Like a visit to the dentist, I might as well get this over with...
Something a little new this week, I'll BOLD a player's name when he or she deserves (IMHO) credit or blame for a particular play's success or failure. That way, it'll be easier for all you quick scanners to identify my biases more quickly. If any of you saw anything I've omitted, or wish to modify the judgments, please do so.Series 1.
(After we're down early by 0-7, and Eric Norwood returns the short KO to our 39) Determined to establish our run game, we resort to nothing else, rushing every play on this drive.
Q1, 13:11, 1and10, CP39. Jimmy Clausen is under center on every play, with 2WRs split out (Brandon LaFell and David Gettis) wide, but only for show. The first play has Dante Rosario and Jeff King in at TEs, with DeAngelo Williams the lone set-back. A run by Williams gains nothing.
12:34, 2and10, CP39. As so often has happened on our first series of previous games, we rip off a good run. With Gary Barnidge in motion, and Tony Fiammetta in the I ahead of Williams, Williams gains 23 for a FD. Every single player makes a solid block, but special credit goes to Fiammetta and Travell Wharton.
11:55, 1and10, CB38. Williams makes another nice run for 6, with another good clearing block by Fiammetta.
11:18, 2and4, CB32. False start by Geoff Schwartz sets us back 5.
11:10, 2and9, CB37. In replacing Williams, Jonathan Stewart stumbles, for no gain.
10:25, 3and9, CB37. Stewart makes a great run, for 25 and a FD. Again, all block well, but especially Ryan Kalil, Mac Bernadeau, and Geoff Schwartz.
9:45, 1and10, CB12. A draw to Williams, now back in, gains only 1.
9:10, 2and9, CB11. With Rosario in the I ahead of Williams, the latter gains 3 more.
8:32, 3and6, CB8. This is, of course, the key play of the series, as we can tie the game with a TD. The Bears put 9 in the box, with tight outside coverage on our only wide-out LaFell, and a single safety. We have 2 TEs in on the play, King and Rosario, plus Gettis is in tight to the line, so a play-action toss to one of them would have a good chance of working - but the handoff is to Williams again, and he can only gain 2, as LB Lance Briggs is unblocked, making the stop. I bold the coaches for this play-call; very mundane and predictable. Winning teams score a TD here, with a play fake into the stacked line, and an easy toss to the corner, after reading the lone safety's reaction. Such as Moore threw last season, to Hoover, and to King.
7:53, 4and4, CB6. Kasay kicks the FG, putting us back 3-7. At this point, we can still be optimistic, as we've moved the ball well on the ground, blocked well, and only had one penalty, which didn't cost us.
(After Forte's 67 yard TD run made it 3-14.)
Q1, 7:29, 1and10, CP33. Under center, Clausen loses the snap, recovering for a 1-yd loss.
6:54, 2and11, CP32. From the I, a run attempt by Stewart gains nothing.
6:24, 3and11, CP32. 3WR, with Armanti Edwards out left, LaFell and Gettis to the right, we finally set up for a pass play. Unfortunately, Schwartz misses badly on a chop block on Judas Peppers, allowing him to bat down a low pass, with a big windup from Clausen, which luckily falls into his arms, for an INT. This is the first of 3 INTs the Bears get on the day, all lucky for them.
(After that INT leads to a Bears' FG, making the score 3-17)
Q1, 4:40, 1and10, CP20. A False Start on Jeff King sets us back 5.
4:37, 1and15, CP15. A predictable run by Williams gains just 1.
4:04, 2and14, CP16. Schwartz whiffs on his block, and against only a 4-man rush, they get a sack and a fumble, recovered by #74. This is also on Clausen, who had 3 receivers open, gave a poor play-action fake, and didn't hold onto the ball. He had time to avoid this particular sack, but appeared indecisive.
3:17, 3and19, CP11. Clausen scrambles and completes a pass for only 2 yards, leading to a punt. I won't bold this, but c'mon. Why 2 yards? We need 19.
2:03, 1and10, CP6. Stewart rushes for 2.
1:25, 2and8, CP8. UC, Clausen lobs to King, and the Bears are called for DPI, giving us a FD.
1:20, 1and10, CP28. UC, LaFell and Gettis wide, Fiammetta and Stewart in the I, Clausen makes a nice slant pass to LaFell, who drops it. Sweet and sour on that one. The slant pass should be our bread and butter, but the WR's got to catch them. LaFell has shown us time and again that he can't make this catch in traffic.
1:16, 2and10, CP28. From a 4-man rush, Clausen is sacked by a delayed blitz from LB Briggs. Fault here is on more than one: both Fiammetta and Stewart drift out of the backfield with no attempts at picking up the blitz, and Clausen stands immobile, his left foot never leaving the ground to avoid the rusher.
0:41, 3and16, CP22. From the SG for the first time, Fiammetta and Stewart in a full house backfield, Clausen makes a nice throw to Gettis, for 14 yds, but short of a FD. On the last play of the quarter, we punt.
(After our defense gets it back again, with an INT by safety Jordan Pugh, his first in the NFL.)
Q2, 11:00, 1and10, CP24. A rare Thumbs Up to the OC here, for going for the quick strike. Prior to this, he'd shown no inclination to air it out, so the play was well set up. 2 wideouts, off a play fake to Williams, the lone set back, Clausen fires it deep down the left sideline to LaFell, but he's well covered by the defender Tillman, and LaFell pushes off and is flagged for OPI. I don't fault Clausen here; the pass wasn't underthrown, as has been said, though his play fake could have been a better sell. LaFell just ran an indifferent pattern, which made it easy to shadow, and then compounded it with a penalty.
10:54, 1and20, CP14. A draw to Williams (so much for imagination; that last play didn't work, so back to our shell) loses a yard. There's a Hold called on Ryan Kalil, but it's declined.
10:32, 2and21, CP13. UC, attempting to hand off to Williams, Clausen has it slip from his hand, before the RB even has a chance to take it, and falls on his own fumble at the 1. Inexplicable unforced error. Small hands?
10:00, 3and 32, CP1. Williams runs left for 12 meaningless yards, but serving to make the punt easier.
(After a Greg Hardy sack forces the bears to punt, for the first time. How many times do we have to call for him to play more downs?)
Q2, 8:03, 1and10, CP16. Let's see...1st down? Let's try a run; that'll fool 'em. Stewart tries, and gains nothing. Closer examination of this play reveals that there was a huge hole created by the OL, off RT, but Fiammetta fails to block Briggs, who makes the stop. This is the play that Brad Hoover always made, which constantly freed our RBs for big runs through the second level. I can't state loudly enough that Fiammetta simply MUST hit somebody when he leads through the hole; looks as if he doesn't want contact to me. Were he to take Briggs out, the play gains at least 10.
7:28, 2and10, CP16. With 2 WRs out, Rosario in the slot, Clausen throws a nice screen pass to Stewart, the lone back, gaining 8, but it's negated by an OPI call against the new guy, David Clowney, for blocking downfield before the ball's released.
7:00, 2and18, CP8. No gain, on a rush by Stewart. They showed 10 (TEN!) in the box, daring us to throw, but we're all bunched together, and the play has no chance of succeeding. No fewer than 7 Bears made the tackle. I blame the staff here, for failure to take a shot. Hell, we're 0-4 for the season, getting beat 3-17, show some balls. This is the perfect time to catch them off guard, as they can't be more confident we won't pass than to put 10 in the box. Play action fake, rollout, boom! This little no gain play gets overlooked as unimportant, but from such things, games get turned around. I know it's deep in our territory, and a risk, but not much of one, when they've only got 1 player more than 2 yards back from the LOS. Anybody else see it that way, or do you agree the ultra-conservative call is better? (The more I think about it, this play is a microcosm of our play-calling inadequacies.)
6:10, 3and18, CP8. Now, on 3rd down, of course we pass, being the thoroughly predictable dolts we are. Putting 4WRs out, and needing 18 for a FD, from the shotgun, against a 4-man rush, Clausen has no pressure, but takes the easy way out, and dumps it off to Williams, coming out of the backfield. This play gains 5 on 3and18. I look at the stands, and the fans there are bored and disgusted. I see no wine and cheese, but bottles in their hands, and I marvel at their restraint in not throwing them. 3 and out, plus a penalty. We punt.
Q2, 4:23, 1and10, CB42. Armanti Edwards makes an appearance at QB. From the shotgun, he hands off to David Gettis on a reverse, but it's sniffed out, and loses 6. Credit to the staff for some imagination; the play itself wasn't a bad call; it just had no chance, because of no block by Schwartz, on Peppers, who strung the play out wide, and no block by Gary Barnidge, out wide right, allowing his CB Jennings to make the stop.
3:43, 2and16, CB48. Same set, but this time Edwards fakes the reverse, drops to pass, sees his intended receiver covered, then makes a nice run, faking 2 tacklers, picking up 7. Announcers called this the Wildcat, but I define that as when the regular QB flanks wide, and it's a direct snap to a RB. Since Clausen was on the sidelines for these 2 plays, this is really just Edwards subbing at QB, from the shotgun. Whatever. When Edwards is then taken out, for 3rd down, the crowd boos lustily. At least he brought some excitement in with him.
3:00, 3and9, CB41. Clausen back in, from the SG, with 4WRs out, he throws complete to LaFell on a rollout. Two problems with this play. LaFell didn't get both feet in bounds. More importantly, Clausen didn't know where the FD marker was. Had LaFell been in, it would've been 3 yds short. More blame to come: Fox challenges the call that LaFell didn't have control, or both feet in, wasting a T.O. Even had it been overturned, it'd still be 4th down.
2:52, 4and9, CB41. Here's another bone I want to pick with the coaches. Why punt from their 41? Sure Baker made a good punt, which was downed at their 10. But why not give it a shot to pick up a FD? After a rocky start, our D is stopping them every time. We're a winless team, and we're behind, and there's less than 3 minutes left in the half. Challenge your offense to step up. A punt's a pussy play.
Q3, 14:54, 1and10, CP30. (After a decent KR by Mike Goodson, to start the second half.) What else? We bring Barnidge in motion, further clogging the middle, and try a run from the I, with Williams only gaining 1 yard. Travelle Wharton jams his finger on this play, and comes out awhile, his place being taken by MacBern switching to LG, Schwartz moving to RG, and Gary Williams coming in at RT.
14:17, 2and9, CP31. They bring 5, but we have 7 in to block, D-Will picking up the blitzer well, and there's no pressure on Clausen, who has a stable pocket around him for a change. Despite Jeff King being open over the middle, 8 yds downfield, Clausen makes a hasty decision to run, and falls on his face (dives forward?) for no gain. Piss-poor decision-making.
13:37, 3and9, CP31. SG, 4WRs out, Clausen makes up for the last gaffe with a perfect pass, the bread and butter slant, to David Gettis, for 10 and a FD. This pass was on a string, and couldn't have been thrown better.
13:04, 1and10, CP41. Another 1st down run, by Williams, gains 2. Wharton's taped up by now, back in, and pulls on the play, which is pretty well blocked, but they have 8 in the box, and it gets the maximum that it could. The coaches get the fail here, as they've got to show a variety of plays on 1st down. Our tendencies are too well known, and we'll continue to see 8-9 in the box on 1st downs, until we show the willingness to throw off play-action.
12:30, 2and8, CP43. Here's the Judas Peppers second hilight play. Clausen takes a 12-yard drop, but rolls to the right side, where Pep's lined up. Mistake. It's compounded by Jeff King whiffing on Peppers, who for some strange reason, he's assigned to block. Here's one time I don't fault Clausen for throwing OOB, as it's all he can do to avoid a big sack. But he shouldn't have rolled onto Pep's side of the field. Avoid the big guy.
12:25, 3and8, CP43. SG, 4 rushers, good protection, all day to throw without any pressure, Clausen doesn't see King open over the middle again, and indecisively throws it OOB again, for no apparent reason. As it was, LaFell was flagged for Illegal Formation, but it was declined, anyway, forcing us to punt once again. Fox shakes his head in disgust.
12:16, 4and8, CP43. I only throw this in to give credit to Jason Baker, for a good punt, downed at their 16.
(After another defensive 3 and out forces another punt by the Bears.)
Q3, 11:10, 1and10, CP39. Same old, same old - run by Stewart gains 2. Fiammetta from the I again avoids blocking anybody, choosing not to lead the RB through the hole off tackle, but running pointlessly around right end. WTF?
10:40, 2and8, CP41. Short pass to Rosario gains but 2. Clausen comes up limping of his right foot, but without being touched on the play.
10:03, 3and6, CP43. SG throw to Rosario, who makes a nice leaping catch, but is forced OOB by the defender = Incompletion. Good throw by Clausen, but the LB just made a better play.
9:58 4and6, CP43. Here Fox makes an absolutely bonehead decision, IMO. We punt, and it's nicely downed at their 6. But hold on...there's a procedure penalty on the Bears, which would give us 5 yards, and make it 4and1 from their 38. Fox declines the penalty, and takes the downed punt, rather than punting again, as the announcers support his decision. But I say, why not take it and go for it on 4and1, from their 38?? If you pick up a measly yard, our drive is kept alive, and here I again reiterate we're 0 and 4, and behind in the game. Make something happen, for God's sake! Challenge your beleaguered OL to pick up a yard. He didn't even appear to consider the possibility. What kind of coaching is that? What's the worst that could happen? We don't get it, and the ball goes over to them at their 38? (Throwing up my hands in frustration, I know the game's now over.) Field position, hell; we're down 2 TDs. Show some balls, and some faith in your offense. Heaven knows they need some love.
(After yet another 3 and out forced by our D makes them punt, and we get great field position.)
Q3, 8:50, 1and10, CP47. UC, with 2WRs out, and Williams the lone back, Clausen rolls right, and throws a perfect strike to LaFell, who makes the catch at the Bears 37, for 16, and a FD. LaFell comes up limping, after making his only reception of the day. "Alright," Fox is thinking (if it entered his mind), "I was right to punt after all; now we're back where we were a minute or so ago, and it's 1st down." But what if we'd made that 4and1 count, and gone in for a score?
8:23, 1and10, CB37. Oh, no. Here we go again. Run on 1st down by Williams gains only a yard. Here's the setup: they've got 10 in the box, since we only have Williams in the backfield, Clausen UC, and our other 9 guys all bunched up, with 3WRs within a yard of our tackles. Duh? And who makes the tackle? Their CB, Coleman, who shouldn't have been near the LOS, except he was lined up there, in front of Gettis, who should've been out wide. Blame on the OC, for that alignment.
7:42, 2and9, CB36. David Clowney goes deep down the right sideline, but Clausen, under no pressure, overthrows him by 5 yards, and OOB, to boot.
7:37, 3and9, CB36. SG, with Clowney right, Gettis slot left, Rosario wide left, and King and Williams in the backfield. Clausen rolls right and completes to Clowney, but short of the FD marker by about a yard. The receiver's got to know where the marker is. Oh, the inhumanity.
7:10, 4and1, CB28. Finally, we set up to try for it on 4th down, but alas, Wharton makes a False start, and it's 4and6
6:40, 4and6, CB33. We try a 51 yard FG, but it's no good. (Pass the Pepto.)
(At this point, it's noted that our defense has forced 4 punts and 3 INTs on the last 7 Bears' possessions. Yet we have nothing to show for it. And then, Charles Godfrey gets our 4th pick off Collins, coming one play after a sack by Hayden and Anderson.) Godfrey now leads the league, with 4 picks.
Q3, 5:07, 1and10, CB43. Great field position once again. UC, single setback, plenty of time, no pressure, Clausen has LaFell wide open in the EZ, and underthrows him badly, the pass being batted away. Should have been a TD.
5:00, 2and10, CB43. A screen to Stewart gains 4.
4:20, 3and6, CB39. Clausen from the SG, with 4 WRs out, again makes a bad decision, choosing to run up the middle, diving forward, but well short of the FD. He's bailed out by an offsides penalty on the Bears.
3:42, 3and1, CB34. A rare handoff to Fiammetta gains 3, and a FD. This is probably a play we should use more often, as he's usually ignored in the middle, since LBs see him as avoiding a block, anyway.
3:10, 1and10, CB31. A 6-yard slant to LaFell is well-thrown by Clausen, but LaFell drops it again. Again, I'll say this is a great play for us, but should only be thrown to Gettis or Rosario, who've proven they can hold onto the pass.
3:00, 2and10, CB31. Stewart runs for 1. Ho-hum.
2:26, 3and 9, CB30. LaFell compounds his already numerous errors with a False Start penalty. Thanks for coming, Brandon.
2:26, 3and14, CB35. SG, 3WRs, Clausen rolls left, and throws OOB. The announcers said no one was open, but both Stewart and Rosario clearly were. Yes, Pep was closing on him, but Rosario was on the left side, too, and well within his vision.
2:18, 4and14, CB35. This time Kasay makes the FG, from 53!, cutting their lead to 6-17, still within reach.
(After yet another 3 and out from our D, against their new QB, Caleb Hanie, and giving us the field position we need, to make a game of it. Any game balls go to the defense, who didn't give up, and played stoutly.)
Q4, 14:49, 1and10, CP47. A delayed pass to Williams gains 2. At this point in the game, the graphic shows we've averaged a whopping 1.5 yards on first downs! Remember back when 3rd down conversions were our problem?
14:15, 2and8, CP49. Clausen takes a sack, and fumbles, but he's ruled down, or it'd been a turnover and a Bears TD. This is all on Fiammetta, who totally whiffed on his block.
14:00, 3and18, CP39. SG, 4WRs out. Another quick sack, as this time Schwartz fails to block anybody.
13:26, 4and30, CP26. What started as good field position turned into an ugly 3 and out, and we punt.
(After Richard Marshall's sack, our 3rd, forces them out of FG range, and into a punt)
Q4, 6:42, 1and10, CP15. I'll condense this series, as it was over quickly. Clausen made 3 very bad passes in a row, the first 2 being behind LaFell in the left flat, and the 3rd behind Gettis on the right. I think the second might be on LaFell, for running a different route than Clausen expected, but who knows?
(After they kick a 53 yd FG, Robbie Gould's career longest, makes it 6-20.)
Q4, 3:35, 1and10, CP20. Matt Moore is in, replacing Clausen. His first pass, a deep out to Edwards, is caught, but not with 2 feet in, and goes incomplete.
3:29, 2and10, CP20. Moore again goes to Edwards, this time on a quick slant, but Edwards can't hold it, the ball bouncing off his hands, then his thigh, and right into the lucky hands of a falling Brian Urlacher, for their 2nd deflected INT of the day. Shit just keeps on happening.
Series 15. (Incidentally, this is the most number of offensive series we've had this year; little good that it did.)
(After another Bears' FG made it 6-23., and their KO went OOB.)
1:56, 1and10, CP40. SG for Moore again, 4WRs out, Mike Goodson seeing his first RB action as the lone back. Moore throws a perfect pass downfield to Jeff King, for 14 and a FD.
1:38, 1and10, CB46. Running the no-huddle, Moore again completes to King, but this time for no gain, as he's tackled immediately.
1:14, 2and10, CB46. Incomplete to LaFell, as he ran the wrong route. The announcers and I both see it as he's the one who misran it, since both he and Gettis ran stride for stride next to the other, cutting in, as the pass went to the sidelines. With all the other mistakes LaFell had made, it must have been him.
1:10, 3and10, CB46. UC, 4WRs, Moore completes it, over the middle to Clowney, for 5.
0:49, 4and5, CB40. No time outs left, Moore goes to the no huddle again, and completes again, to King, for 6 and a FD. King makes a nice effort to pick up the FD.
0:30, 1and10, CB34. SG, 4WRs. Moore again completes it, this time to Gettis, for 9 yds.
0:15, 2and1, CB25. Moore spikes it to kill the clock.
0:14, 3and1, CB26. We go to 5WRs here, with an empty backfield. They rush only 4, keeping everybody deep, anticipating the Hail Mary that's coming. Moore throws to Gettis at the GL, but of course, he's double covered, and the pass is intercepted. A replay shows Gettis wasn't even looking at the ball, but hand-fighting the second defender. Regardless, it's the end of the game.
(James, your usual picture insert will be appreciated.)