Quick Comments: Bears Vs Colts
- The Colts came out and eventually played pretty standard 3-4 defense. There were some blitzes but nothing really fancy. They did occasionally try to challenge the Bears with tight coverage, especially early. But they were living dangerously and they knew it. They eventually switched to a zone defense and the Bears killed them on it.
- The Bears initially had a tough time protecting quarterback Jay Cutler. Fortunately Cutler has the ability to move out of the pocket and make plays and that’s exactly what he did.
- Cutler is just wonderful to watch. For a little while early in the game it looked like he was going to have to single handedly carry the offense and I really wondered if he couldn’t have pulled it off. After a rough start I thought his accuracy was pretty good. You won’t see many passes better than the throw to Alson Jeffry for a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to make everyone a little more comfortable.
- The protection eventually settled down and got better in the second quarter. That’s because they got an enormous amount of help with many players being kept in to help in protection. By my count the Bears ran exactly one four receiver set the entire first half. There were a lot of double tight end and two back sets and the offensive line struggled against the blitz without at least two men to help. I think we’re looking at the plan for the year.
- It wasn’t obvious and he wasn’t terrible but Gabe Carimi did have trouble. He looked a step slow on occasion and I have a feeling he’s going to struggle with that knee for a while.
- New Colts defensive back Vontae Davis played well. I was surprised that the Colts didn’t move him around more to keep him on Bears receiver Brandon Marshall.
- Kellen Davis looked really bad out there. There were some awful missed blocks and a couple penalties.
- Matt Forte had a great day. He runs with such wonderful vision. Like Cutler, he’s a just pleasure to watch.
- Evan Rodriguez did some good lead blocking out of the backfield, for example, on the first Michael Bush touchdown run. I think we now know why Tyler Clutts was released.
- The Bears had a very hard time fooling the Colts on play action despite the fact that the Bears were beating them on the run. I can only assume that they decided that they weren’t going to let the Bears passing game beat them.
- I like that end around play to Devin Hester that the Bears are running. He needs room to create.I know it didn’t work very well but eventually he’s going to break it.
- I don’t guess I have to acknowledge that Marshall was everything he was supposed to be. But I guess I just did it anyway.
- The Bears came out with some fancy defense with nine in the box and lots of single coverage in an effort to confuse quarterback Andrew Luck. It became obvious that it wasn’t working so they switched to a more standard form of defense on the second series. Not a lot more blitzing than usual after that.
- Luck and the Colts knew how to attack the cover 2. They called all the right plays. It was just a question of execution. When they did, they moved the ball.
- Brian Urlacher definitely looked a step slow. I was surprised that they didn’t challenge him more often. In the second quarter he was blocked to the ground on one long Donald Brown run and it was quickly followed by another Brown run for a touchdown where Urlacher both over-pursued and was blocked again. He was definitely rusty after missing almost all of training camp. Like everyone else, I thought removing Uralcher early was a good idea as long as the Colts didn’t manage a come back.
- I was happy to see the Bears getting some pressure but it wasn’t consistent. Henry Melton and Shea McClellin both flashed. But there were some periods where Luck looked awfully comfortable.
- Julius Peppers also was getting occasional pressure on Luck. Interestingly it was in part because the Bears moved him around so the Colts couldn’t easily develop a consistent scheme to double team him. This will be an interesting strategy to track as the season wears on.
- Colts receiver Reggie Wayne looks as good as ever. I’m sure Luck will come to lean heavily on him as he adjusts to the league.
- Luck wasn’t all that accurate. He was frequently bailed out with some good catches by his receivers. He got better as the game wore on and he does get the ball out fast and he does move well in the pocket, which is part of the reason why the Bears had a tough time getting to him. He’s going to be good.
- Good to see that the Bears cleaned up their tackling for this game.
- Generally speaking, I thought the coverage was pretty good today by the defensive backs, especially the corners, who had to compensate for the loss of Charles Tillman.
- Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf were solid if not spectacular. No earth shaking insights but all the importnat information was conveyed.
- I thought Dierdorf’s observation that Cutler will force the ball in to Marshall whether he’s double covered or not in the second quarter was a particularly good one. I think we all remember Cutler trying to do the same thing to Greg Olsen his first year with the Bears. He’ll be more successful doing it with Marshall but I still see trouble in the future.
- I wasn’t too thrilled with the offensive interference call on Hester in the second quarter. I wasn’t too thrilled with some of the pass interference calls on both teams. In fairness, the tight coverage the Colts occasionally tried to challenge the Bears with led to quite a number being on them and many were justified.
- Other than that, I thought there were too many penalties on both teams, especially early. I think everyone settled down a bit as the game went on so hopefully it isn’t a long-term problem. Notably there were no penalties on J’Marcus Webb.
- Too many turnovers by both sides but especially by the Colts. The pick six thrown by Cutler in the first quarter would have been a killer against a better team.
- Tim Jennings had two great interceptions on under-thrown Luck passes. But I’ve got to say that on the first one, safety Chris Conte nowhere in sight. A well thrown pass would have been a TD. Conte might have suffered a bit from last time in camp. Hopefully he’ll clean things up. However, Conte notably did manage to intercept a pass so maybe I shouldn’t bee too tough on him.
- To my eye the Indianapolis special teams are much improved this year. The Bears were unspectacular and the offense was starting in very poor field position much of the time. Adam Vinatieri‘s miss wide right at end of first half and LaVon Brazill‘s fumble marred the effort.
- Adam Podlesh looked good with no apparent effects from his injury.
- The Colts drop the ball too often. Donald Brown really hurt the Colts with his drops. The Bears receivers were solid in this respect.
- This was a good start for the Bears. They took care of business and all credit to them for that. But many of my concerns remain about them. All that help they’re leaving in for the offensive line could eventually stunt the progress of the offense and I think we’d all like to see more pressur from the defensive front. I can’t help but think that a better team would have given them a tough time.