Free Head Exam: Chicago Bears*
January, 3, 2011
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
After the Chicago Bears' 10-3 loss to the Green Bay Packers, here are three issues that merit further examination:
- I'm not totally sure what to make of this, but I'm sure the Bears' playoff opponent will take note. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler has struggled throwing to the left side of the field all season. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Cutler finished the year ranked 27th among NFL quarterbacks in passes thrown outside of the left hashmark. Sunday, he completed six of 14 passes and threw both of his interceptions in that direction. I don't know if it's a mechanical issue, a matter of the Bears' scheme or if it's just happenstance. But it's worth monitoring.
- We haven't heard much about left tackle Frank Omiyale this season, which for offensive linemen is a good thing. But his whiff on Packers linebacker Erik Walden, leading to a crushing sack of Cutler, was a reminder that the Bears never intended for Omiyale to be their starting left tackle this season. He's part of a patchwork line that has held things together for the most part, but you would imagine that playoff opponents will poke and prod that group for weaknesses.
- If nothing else, the Bears will enter their playoff bye week with renewed confidence in their defense. The Packers had their own offensive problems Sunday, but certainly the Bears played a role in the Packers finishing with 10 points. Cornerback Charles Tillman's interception and 42-yard return was an elite-level play. The Bears also held the Packers' trio of tailbacks to 39 yards on 16 carries. Coach Lovie Smith said Monday that he didn't think the defense "ever went anywhere," but after giving up 34 points to the New York Jets last week, it was nice to have put that final performance on tape.
Kevin SeifertThe Bears enter the exam room feeling good about their defense.