimmy Clausen is pulling for the Rams to land the top spot. Think about it, the Bucs won't be in the market for a QB, they already have Josh Freeman who they like, the Rams on the other hand need a QB in the worst way to start in the rebuilding proccess. If the Rams get it, I'm betting Clausen will be their guy, just a hunch. I see Clausen is close to entering the draft also. I think Cincinnati's Tony Pike is this years Joe Flacco. Oh well, at least the Bears got their QB, and thats all that really counts in the end GO BEARS!!

Seedy your mad because the Bears won??? Seedy he threw a 48 yard pass to Hester, he threw what should have been a TD pass to Hester if Hester new how to drag his feet so that would have been another score and the Bears did something that nobody is talking about. They managed to open up some running holes but Forte didn't go through them very often, and he didn't turn the corner well either.

They did not run the football well at all, but a lot of that was on Forte. The Bears did the only thing they could do to win that game. You can be mad at Cutler but he doesn't call the plays, as for them experimenting with the play calling, this was a must win and their was no chance they were going to do that. What did you want Cutler to say? They have been playing with this offense all season and they know its bad. Look at the Vikings game, the Bears conceded 5 and 7 step drops to the vikings because they know they can't do them against any team with a real pass rush. Let me tell you the Bears were trying to get the running game going because they need it, they need it to help out Cutler and they need it for balance. Let me also tell you, they found something out, they are worse at running the ball than they thought and its not just the line. The Bears found out they are only a little better than a one demensional rams team whos best player was banged up, used a patch work O-Line and a backup QB. If the Rams were healthy they may have one this game.

So their has been a lot of talk about the Gains Adams trade here so I decided to look into it. Most of this is rumor and speculation by Tampa writers, but its pretty intresting.

Gains Adams was put on the spot at the begining of training camp in Tampa. He and his head coach did not get along at all. Adams was the underachieving DE number 4 over all pick of the Bucs. We all know that stuff right? Ok well this is were it gets intresting. Adams was going to be cut at the end of the season, if the Bucs couldn't find a trade partner. The Bears where looking at Glen Dorrsey when the Bucs contacted them about Adams. Angelo, Lovie and Rod sat down and watched a lot of game film on Adams and decided they really liked him. Angelo had been looking for D-Line help for this year, becuase the Bears have no pass rush. Can you imagine these three evaluating talent together. "I like his helmet its shinny" "Look how long his arms are" "I miss Tampa, me three"

Now this part is my speculation. Jerry didn't get Adams to be a project for next year, he got him hoping he would be the Mark Anderson of this year, 2006 version. They wanted to put him in ideal pass rush situations and thought he would excell at this. Angelo new Adams was going ot be cut at the end of the year, but went after him because they really need to generate a pass rush this year, so he over paid and gave a second round pick.

So basically Angelo, desperate for help on the D-Line because of his failed signings, trades and draft picks, just threw away a second round pick on a first round bust, even though he new he would be cut at the end of the season and could have been picked up cheap. HE GAVE AWAY A SECOND ROUND PICK FOR A GUY WHO WOULD HAVE BEEN CUT AND AVAILABLE AT THE END OF THE SEASON, SO HE COULD SIT ON THE BENCH AND DO NOTHING. First round busts were not good enough for Angelo. No he needed to find a way to actually aquire a proven first round bust and in the process give away a draft pick for no reason. He is now just throwing away draft picks so he can aquire bad players. Worst GM ever. I am waiting for him to extend Harris and Urlacher at the end of the season again.

Here are some observations:

Apparently Bears weather is now anything under 50 degrees.

The Bears game plan is clearly get a lead, any lead, and then take Cutler out of the game. We don't want our franchise QB to screw up our great running game. This coaching staff just doesn't get it.

Why is Tim Tebow allowed to put scripture on his eye black? I find that offensive. Would the school allow him to put "Allah Akbar" on his eye black, or something political? I think not. I'm tired of having Christianity shoved down my throat. I'm guessing Roger Goodell won't have it either.

Greylion, I agree. I think Angelo's pretty good at finding gems in late rounds. But as Creighton has noted, he is irresponsible with early picks.

That's why a strong-willed coach/gm like Shannihan should be brought in. Let Shanny handle the first 2-3 rounds and Jerry can fill in the rest.

I just wish posters would stop saying the Bears should eat Smith's and Angelo's contracts. Who do you think this is, Notre Dame?

It was good to see someone on defense actually wrap up on tackles and I have to say that Jamar Williams certainly did that on a consistent basis yesterday.

Payne did have a good game at Strong safety, although I really don't see the Rams as a team that did much to test his skills. Alfalava, was ok to at Free Safety, although Boller would not qualify as the most feared QB of all time, he looked worse than Burris.

I vote for the Rams to get the #1 pick in the draft against some pretty stiff competition the Browns and the Bucs.

Gaines Adams, Creighton, I truly respect your opinion on many things but I still think the jury should be out on Gaines Adams until after next year, 2010. The proof will be in the pudding and maybe he won't succeed but lets give him a chance until then.

Remember, Richard Dent was no stud until the Bears fixed his teeth so he could eat properly and become a pass rush phenom!! Dent for the Hall of Fame, no question.

P.S. I still vote for a new head coach and offensive coordinator, if anyone is counting votes I think Lovie and Turner would be toast.

Imagine for a minute Rams running back Steven Jackson playing on a good team. Jackson battled a back issue all week and didn't practice and he came out and ran
uggs outlet stores hard. He got 112 yards the tough way, on 28 carries, and he was carrying defenders with him for many of those yards. St. Louis has a little bit of a makeshift line going, but it's playing OK and Jackson is doing so much of the work by himself for that offense. Quarterback Kyle Boller is athletic and possesses a cannon, but the wide receivers are all inexperienced so the pressure falls on Jackson. The fear is--and Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo admitted as much--that when the Rams turn the corner to respectability, Jackson will be running on empty. Right now, he's a great workhorse back.
While Williams deserves the praise he received, I thought Kevin Payne had a decent outing at strong safety, the first time he has played there since last season. Granted, all praise needs to be tempered by the fact that they were playing the Rams, but Payne did a solid job. He was second behindugg outlet Williams with eight tackles (seven solos) and he broke up two passes, including a diving effort to keep Donnie Avery from scoring a touchdown. That's the concern with Payne. He's a physical and rugged defender in the box. Questions remain on his coverage ability and instinct. He showed well.

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on December 6, 2009 9:52 PM.

Bears GM Angelo pledges: "We will be better through this ordeal" was the previous entry in this blog.

Lovie deflects questions about Charlie Weis to the Bears is the next entry in this blog.

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