Monday, October 1, 2007
Lovie says Griese will start Sunday at Green Bay
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Different quarterback, same result.
The Chicago Bears hoped Brian Griese would spark their offense.
Instead, he was no better than Rex Grossman.
Griese's performance in Sunday's 37-27 loss at Detroit probably
raised as many questions as it answered, but coach Lovie Smith
clarified a few issues on Monday.
"Brian is our quarterback, yes," he said when asked if Griese
will start the next game.
And Smith was emphatic about something else. He won't seek an
offensive consultant's help.
"No, absolutely not. Next question," he said.
There are plenty surrounding the defending NFC champions, with
many centered on what was expected to be a more balanced and more
prolific offense. Instead, the Bears (1-3) are staggering into this
week's game at NFC North leader Green Bay.
Not only did they lose to Detroit, they appeared to lose their
identity. Suddenly, the Bears became pass-happy.
Griese, making his first start with the Bears, completed 34 of
52 passes for 286 yards while throwing two touchdowns and three
interceptions. That's right: 52 passes, tied for third most in team
"It's not a good sign when the Bears are throwing 52 times,"
right tackle Fred Miller said.
Why did they?
"I think that's where we're all kind of scratching our heads
around here," Miller said. "We're not doing the same things that
we've done. I don't think we're getting enough running calls. In
the passing game, we're turning too many guys free and just making
mistakes that we don't normally make, especially the offensive
line. It's a little bit of everyone. I think everyone has taken
responsibility for it."
The Bears were ahead 13-3 going into the fourth quarter, but the
lead might have been insurmountable if Griese had not played like,
Chicago had first-and-goal at the Detroit 6 in the final minute
of the first half when Griese threw behind Bernard Berrian.
Fernando Bryant intercepted, and the Lions entered the break
trailing just 7-3.
The Bears wasted another big opportunity after Mark Anderson
sacked Jon Kitna on Detroit's first drive of the second half,
forcing a fumble that Brandon McGowan at the Lions 12. Once again,
Griese threw a pass intended for Berrian. And once again, it wound
up in Lions hands -- this time Ernie Sims picked it off.
The Lions pulled within 13-10 when Kitna hit Shaun McDonald with
a 4-yard pass on the first play of the fourth quarter. Three plays
later, the Lions faked a blitz, dropped into a zone and fooled
Griese. Cornerback Keith Smith jumped in front of another pass
intended for Berrian and returned it 64 yards for the go-ahead
Devin Hester's 97-yard touchdown return on the ensuing kickoff
momentarily gave the Bears a three-point lead, but Detroit was on
its way to an NFL record 34 points in the quarter.
Griese led the Bears on a 73-yard touchdown drive that pulled
Chicago within 30-27 with less than a minute left. The Lions
clinched it when Casey FitzSimmons returned the onside kick for a
The game ended in fitting fashion, when the Lions sacked Griese.
The question is: Did they also sack the Bears?
Two years ago, Chicago dropped three of the first four, but won
the division, albeit under different circumstances.
Kyle Orton was serving as a caretaker at quarterback while
Grossman recovered from a broken ankle, but otherwise the Bears
were healthy. The offensive line was holding its ground. The
running game was productive.
"It's about how we're going to respond," Griese said. "We've
got a big test coming up next week. For me, personally, I wouldn't
want to have it any other way for us to get things back on track."
The Bears expected big things on offense. Instead, it's a big
Cedric Benson continued to struggle, running for 50 yards on 15
carries against Detroit, and a veteran offensive line again showed
cracks. The quarterbacks aren't helping.
Grossman forced his way out of the lineup with six interceptions
and one touchdown, and Griese wasn't much better.
"I just think it's hard to find a lot of good in anything that
you do if you lose the game," Smith said.
On Sunday, Chicago was missing Pro Bowl linebacker Lance Briggs
(hamstring) and the entire secondary that started the season
opener. Safety Mike Brown suffered a season-ending knee injury in
Week 1, and safety Adam Archuleta (broken hand) and cornerbacks
Nathan Vasher (groin) and Charles Tillman (ankle) missed the Lions
game. And left tackle John Tait hurt his ankle.
2007 Season Stats