Sunday, Dec. 12, 2010
By Jim Miller
Sunday's score would lead you to believe the Patriots are head and shoulders above the Chicago Bears.
The reality is, in key situations the Patriots are better, but in talent, they are not. The Bears missed out on an opportunity to show the league how good a team they really are.
Where it went wrong
I mentioned in the pregame blog the Bears needed to run the ball utilizing three tight end or "heavy sets," and they came out on their opening drive with that exact personnel grouping and were moving the ball on the ground. The key situation where they failed was on 3rd-and-1 to keep the drive alive.
Again, they needed to weather the storm (literally) by the Patriots offense to keep pace until Tom Brady made a mistake. Instead, Greg Olsen misses his critical kickout block on New England cornerback Devin McCourty. If the 265-pound TE hammers the 190-pound CB, the Bears are looking at a house call to the end zone for Matt Forte.
The Bears were out of this personnel grouping as soon as Johnny Knox's fumble was returned for a touchdown, and in a heartbeat, trailed 21-0.
Chicago did force three Brady mistakes, but did not make the play to capitalize. Defensively, The Bears mixed up their coverages between single safety man coverage with blitz, single safety cover-3, and their staple Tampa-2.
That is realistically about all you can do against QB's the caliber of Brady or Peyton Manning. Unfortunately, the Bears defense was unable to squeeze what could have been three key interceptions.
Jay Cutler seemed to get frustrated after the Knox drop on 3rd-and-18. Martz dialed up a dash play to move the pocket, Jay rolled right and delivered a perfect throw to Knox who has to make the play. Jay already knew the game was lost after that play.
It was the last drive where they realistically had a chance to get back in the game and it was only the middle of the second quarter. Jay must regroup this offense to get them focused on the task at hand in Minnesota - or wherever that game will be played if the Metrodome isn't fixed in time.
They have a chance to lock up the division with a win over the Vikings and a Green Bay loss in New England. He must take care of business under the lights next Monday night.
Jim Miller, an 11-year former NFL quarterback, is a Comcast SportsNet Bears analyst who can be seen each week on U.S. Cellular Bears Postgame Live. Miller, who spent five seasons with the Bears, analyzes current Chicago QB Jay Cutler in his "15 on 6" blog on CSNChicago.com and can be followed on Twitter @15miller.