The situation didn't lend itself to the Bears running the ball because they played from behind most of the game. The Bears actually averaged 5 yards per carry running the ball. The problem was the they called 45 passes compared to just 19 runs, so the Bears need to make the run/pass ratio more balanced. But that's tough to accomplish when you're playing from behind.
Jay Cutler completed less than 50 percent of his passes, and finished with a passer rating of 67.3. Even worse was the punishment he absorbed in taking six sacks. Cutler was sacked six times or more in just three outings last season, and Sunday's performance looked eerily similar to 2010. And running back Matt Forte shouldn't be the leading receiver for two straight weeks.
The longest single gain the Bears allowed was a 12-yard run by Mark Ingram, which is a positive. But New Orleans' rushing average (4.1) was much higher than Chicago tolerates. In addition, the Saints were able to run the ball 29 times, which means they were successful enough at it to continue doing it. The Bears like to make teams one dimensional, and that didn't happen on Sunday.
A week after shutting down one of the league's hottest young passers in Matt Ryan, the Bears allowed Drew Brees to pick them apart for a passer rating of 118.1 and three touchdowns. The front four wasn't able to generate sufficient pressure, allowing Brees plenty of time to throw. The Bears also appeared to endure a couple of mental busts from inexperienced safeties Major Wright and Chris Conte.
Kicker Robbie Gould booted a pair of field goals, while the coverage units neutralized a typically electric Saints return man in Darren Sproles. Punter Adam Podlesh finished with a strong net punting average of 43.6 yards. Chicago return men Devin Hester and Johnny Knox combined for an average of 25.7 yards on returns, but Hester lost 4 yards on his only punt return of the night.
This might be a case of the players simply not executing the game plan, because surely Chicago's offensive line knew the Saints would pressure Cutler. Defensively, the Bears tried to compensate by playing with extra defensive backs. But according to ESPN Stats & Info, Brees completed 13 of 18 for 170 yards and two touchdowns when the Bears utilized five or more defensive backs.
EXPERTS' PREDICTIONS FOR WEEK 2
- DeFalco (0-1)
- J.D. (1-0)
- Jon (1-0)
- Isaacson (1-0)
- Jurkovic (0-1)
- Silvy (1-0)
- Spain (1-0)
- Harry (1-0)
- Waddle (0-1)
- Wilbon (1-0)
- Woj (0-1)
- Wright (0-1)