The Bears ended a somber week with a dismal finish against the Saints last week. New Orleans outplayed the Bears in a 30-13 loss on Sunday. Saints guided the momentum and controlled the game. The offensive line clearly struggled to protect Cutler and gave up 6 sacks. The defense lacked energy and seemed to play in slow motion around Brees this week.
Jerry Angelo commented on the lack of pass protection on ChicagoBears.com, “It was disappointing the way we played on offense in the second half. I thought there were two big turning points in the game, the deep pass versus us on third-and-long and the sack/fumble. It was a three-point game at that point and I felt we were playing pretty well in a very hostile environment. Anytime you play in a dome, the crowd noise definitely can have an adverse effect. After that point, the wheels started to come off. The mistakes we made led to five more sacks. It was obvious we didn’t handle the adversity of the game well enough.” While noise was probably a contributing factor, Angelo doesn’t make any excuses. He went on to say, “There are always lessons learned when you go through those situations and I’m confident and sure that we will learn from them, particularly handling the diversity of the blitzes that we saw and will probably continue to see going forward. That’s part of what Green Bay does well. So we’re going to get a real good test to see how far we have come this week.”
The Bears have their work cut out for them this week. The Packers have played strong, brought momentum into this season and have a “take no prisoners” attitude. The Bears need to harness that for themselves and fight for something.
Bears tight end, Matt Spaeth, will have his hands full on Sunday against the Packers. He knows what to expect, the ex-Steeler faced off against the Packers defense in February during the Superbowl.
Last year the Packers earned 11 sacks against the Bears, six in the season finale at Lambeau Field. So far this season, the Bears have allowed 11 sacks in two games. Bears’ offense needs to expect the defensive blitz. Cutler needs to anticipate the pressure, find his target and get rid of the ball. Forget optimism, let’s talk realism; the Pack is coming after you, Jay.
Cutler responded to questions after Sunday’s game regarding the physical toll sacks have taken on him. “I’m not worried about it,” he said. “We’re 1-1. There’s still a lot of football to be played. If this continues, then obviously we’re gonna have a problem. We’re gonna have to address it. But I’m looking forward to this game. I know the guys are gonna bounce back, as will I.”
Well, most of the guys will bounce back. Bennett was confirmed on the IR for an undisclosed torso injury. It’s not clear if Williams has recovered or if he will play against the Packers on Sunday.
In the meantime, Dane Santzenbacher will see increased field-time in Bennett’s absence. Knox and Hester will likely stand out as favorite receivers against the Packers. However, without a balanced offensive line, things look grim for the Bears this week.
The bright side? According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Packers defense leads the league in yards-after-catch allowed (367), with opposing receivers gaining 43.1 percent of their yardage after the catch. When the Packers blitz one or more defensive backs, they’ve netted just two sacks, while giving up one touchdown. In addition, opposing quarterbacks have completed 12 of 19 passes against the Packers when they bring one or more defensive backs as a rusher, for a passer rating of 111.5 and QBR of 98.3.
What that amounts to is this: Green Bay has given up 851 yards passing over the past two games. So, while the Bears may not be favored this week, they can rebound. They need to establish consistent performance.