“We think we can. We think we can.”
Remember the timeless childhood classic, The Little Engine that Could? I think the Chicago Bears need to adopt that philosophy and push it to the next level, just like the Little Engine did.
“We know we can. We know we can.”
Unlike our beloved childhood friend, the Bears seem to lose steam instead of making a successful transition from thinking to knowing, and executing to completion. How on earth they managed to lose to the Carolina Panthers is beyond me. I still cannot wrap my head around this loss, and I watched every second of the game. Even took notes on the praises I wanted to sing, and then… the second half of the game happened. Again!
It was bad enough for Chicago to come out swinging last week against their archrivals, the Green Bay Packers, and wind up losing to them in a disappointing second half performance while Aaron Rodgers could seemingly do no wrong, but there is no excuse for doing it against the Panthers. Seriously. The second half Bears were badly produced Doppelgangers of the first half team who had the big kitties by the tail. I can’t think of any other plausible reason for such a dismal display.
That’s another thing.
Like every other Bears fan I know, I am tired of hearing them. We’ve all been making them long enough. Far too long, in my not always so humble opinion. You know what they say about excuses, right? They are like… nah. I won’t repeat it. If you don’t know the saying by now, keep your innocence intact.
I will spare you the play-by-play pick apart of the game like most other journalists will do, but there are a few things that need to be mentioned. It’s the good, the bad, and the ugly – not necessarily in that order.
What is up with the live balls going virtually unnoticed by everyone except the opposing team? That is Football 101 right there. Go back to basics, my friends.
The ball is not dead until the whistle blows and ends the play, so why on earth are the Bears not attacking that football when it’s sitting on the ground? Hang out a sign next time, “Free touchdown, courtesy of Chicago.”
I get the fact that multi-tasking is a necessity in football, but if you can’t keep eyes on the ball while covering your man, I know a few Pony League players who can come in and demonstrate how it’s done. Whistle or not, the little ones watch that ball like a bunch of ravenous vultures. They swoop down like the ball is fresh meat and they are starving for it. I would think NFL players would have the same mentality – and ability.
Special Teams. Need I really say more?
Jay Cutler is an athletic beast. The man’s got legs and he knows how to use them. You’re welcome for the earworm, by the way. His touchdown run was a testament to his focus, despite the Jayters who jump all over him for every other thing. Cutler knows when to run. Truthfully, I’d like to see more of it, particularly when his blockers fail.
Willie Young had a nice ball strip, and we need more forced turnovers like that. The Bears used to be known for their ability to rip the ball out and turn it over, so it’s nice to see it hasn’t completely gone the way of the dodo, but it happens far too infrequently these days. Again I say, go back to basics, my friends. Stick with what works, and ball stripping always worked for Chicago in the past. It will work again, but they must be focused on it as part of their game plan.
Alshon Jeffery’s touchdown and Lance Briggs’ interceptions in the second quarter were things of beauty. We expect to see All Show running into the end zone frequently, but I’m not sure who was more pleased and surprised by Briggs – him or the viewing public? Keep it up! We are greedy fans and want more!
I will praise Cutler up and down when he’s on it, but at the same time, I will call him out when he’s not. Interceptions are bad, mmkay? The receivers are tall men, but not giants. Reign in that cannon arm a bit and try not to thread the needle too much. It will work.
Jay takes risks, which are both good and bad, because he is confident in his ability to make the difficult passes to connect, but it doesn’t always work out the way he would like. When it does though, the payoff is usually huge. However, Bears fans can’t have it both ways. When the reward is great, the risk is worth it, but I think perhaps a little more calculation might be in order. Just saying.
The blockers need to do their jobs, too. It’s pretty difficult for Cutler to find a clear shot to an open man when he’s got double coverage on him. Protect your quarterback, guys. Football 101 rule of thumb.
Defensively, the Bears were better than they have been, but is there a curse on the second half? They seem to fall apart when they are needed most and it should not happen. It cannot happen if Chicago wants to win games.
Speaking of curses, I am beginning to think Chris Conte is the victim of some bad juju. Has he finished an entire game yet this season? Conte appears to be an injury magnet, and it is worrisome. I’m one of the few people I know who doesn’t have a problem with him playing because he plays hard when he’s in the game. He tries to do his job and pick up the slack for his teammates who aren’t, but he can’t have a big impact from the sidelines.
The coaching and play calling in this game left a great deal to be desired, and that’s all I’m going to say on the subject… for now.
I haven’t given up hope on this year’s Bears team. There’s still 11 games left to play. I won’t lie though, the difficulty of the remaining games before the bye week has me, and most other people, all kinds of nervous. The Bears must bring their game, and I do mean their good mojo, to every game from here on out. They can do it. They have the talent and the ability. I have faith.
I believe in Monsters. Always have. Always will.
©2014 Robin Carneke-Green