Quick Game Comments: Chargers at Bears
- The Chargers didn’t mess around and put eight in the box on first down immediately. No surprise. They seem to like playing single coverage and you definitely want to make the Bears beat you through the air.
- That didn’t stop the Bears from trying to run. They obviously thought they could run on the Chargers anyway given their reputation as a poor run defense.
- The Chargers were also keying on Matt Forte. Again, good move. Even when he’s catching passes he accounts for an enormous amount of the Bears offense.
- Forte wasn’t running particularly well today. It didn’t look to me like he was running with his usual degree of patience.
- I thought Cutler had decent time to throw. Of course, as usual, it helps that he’s mobile enough to get himself out of trouble.
- Jim Nantz and Phil Simms made a point of saying that Marion Barber looked fast in practice. He certainly looked good while he was in.
- That injury to Chris Spencer would have really hurt. The Bears offensive line, which wasn’t a strength to begin with, was very close to being officially decimated by injuries.
- How nice was it to see Johnny Knox adjusting so well to the football, today? Nice work.
- Roy Williams also played a good game after his usual dropped pass.
- Something tells me this team misses former defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, who took the head coaching job in Carolina. The defense doesn’t look like its playing with the same intensity.
- The Bears gave up some big plays, something that had to be disappointing to Lovie Smith and Rod Marinelli.
- The Bears were keeping a lot of guys near the line of scrimmage but the Chargers ran very effectively with some shifty cut back runs. They got the linebackers to move out of their gaps on occasion. I thought the Bears did better in the second half.
- The misdirection also hurt the Bears in pass defense as the Chargers seemed to frequently suck players to the middle, then throw outside into a lot of space. The screen game was working well, too. Basically, they were using the Bears aggression against them.
- The Chargers seem to like to use Mike Tolbert as a receiver on third down. You wouldn’t think about such a big round man having such good hands. I guess once you get him the ball and let him get rolling he’s tough to stop short of the marker.
- Late in the first half the Bears were getting burned for big plays by blitzing the Chargers. I’m surprised. That isn’t typical of the way the Bears play defense.
- Related to 5, Charles Tillman was drawing the single coverage assignment against the Chargers best receivers. He was out matched and, really, it wasn’t his fault. Phillip Rivers was getting rid of the ball quicker than the blitz could get there and unless you’ve got Darrelle Revis out there, you’ve got to give help on guys like Vincent Jackson. Single high safety just isn’t enough.
- Though I alway prefer noon games (and absolutely despise night games), one advantage to later games is that you almost always get really good announcers. Today was no exception. Nantz and Simms were sharp. I thought Simms, in particular made a good point about the benefits of keeping Jay Cutler in the pocket. On the negative side, Simms made the point that Devin Hester couldn’t jump up over the cross bar and goal tend on the missed Chargers field goal at the end of the first half but failed to point out that, had Hester caught the ball short, he could have returned it. That is, of course, why he jumped up to try to get it.
- I think the Bears came out flat. San Diego seemed to be playing at a different speed at times.
- Roy Williams dropped a long pass early but otherwise I didn’t see anything too awful bad out there in this respect.
- The Bears had some penalties that hurt them today. Two of the Devin Hester returns were called back for holding penalties.
- What is the deal with Earl Bennett and those orange shoes? $20,000 for a lark? I can’t believe it.
- Special teams had a good game. Adam Podlesh had a couple good punts. The San Diego punter, Mike Scifres, hit some line drives to Devin Hester and he took advantage (though the penalties limited them). Kickoff coverage wasn’t awful but should have been better. I can’t believe they ran a fake punt with two minutes left up by eleven. Why?
- Rivers threw a couple bad interceptions in the fourth quarter but up to that point, he was solid. I think he was just pressing at a time when you could argue that some risks were called for. The Bears recovery of a fumble in the third quarter was a big play. The Cutler interception in the fourth quarter was just one of those things. The receiver slips and that’s the way it goes.
- Nice to hear Bear fans making some noise on occasion during this game. I’m thinking of first and ten from the sixteen in the fourth quarter.
- I think everyone knows the saying that most games are lost by the loser than won by the winner. I’m happy to say that was not the case today. The Chargers weren’t turning the ball over right and left. There weren’t a lot of penalties. The receivers weren’t dropping the ball all over the field. Their quarterback played reasonably well (desperation interceptions aside). I don’t get to say this often but I thought the Bears ran up against a reasonably good team that played well and just played better. Wonderful game.