10 Post-Game Thoughts After 24-20 Victory Over Philadelphia:
Check Out Noots’ Notes
1. Impressive – How Bears went 7-17 on 3rd down, while holding Eagles to 2-13 and 0-1 on 4th with the GL stand. The goal line stand on defense was a statement, whereas the Forte run during the series after on 3rd and 4 was the exclamation point – the dagger and clincher. The Monsters of the Midway played for 60 minutes and finished business – taking care of the unfinished business leftover from Carolina and Tampa.
2. Aggressive DE’s – The team’s defensive ends are known for gambling too much but it paid off when Alex Brown quickly got off the right side to deny Buckhalter for the potential go-ahead touchdown. I guess you don’t always have to stay at home and contain.
3. Surprising Play-Calling – Why didn’t Philly take advantage of Tommie Harris being sidelined and an undersized DL? Eagles should have ran more and utilized the draw. DeSean Jackson was a nightmare match-up; he should touch the ball more than 7 times.
4. Alert, Audible – Kyle Orton’s revised play at the LOS on 3rd & 7 to open up the fourth was brilliant. Bears had no first downs up until that point in the 2nd half – quick/slip screen to Matt Forte got the team not only 17 yards and a first down, but the game’s deciding and final 3 points later in the drive (Robbie Gould 41-yard Field Goal).
5. Matt Forte – The rookie outta Tulane showed his toughness, patience, and versatility and why he is the most advanced RB out of this year’s Draft Class. Forte displayed toughness in between the tackles fighting and lunging forth picking up extra yardage, especially on a key 10-yard gain on 3rd/4 at CHI 7. On the many occasions his patience (perseverance) was evident when being stopped for little to no yards, then bouncing back finding the small hole with his vision to get something out of nothing. Many times he picked up the block in pass protection to buy Orton valuable time – he’s playing like a seasoned veteran.
6. Disappointing, Health Concerns – Desmond Clark has been a non-factor and is clearly a step too slow. Brandon Lloyd (knee), Charles Tillman (shoulder, did return for a play), and Tommie Harris (sat out, knee) hopefully are healthy enough for next week in Detroit. Top players at three of the team’s most important positions.
7. Close, Ugly Game – Bears come out on top in tight, pressure packed game in which they lead the whole way through. Finally held on in the 4th, despite lending Philly numerous golden opportunities to comeback, as they turned the ball over four times. Coach Smith’s squad fights for a victory in a game they usually give away, in a game they should not have won because Eagles are clearly the better team and a contender in the NFC. Being at home you should get the job done when it comes down to the wire – and the Bears clearly took advantage of Soldier Field.
8. Still a ways away – I believe Chicago needs to bolster their shaky receiving corps and that unimpressive, overweight unit they call the offensive line. If they want to win the division they need to improve at those two key positions. It showed that the two most questioned areas on the offense came up big at times and played particularly decent/average to receive the victory. OL/Orton’s 2nd half blunders proved to be costly, but not all that costly. Offense still a ways away in being the unit they have to be in order to be consistent and a contender in the NFC, not the NFC North.
9. Kyle Orton Outduels Donovan McNabb – Never thought, in all my wildest dreams, I would one day enter and write this. Whether it was the few sacks in which he held on to the ball way too long, the ill-advised predetermined throw which resulted into a game-changing INT in the red zone, or his obvious overthrows to Booker and Forte – Orton just has to keep progressing and honing his game – and if he does, he can be a playoff QB like Rex was. I really like what Orton brings to the table, whether it’s the pre-play Peyton Manning-like adjustments, the prevailing attitude to overcome his mistakes on the next drive, or the improvements he makes on a week-to-week basis – you have to like what you see with the former Purdue standout and you can now say that QB isn’t the team’s greatest weakness. I mean, he led his team to victories over Indianapolis and Philadelphia in prime time – my two Super Bowl teams! He clearly is making the best out of the situation with the hand he has been dealt.
10. Bend but don’t Break – I don’t care how many yards the defense has to give up in the passing game, as long as they prevent teams from getting into the end zone, they will be in great shape. They allowed Philly to get in just twice! I know they were without the elite playmaking services of the All-Pro Brian Westbrook, but the Babich’s unit did just enough to preserve the win. Bend but don’t break – that should be the motto on defense, the “rallying cry” so to say, that is, along with forcing turnovers of course. Safeties Kevin Payne and Mike Brown did their part, Corey Graham filled in nicely for Charles Tillman, and Danieal Manning did well, while Nathan Vasher played his best game of the ’08 campaign by far. Also, Dusty, Israel, and Marcus Harrison picked up the slack for Tommie. Lance Briggs was the MVP and Urlacher played well. Brown and Ogunleye had strong outings, though I’m still waiting for Mark Anderson to arrive. So far, the run defense has been excellent allowing under 80 yards per game. If the defense continues to make offenses one-dimensional, we should be an above .500 record.
Conclusion – Looking Ahead to Motown:
Charles Tillman has to be healthy next week against Lions – they have two difference makers in Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams – they are all about the pass. Jon Kitna can be rattled rather easily, let’s bring the house like we did against Indy – the Detroit OL is quite suspect. Quick start + big lead = easy win. Slow start + minus-turnover differential = frustrating loss. This is a game we should win and have to win. Good teams beat the teams they are supposed to. If we want to win the NFC North we definitely have to take it to the Lions.
1. Windy City Flyer more involved on offense, over 100 totals yards and two touchdowns.
2. Matt Forte 35+ touches and ball control offense (+3 or more TO Margin).
3. Roy Williams will guarantee a win over Bears. I guarantee a defensive or special teams touchdown and a 34-20 victory.