Five Things We Learned: Bears-Packers
September, 14, 2012
By Jeff Dickerson | ESPNChicago.com
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesJay Cutler was under duress over 40 percent of the snaps on Thursday.GREEN BAY, Wisc. -- Here are five things we learned following the Chicago Bears' 23-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers:
1. Jay Cutler allowed himself to get rattled: I don't care about Cutler yelling at J'Marcus Webb (more on him later) but can he please stop throwing the ball off his back foot and up for grabs into double coverage. The fact Cutler got little support from the offensive line or the running backs in pass protection is no excuse for being so reckless with the football. How can the Bears expect to beat teams like Green Bay when the quarterback is so careless? The answer is simple; they can't. Spare me the national outcry over Cutler's poor body language and salty demeanor. He's always acted that way and it will never change, so get used to it. However, Cutler can win games; it's a documented fact. But he's not taking the Bears anywhere if he keeps this up. You can't give away the football to a playoff caliber team, even if the blocking and scheme were both suspect in this one-sided defeat.
2. Webb is probably not going to get a holiday card from Cutler: The buzz word for J'Marcus Webb continues to be consistency. It's not as if Webb is bad on every single snap. He's not. But he allowed Cutler to get blasted on more than one occasion on Thursday night which only contributed to the quarterback's unhappiness. Every premiere pass rusher in the league is going to target Webb this season, so the Bears better find a way to either improve his performance, or make a switch to either Chris Williams or Jonathan Scott. I'm not trying to single out Webb: Chris Spencer got beat on a sack; Roberto Garza failed to snap the ball on time; and Gabe Carimi got flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty that stalled a drive. But Webb is going to get the most heat because Clay Matthews almost popped a biceps muscle he flexed so much in this game. The quarterback cannot get sacked seven times, even if he perhaps held onto the ball too long or the coverage was excellent down the field. The line needs to bounce back in a hurry after this one, and it starts with Webb.
3. Bears can't fail to capitalize on opportunities if they want to beat a playoff team: The Bears left way too many plays on the field on offense and defense which ended up coming back to bite them. Lance Briggs simply cannot drop a sure interception at the end of the first half that allowed Green Bay to keep their drive alive and kick a field goal. Same for Brandon Marshall, who dropped a sure touchdown in the back corner in the end zone in the second half that would've cut the Packers lead to 13-7. Instead, the Bears had to settle for a field goal of their own and never were able to really get in the game. If plays are there to be made, you need to make them, especially versus a team such as Green Bay.
4. Packers were smarter: Two plays stick out that prove Green Bay didn't just physically win the game, they also got the better of the Bears in the mental department. How in the world did Aaron Rodgers spot that the Bears had 12 men on the field early in the second quarter? That was a key play because after Rodgers forced Green Bay to challenge the call -- which they won -- the Packers were able to boot a field goal and put the first points of the game on the board. But that was nothing compared to the fake field goal that caught the Bears totally off-guard. It was just a terrific call by the Packers who caught the Bears trying to block the field goal and scored a huge touchdown which put them up 10-0. You couldn't script a better play.
5. Green Bay is a good spot for Cedric Benson: Benson ran angry on Thursday night, something we rarely saw when he was in Chicago. His 116 yards were a big help to the Packers who hardly ran the ball in their Week 1 loss to San Francisco. Benson can play. Don't forget he's rushed for over 1,000 yards for three straight years, and also had that monster game against the Bears in 2009 while a member of the Bengals. The Packers did well for themselves picking up Benson so late in the summer and should consider feeding him the ball more as the season wears on to take a little pressure off Rodgers. Benson was never a bad guy, just not always the best self-motivator. But he sure seemed fired up to face the Bears. If he ran that hard back in the day he'd still be on the Bears roster.