Hibernation for the Winter

January 24th, 2011

I spent a fair amount of time over the past week thinking about what to post here about the upcoming Bears game against the Green Bay Packers.  Game of the ages, 182nd meeting, hype, hype, hype.  I just couldn’t think of anything to write that would add at all to what was out there.

There was a lot of good stuff out there.  There were lots of articles rehashing the same bunch of player memories from the rivalry.  There were the obligatory Chicago kid who played in Green Bay, and the Wisconsin kid who played for the Bears.  There was even a clip, on the Bears website, from the 1941 playoff game.

But now, it’s over.  The game has been played and the tension and energy has been sucked out of Chicago, and this displaced Chicagoan.  In it’s place is a sense of wasted opportunities and unrealized potential.

The internet was apparently all atwitter during and after the game with everyone including players (outside of the four teams playing yesterday) calling out Cutler for not finishing the game.  I don’t know how badly his knee was hurt, and I don’t know how much his mobility was impacted by it.  As someone going through knee problems of my own, I don’t want to tell him what he ‘should’ have done in that regard.

I will, however, blame Cutler for his energy level, or lack thereof.  Even before his injury forced him out of the game, Cutler was walking around with his head down looking uninterested and bored.  Deon Sanders and Michael Irvin on NFL Network both ranted about how they would never have come out of a game like that without a fight.  What I think they missed, is that Cutler gave up on the game much earlier than his knee did.  That makes me worry about Cutler’s ability to lead the Bears in the future.

Other things I learned from the game:

  • Todd Collins’ job may include holding clipboards and signaling in plays, but he’s actually employed to step in if something should happen to the starting QB.  He didn’t do that, and spectacularly.  He may have been the only Bear to throw a pass but not an interception, but all four of his pass attempts were awful.  He should be the first off-season casualty.
  • Caleb Hanie, on the other hand, may have had more interceptions (2) than Cutler (1) or Collins (0) but he also had a touchdown the others couldn’t get and threw all of his 14 passes (6 completions) in stressful obvious passing situations.  The kid deserves a lot of respect for stepping in and doing his best.  Which by the way, included looking like he wanted to be there. Cutler and Collins could take notes.
  • The Bears were out coached.  Not so much by the Packers staff, who didn’t call a bad game, but also didn’t really surprise anyone.  They simply out coached themselves.  Martz’s seven, eight, nine step drops early on put too much pressure on the O-line, not that a two sack game is bad.  The adjustment late that had Henie throwing off a one or two step drop could have creating some sort of rhythm earlier in the game.  It worked against the Cowboys in the beginning of the season, was sorely missed in the debacle against the Giants, and could have done wonders last night against the Packers.
  • Martz has learned how to use Forte.  70 yards on the ground and 90 receiving gives him my Offensive Player of The Game.
  • Urlacher’s interception and the Bears’ lone sack earn him Defensive Player of The Game.
  • Special Teams Player of The Game goes to Patrick Mannelly.  Mostly because nobody did anything to stand out.

All that, and it still came down to the final seconds.

That’s enough ranting for today.  We’ll see how things progress with this off-season.  In any case, come August, I’ll be geared up and ready for a new season full of hope and innocence.

Until then, Go Steelers – Beat Green Bay!!!

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