Quick Game Comments: Bears at Vikings
- The Bears came out and showed blitz on the first play. They continued to do it judiciously all day, including in the final series with less than two minutes left. No prevent defense there.
- The Bears generally kept a lot of guys near the line of scrimmage and played a lot of man coverage. This was all probably to pressure rookie Christian Ponder. It looked to me like the Vikings wide receivers were getting open. A better team would have taken advantage of the poor coverage.
- Interesting call by the Vikings on third down near the Bears ten yard line. It was a screen. I’m assuming that’s because they don’t trust Ponder not to turn the ball over, yet. It probably also meant they were willing to settle for a field goal figuring (correctly) it would be a low scoring game.
- On a related note, both Tony Siragusa and color man Daryl Johnston pointed out early that the Vikings were sticking with short passes, not stretching the field much. Again, this probably had a lot to do with making things easy for Ponder and then Joe Webb.
- Ponder’s accuracy looks suspect sometimes. Even with the short passes, I thought he sometimes made the ball tougher to catch than they should have been. Webb was better.
- To their credit, I think the Bears defense was prepared for Webb. They had both Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher paying special attention to him.
- Webb was very tough to bring down. He doesn’t really look that strong. I was impressed.
- The Vikings are a pretty good fundamental football team blocking at the line of scrimmage. I think their lack talent showed, though. They had a tough time with the Bears front seven.
- Julius Peppers didn’t have a good game but pressure did come from other guys on the field, which was nice.
- Israel Idonije got lots of penetration.
- Percy Harvin seemed to be everywhere this game. He looked good.
- Toby Gerhart had a big game. For a big guy he’s deceptively fast and agile.
- The guess is that Vikings WR Devin Aromashodu really wanted to make a mark against his old team today. I won’t say he was great but he did show up to play.
- Kind of wondering how the Vikings can come out of a timeout with one minute left in the half and still end up with both the field goal team and the offense running out on the field.
- Kudos to Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave. He called a really good game. The Bears defense is a tough nut to crack and, with the exceptions above, there’s not a lot of talent ot work with.
- Gruesome looking play on the Urlacher injury. It looked like it was his knee as he landed on his leg awkwardly but the way he went down it looked like it could have easily been his back.
- Many will question the decision to play Urlacher this game (though I won’t). Tough to get hurt the last game of the season.
- With a few exceptions, I thought the Bears defense played with good discipline today.
- The Vikings got the message sent in previous Bears games and came out stacking the box – as they should. They crashed the line of scrimmage and shot the gaps at the merest hint of a run. They were aggressive on their pass rush.
- The Bears offensive line struggled with pressure up the middle and also did a poor job of run blocking.
- Given this fact, one started wondering early once again where the play action pass was. Is this maybe one of those things that “isn’t a big part” of Mike Martz’s offense?
- It looks to me like Josh McCown earned his way into Bears training camp and probably onto the Bears roster next season.
- First half, third and long and, knowing the Vikings will probably blitz, the Bears kept a tight end and a running back in to block but Jared Allen still had to be left alone on J’Marcus Webb. Sack.
- First down early in the third quarter. Armando Allen is set to Jared Allen’s side but fails to chip him. Webb is once again left one-on-one with Allen. Sack.
- Third quarter, third and thirteen. Armando Allen once again left in to block. The Vikings blitzed, of course, as they did all game in this situation. Allen picked it up as best he could. Earl Bennett was the short route option over the middle but was well covered. As a result, Jared Allen was left one-on-one with Webb. Sack.
- Too bad for Allen that he wasn’t playing Brett Favre. He might not have had to earn that record breaking sack.
- Former Bears and current Vikings defensive line coach Karl Dunbar must have enjoyed this game.
- Mike Martz will get a lot of criticism for not doing more to help J’Marcus Webb out this game. I’m going to disagree. Martz left guys in to help the line. As I’ve implied above, the problem was that they either didn’t execute or the Vikings blitzed and occupied the extra guys. You want to control Allen, the first thing you have to do is keep yourself out of compromising situations where the Vikings can take advantage of you.
- I’m very disappointed that the Bears didn’t handle the Vikings aggressive defense better earlier. They needed to execute the short passing game, throw more screens, run more misdirection, do more cutting back with the running backs and run some draw plays or delayed handoffs. I understand that when its third and long, some of that isn’t a good option. But they still had some opportunities and what they finally did was pretty late.
- Kenny Albert, Johnston and Siragusa did the announcing. I’m genuinely surprised that the Bears drew this announcing team. They did a serviceable job on a pretty meaningless game.
- You can tell its the seasons’ last game as the Vikings had a little fun and threw DE Everson Griffin out as the gunner on a punt.
- The Vikings field goal unit arguably blew this game single handedly. The Bears managed to block one but their return teams struggled.
- The Vikings didn’t help Christian Ponder out much as they frequently failed to come up with catchable balls. The Bears wide receivers once again did OK in this respect.
- Though he caught a touchdown pass, Roy Williams also managed to have his traditional drop.
- Griffin killed the Vikings early with two special teams penalties. One of them eliminated a Hester return to only the two yard line.
- Charles Tillman made a play and got a very timely interception in the second quarter. D.J. Moore iced the game with his.
- On the other side, the Bears came out the first series and immediately fumbled the ball away. Kahlil Bell did it again before the first quarter was even over. But the crowning play had to be McCown throwing a dangerous ball for an interception from the Viking end zone with the Bears up four in the fourth quarter. For heaven’s sake if you aren’t going to help win the game at least don’t lose it. You’d think the one thing these guys would have beaten into their heads is that this absolutely cannot happen. And yet it does, over and over. Frustrating.
- There obviously has been much talk over the last week about where the Bears biggest needs are (a much shorter list would be where they don’t have needs). One hot topic for debate will be whether they should be happy with where their offensive line is. I’m gong to say now that offensive tackle should be high on the list of needs. It’s in situations like this, in a noisy dome and particularly on third and long or in any other situation where a team has to pass when you find out how much talent you have. I know they don’t grow on trees but – at minimum – the Bears don’t have the left tackle they need. The interior of the line didn’t cover itself in glory, either, as pressure up the middle was an issue.
No matter what any fan tells you, football starts at the line of scrimmage. I’m going to say that the Bears offseason should once again start there as well. The Bears do need impact players but if the tackle you like is there again in the first round, I think you take him.