It’s not a Bears game unless I turn it off with a handful of questions. Usually, I wonder how good the Bears really are, what the hell did I just watch, and why do I find this enjoyable. But this is a weird position to be in, there’s not much to ask the Bears.
Now, the Dolphins … they’re making me think.
For one, Tyler Thigpen threw the ball 29 times and played a large role in an unusual game plan. Thigpen, himself, wonders if that was the best way to attack the Bears. I guess when the offensive line can’t block anyone, it doesn’t really matter what a team does. A problem we know all too well.
And speaking of a bad offensive line, the Dolphins made things easier on the Bears’ by rushing three and four most of the night. The Bears’ O-line has progressed to the point where they are no longer dominated by a pass rush of half the number kept in to a protect. A giant step. But why make it easy on them? The more important the down, the more vanilla the Dolphins’ pass rush seemed to be.
Anyway, we all saw the game. And it wasn’t entertaining enough to re-watch right away. So, how about a few bullet points. Although, I’m sure everyone can add more of their own.
- The Bears were a fine example of Football Outsiders’ first theory: you run when you win, not win when you run. The offense was balanced throughout the game, but they racked up the yards — and the attempts — when it was obvious the Dolphins couldn’t score nine points if the game was 240 minutes long. All teams pile on the rushing yards at the end of the game when the outcome is all but decided; it’s encouraging when this Bears team does it, though.
- Power was especially effective. Scratch that. Power right was effective. The Bears did the most damage when Chris Williams was pulling right, leading through the hole and got to do what he does best: sort of get in the way, but not be relied on to make a devastating block. A few times, he pulled into the hole to find out he didn’t have to block anyone — a great advantage.
- Speaking of sort of getting in the way: What’s with announcers just dying to tell everyone that Greg Olsen is a complete tight end. In the first quarter, Matt Forte took a hand-off, but had to change direction in the backfield and dart outside, where Olsen now had to seal the edge. The end had overpursued so much that Olsen barely had to rub the little dolphin on the end’s shoulder pad for Forte to bounce it out for 21 yards. The pass-catchiest of pass-catching tight ends can make this block. So, no Joe Theismann, Olsen isn’t much more than a big receiver.
- The Bears defensive line succeeded in a lot of ways the Vikings failed last week. The line, especially on the inside, was disciplined and more often than not rushed as a unit. Thigpen wanted to run as soon as he grabbed the snap, but the inside maintained their gap responsibility; waited for him to step up in the pocket, which he had to do because of the rush on the edge; and chased him even when he got outside the hash. Except for one play late in the game, there were big dudes in his face even when he was buying extra time outside the pocket.
- Let’s say the 2010 offensive line is as good as the 2009 offensive line. I’d rather be in the Bears’ current situation than get an average offensive line, if it means I’d have to take the 2009 defensive line. (If that makes sense). There’s nothing worse than knowing the other team’s quarterback is going to have time to pick the secondary apart.
- The secondary was great yesterday, though. Dolphins receivers were so well-covered, I thought they looked like they were all 5’11” and slipping out of every break.
- Some credit goes to Thigpen, because it’s impossible to double cover everyone. But, the Bears’ safeties were always where the needed to be over the top, flying to the ball.