Monday, November 2, 2009

What can the Browns do for you? Provide a tuneup.

Week 8: Bears 30, Browns 6

Watching the Bears play the Browns is sort of like being handed a cheat sheet of mathematical equations as you prepare for an English exam--you don't learn a whole lot from it. It was something of a no-win situation for the Bears, playing a team they were supposed to beat by two touchdowns. But they got a win nonetheless.

They certainly didn't look very good doing it. Or at least, the offense didn't. The Bears continued to confuse the red zone for a red light. Does Jay Cutler have Robbie Gould on his fantasy team or something?

Cutler seems to be throwing the ball with his eyes closed. Granted he was running for his life for much of the game, but even when he had time to throw, he looked like his radar was jammed. Did the ball not have enough air in it? Too much air? Did it not have laces on it? He's now thrown as many interceptions (11) as touchdowns this season. He was also sacked four times by a bad Browns defense, partly because the offensive line didn't ... whattaya call it ... block anyone, and partly because he refused to get rid of the ball when he was pressured.

The biggest bright spot for me was Devin Hester. He had 81 yards receiving and continues to develop as a legitimate threat at the wide receiver position. I still don't think he's a #1 type receiver, but it's nice to see him coming along.

On the other side of the ball, the defense was dominant. Granted, it was against a team that practically sends Evites to upcoming opponents, subject line "Would you like to be dominant this Sunday?" I mentioned in the preview that the Bears needed to keep Derek Anderson to a QB rating below 80 just to save face. Mission accomplished--he finished with a rating of 10.5 and was so bad that he was replaced by Brady Quinn.

The "D" also forced five turnovers, putting the Bears at -1 in turnovers this year. That statistic will need to keep trending in a positive direction if the Bears are going to keep winning.

It wasn't the prettiest win the Bears have ever had, but it was a 24-point thrashing nonetheless. A solid practice game as the Bears prepare for a real match-up against the Cardinals, who, like the Bears, are 4-3. Though Arizona leads the NFC West for the time being, this Sunday's game could have Wild Card implications when all is said and done. (I'm not giving up on the division, especially with two games remaining against the Vikings, but it's worth looking at the Wild Card after Minnesota picked up their seventh victory yesterday.)

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