Chicago Sun-Times

Keys and concerns from Sunday's victory over the Panthers

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The Bears broke a two-game losing streak by holding on to beat the Carolina Panthers 34-29.

But in my post-game video I break down the keys and concerns.

You can hear a fuller explanation by checking out the video. But, here's the CliffNotes version.

My keys: the domination of the Bears special teams and the ability of the Bears to -- finally -- establish the run.

My concerns: the defense getting ripped for 543 net yards, both on the ground and through the air, and inability of the offense to get receivers involved. The longest pass play of the game was a 22-yarder to Johnny Knox, who "led" his team with 48 receiving yards.

I also look ahead to the Monday night game against Detroit... against the 4-0 Lions.

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17 Comments

Your keys and concerns are spot on (especially the defense ... they're terrible). But, I'll throw in one more big concern. Cutler's accuracy is also terrible and that's even when he has plenty of time.

I know it sounds crazy when you say one player will really help a defense, but they need Chris Harris. Meriweather is terrible, a pure gambler with no instincts or discipline. A head hunter, looking for a big hit and that's about it.

It won't help the pass rush, Newton had all day on a lot of throws and when he didn't they still couldn't get to him.

The Oline deserves some credit even as bad as the Panthers are at stopping the run they still did their jobs. What surprised me is that, you would think with that much running going on the pass blocking would have improved. It did not, even for a team not passing they still gave up pressure.

I am really surprised the Panthers gave them this much trouble, with all the running, great ST play, and a pick 6, you would think blowout. I mean 21 points for the ST and D, (see what I did there?) 200+ rushing yards and you gotta think blowout against the Panthers. But no, they were in it all game and in fact outside of a few really stupid mistakes, they could have easily won. Don't kick to Hester, how stupid was that? Not just a kick but a line drive kick. The Shockey penalty, keep your hands to yourself, it didn't help him.

Martz figured out for one game that it's good to run, lets see how long that lasts. Plus what was up with some of those play calls on the few passing downs they did? Take out the screens and how many real passes did they even try?

The Defense has had 3 bad games in a row, and the Panthers are not an elite offense. The yare not bad, but not like the Packers or Saints.

Finally some people think Woos Welker is tougher than Steve Smith, he isn't. Not by a long shot Sean, umm I mean some people.

Oh my, there you go again Sean with all your gosh darn negativity. Let me show you how its done by the best in the business yes I'm talking about the one, the only, Larry Mayer. From Chicagobears.com-

"The Bears scored touchdowns on offense, defense and special teams in the first half and rode a powerful running game to a 34-29 victory over the Carolina Panthers Sunday at Soldier Field.

After being limited to a career-low two yards a week earlier against the Packers, Matt Forte rushed for a career-high 205 yards and one touchdown on 25 carries to help the Bears (2-2) snap a two-game losing streak."

Oh my his words touch me in special places. I will stil ty to petition the Nobel committee to consider Mr. Mayer for the prize in Literature as their is no one more deserving.

Must say I am starting to think Cutler is going the way of David Carr...which is ashame as he has sooo much talent and when he is on he is alot of fun to watch...the hits have taken their toll... JA should be totally embarrassed by the oline he has assembled...their play ranges from hot garbage to mediocre at best... Cutler was big fun to watch at vandy and at Denver.. His last year there I remember him throwing for like 450 against Cleveland..completely unstoppable... The guy gets to the bears and they ruin him.. It has been 3 years! Can we finally get an oline ?!?!

Oh ya... Roy Williams is a total clown!

not impressed with this win!

the secondary is awful!! steve smith torched us again
8 catches for 181 yards!! defense is looking old with no pass rush at all

im hoping for the best but its looking tough against the lions and for the rest of the season.. may be rebuidling time

Achilles defense is old and they have been old for the last 2-3yrs. "It may be rebuilding time" it was rebuilding time 4 years ago. ja thinks that he is the smartest football mind out there and hires people who will tell him this. Until ja and company go and ownership brings in a real football man this is the crap we will be seeing.

A win is a win, but I have to agree that getting too excited about the Bears at this stage would be unduly optimistic. A more balanced attack is the thing to strive for. It seems the Bears either only pass or only run. Of course you emphasize the stuff that's working until the opponent's defense figures out how to stop you, but a few more passes would have helped and perhaps could have led to a blow-out. The defense smelled up the place allowing that much yardage against them. Newton did that to the Packers as well, but the Bears' strength is supposed to be their defense while it is the Packers' primary weakness. I'm looking forward to the Atlanta-Packer game and hope The Falcons can fly.

I don't think Cutler's completion percentage is a concern as far as Cutler is concerned. I am no apologist, but I watch the games very closely, sometimes twice.

BEARS WIDE RECEIVERS DO NOT FIGHT FOR THE BALL.

BEARS WIDE RECEIVERS DO NOT GET SEPARATION

BEARS WIDE RECEIVERS DO NOT RUN CLEAN ROUTES

BEARS OFFENSIVE PASS PROTECTION IS HORRIFIC

That's the problem. Jay can't get better in a 5-7 step drop, timing offense if pass rushers are coming unblocked on every play.

It is a joke that Cutler takes ANY criticism. The OL SUCKS!!! The WR corps SUCKS!! Jay's completion percentage is driven by broken-up passes due to poor separation, routes, and the WR inability to fight for the ball.

See: Miles Austin, Cavin Johnson, Wes Welker, Vernon Davis, Steve Smith, Brandon Marshall, and the entire WR corps for the Green Bay Packers. The list goes on and on.

The Bears have no go-to guy. Period.

I don't care how many or few sacks the Panthers had. NO QUARTERBACK CAN FIND A RHYTHM WITH 300 POUND HGH, STEROID FUELED LINEMEN BREATHING DOWN THEIR NECK ON EVERY PLAY.

That's not an excuse. That's how it is. If you can't see that, you're not watching the games, just reading the stat lines on the web.

It was the same for Rex and Kyle. The OL and WR woes are solely the fault of Angelo, and if they don't improve, he should probably be shown the door.

Interesting ball game to watch yesterday. BEARS did run the ball well, and for most part o-line was solid. I do believe we have saeen the last of Omiyale in the line-up, the guy has just gotten worse not better and his play in the second quarter was despicable. I think he may be cut once Carmini gets back, yes it would hurt us some from the standpoint of the swing tackle, but Louis was solid from what I saw out there in the game. These guys like to push the pile, we will get a real test for the o-line on Monday in Detroit, but I liked the way they played, and they kept Cutler relatively clean this week.

Defense on the ohter hand is a bit of a concern, Creighton I'm not down on Merriweather like you are, thought he was late on the Smith catch, but that was because he bit on the Cam Newtoin pump fake and this was just after they got the 1st pick, I think he thought they had the rookie rattled. He's taking chances yes, but somebody needs to for this defense to take the ball away. Lovie must have given up on Bowman he's getting little or no run, Jennings is the better tackler, but Bowman can make plays on the ball, and if we are not going to play him, then we need to be bringing someone else in who can compete for time at the corner. This defense needs at least one corner who can play solid in man-to-man to help the scheme, teams are throwing the balll to the open area after the corner releases they need to run with the reciever more to prevent this from happening down the field.

Monday night is not critical, but a WIN would be huge....Martz keep your running hat on, and find a way to not be up by 20 points in the first half to give the Lions life.....Go Bears

We like our guys, Joe Thomas or Jake Long would be a backup on this team. Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, Dez Bryant, and every reciver in the nfl would not even make or roster, we are that good. Our guys are the best and would never want any of those guys, how many recievers had two TD's like Hester did yesterday, that's right two TD's and he didn't even need a hand off or a guy passing him the ball to do it. The ball magically falls from the sky into his hands, who else can say that?

I am also here to defend the D-Line they are pressure incognate, Henery Melton makes John Randle looks like a sissy. Peppers fits the scheme perfectly, and those others guys have got plenty of sacks.We easily have been the best defense I have ever coached.

You heard of the Monsters, and the Black and blues brothers, but I want you to meet my new defense the "Cheese Graters" I intend to get one next time I am in Wisconsin, mmmm mmmmm cheese, I love Wisconsin. The next time we see the Packers, they will see us, they will see Navy Blue, they will see our players, we will be on the field, we will get off and on the bus running. We will pass, we will run, we will play defense, and in the end the game will be over.

If it's hard to tell that is my idea of smack talking

"It is a joke that Cutler takes ANY criticism"

Whoa, take it easy on the Kool-aid there, esteven. Yes, it's hard to figure out who sucks more, the OL or the receivers, but Cutler has had opportunities that he's blown, and I'm not just talking about the Panthers game. Overthrows have been an issue all season and last season, as well. Underthrows are an issue too. A lot of his completions this year come from the receiver having to reach back for the ball. Some of that is due to the 300 pound steroid monster you mention, and some of it is due to Cutler. That's just the facts.

And let me point out that I am pro Cutler. I want him to be successful, but he is looking like a medicore qb this year, and it's not 100% the fault of Knox and Omiyale.

My point is, when the starting QB has arguably the worst pass protection in the league, and arguably the worst recieving corps (at least bottom 5), it is nearly impossible to criticize his performance unless you measure it against QBs with like-talent running the same system - OR you have access to coaches film.

And that doesn't exist for either of us.

You can't even compare Jay to Aaron Rodgers, who has been in the west coast offense 6-7 years, with stable pass-protection, a stable running game, and one of the best wide receiving corps EVER assembled on a single team. Additionally, most of the players on that offense have also played in the same system for multiple seasons.

It is apples and oranges.

One could compare Cutler to Kurt Warner, who ran the Martz offense in St. Louis with Orlando Pace at LT (Hall of Famer), Isaac Bruce at WR (Hall of Famer),Tori Holt (Pro Bowler), and Marshal Faulk at RB (Hall of Famer).

How many "Hall of Famers" is Cutler playing with in that offense? Any pro-bowlers?

Mediocre season you say?

What is your basis for comparison?

How can you even measure Cutler's performance when he can't run the offense the way it's supposed to be run?

Don't fall into that trap of the ESPN stat line, fantasy league, Trent Dilfer QBR nonsense, that tries to rate all of the QB's as if they were running the same team with the same players - no man - that's not really how it works. There are QBs in the NFL playing football with almost no help in completely different systems.

It's like my family members from the bay area that cry about the Niners not taking Aaron Rodgers instead of Alex Smith. Is Rodgers a better QB? Yeah. Would Rodgers have done ANYTHING successful in his career with 7 different offenses in 7 years, no offensive line, and 5 different head coaches? Don't make me laugh.

I'd also like to add that the Martz system relies on recievers and linemen doing their job more so than the New England spread offense and the West Coast systems we see around the league.

Your comment: "..and it's not 100% the fault of Knox and Omiyale."

If the WR AND the OL are not doing their jobs, it is 100% their fault. That's the passing game! Someone has to block and someone has to catch the ball.

Is Jay supposed to throw it to Forte and himself? Maybe they could take turns blocking for each other too!

You clearly don't understand the complexities of the system Martz is running and how it compares to other offenses in the league.

I'm nost saying Jay is a perfect QB, or that he is totally beyond reproach, BUT, it is extremely difficult to criticize him when he's trying to run a system that CLEARLY relies heavily on OL and WR support - and the Bears DO NOT HAVE ADEQUATE PERSONNEL IN THAT REGARD.

Sorry for caps. I'm just all wound up. I do appreciate your points. Go Bears.

The Bear management is total inept I couldn't understand the reason for bringing Martz in here from the beginning. Cutler is not a Matrz like QB the team is not a Martz like team it's square pegs for the round holes. Angelo has no clue is the personel dept. There are a few stop gaps in the free agent lineman pool, Starks got a look see in Minn. On the senior circuit Flozell Adams is out there he's old but he's still better than Williams, Starks is better the Omiyale. You sold out to get Cutler now he's shell-shocked. Consistant 3 and outs have exposed a old defense and now we know why NE dumped a undisciplined Merriwether. T.O. will be ready to play at bye time bring him in at 35 he still put up more yards than out top reciever even if he plays just third downs he is more than we have finally lets get Martz out of here install Tice who is used to play-calling prepping him to take over the team next season get Lovie out of here also. I beleive the fountdation staff of Tice, Marinelli and Toub would be a good start Then let's draft and approach free agency with a mission to get rid of all Angelo/ Lovie Smith influence and scheme. All the effcient defenses have a run stuffer that needs two to block him we don't but were light and fast on a slow surface getting blown off the line of scrimmage with regularity. Well I'm done my scattered thoughts are out there now.

Hey, don't worry about the caps. Passion is a good thing.

To be clear I wasn't comparing Cutler to Rodgers or anyone else. I was simply stating that his accuracy needs to improve, which I stand by. Yes, there are a lot of things working against him, but sometimes those things work the way they're supposed to and Cutler doesn't make the throw (or hangs on to the ball too long). He needs to get better at that.

As for his medicore season, my basis for that is his play on the field. Look at the Panthers game and tell me Cutler was anything but average. He made some plays, overthrew some people, and threw a couple picks (one called back). That's pretty average (at best), and he wasn't running for his life like in past games.

Again, I like Cutler, and I agree with you that the Bears have not set him up for success, but he has plenty of room for improvement.

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on October 2, 2011 8:46 PM.

Bears 'still have work to do' after win over Panthers was the previous entry in this blog.

Devin Hester sets NFL record with 11th punt return TD is the next entry in this blog.

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