Monday, November 22, 2010

Bears defense as good as Gould

Week 11: Bears 16, Dolphins 0

Man, am I sick of Martz and his pass-happy play calling. He could have learned a thing or two from the Dolphins, the way they committed to the run game and just pounded it down the Bears' throats. If I've said it once, I've ...

Wait, what's that? That was the Bears who kept running the ball? The Dolphins' running backs only ran it seven times? Mike Martz called more runs than passes for the second straight game while the Dolphins were over reliant on the arm of their third-string quarterback? Wow. I thought I read somewhere that dolphins were smart. Apparently they have cool sonar abilities but also a tendency to develop ass backward game plans for football games. The "dolphin" Wikipedia page needs to be updated.

But game plan aside, the Bears defense was determined to make sure Miami's offense remained beached. They racked up six sacks and an interception and allowed just 39 yards on the ground. They also allowed just one third down conversion all game. Perhaps most impressively of all, the Dolphins never once made it into the red zone and only made it as far as the Bears' 35 yard line. It all added up to just the second shutout in the NFL this season (the Bucs added a third on Sunday).

Which brings us to today's STAT OF THE DAY! The Bears are allowing just 14.6 points per game, best in the NFL. That's right--by the most important measure, the Bears have the best defense in the league. And that was today's STAT OF THE DAY!

Julius Peppers finally got a chance to pad his stats, piling up three sacks lined up against an injured Jake Long. Having Urlacher back after he missed last season has clearly improved the D, and you have to give some credit to defensive coordinator Rod Marinellli who seems to have the defense clicking much more consistently than last year when Lovie ran the show.

While the offense managed just one touchdown, they had a different assignment on Thursday and accomplished it exceedingly well: keep the ball. The way the Bears defense was playing, it became clear early on that if the Bears could simply maintain possession, the Dolphins wouldn't have enough time for their banged up offense to catch up. By going 10-for-18 on third downs, Cutler and the Bears were able to nearly double up the Dolphins--they had the ball for 37 minutes.

The Bears were able to build an early lead on the strength of two Robbie Gould field goals, and he added another in the third quarter. Forte's touchdown scamper--which was nice to see on a third down from inside the five yard line--essentially put the game away late in the third. Cutler didn't do a whole lot, but he didn't have to; he was successful on third downs and helped the Bears control the ball. As usual, he made one bad mistake when he threw off his back foot right to a Dolphins defender. I don't know what it is with Cutler, but he really loves to throw off his back foot. It's like he has a constant inner ear infection that throws his equilibrium off and makes him lean backwards at all times. But oh well. One mistake in 60 minutes of action on three days' rest isn't too shabby.

So with back-to-back wins as an underdog, the Bears have recouped the two losses they had as favorites against Seattle and Washington. They're a solid 7-3 and remain tied with the Packers for the division lead. With only six games left on the schedule, things are becoming at least a tad bit more clear. Wins against the Vikings and Lions would get the Bears to nine wins, and a victory in Week 17 against the Packers would get them to 10. The Packers also have the Vikings and Lions on their remaining schedule, along with the 49ers. On the bright side, they have to play the Falcons, Patriots and Giants as well.

It should be a fun finish to the season, and that Week 17 game could loom incredibly large. For now, the Bears get some extra rest and then host the red-hot Eagles.

Hey Davone Bess, I think Danieal Manning would like to say hello:

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