Posts tagged ‘Eagles’
by Sean - posted Tuesday, September 30th, 2008
Over the past two years the Bears have proved to be an incredibly maddening team no matter who is under center. And in typical Bears fashion they did not disappoint last night on the lakefront with an up-and-down affair against the Philadelphia Eagles.
I am not sure if I should be more overjoyed at a win keyed by a goal-line stand with the game on the line in the fourth quarter, a stand that effectively saved the Bears season, or more upset that this team isn’t 4-0 right now.
But then again, they just wouldn’t be the Bears if they made this easy on us. So as we do after every game we look at the keys in five…
1) Not this time!
Late in the fourth quarter, the opposing team with first and goal inside the Bears 5 and the Bears on the verge of needing a game tying drive… I feel like we’ve seen this before.
But unlike two weeks ago against the Panthers the Bears defense rose to the occasion and stuffed the Eagles on four straight plays. Not enough can be said about what might turn into a season defining set of downs. The play of the entire defense was inspired, with the most credit going to Alex Brown whose effort to catch Correll Buckhalter from behind on 4th and goal saved the game.
It’s evident that the injury to Tommie Harris and a still somewhat unsettled secondary situation may keep this unit from being as dominant as they once were. But what they proved Sunday night is that they are more than capable of being dominant enough to win.
2) Yes, this time!
Late in the fourth, the Bears facing third and short and needing the conversion to seal a victory… I feel like I’ve seen this before too.
But once again unlike last week where the Bears ran Kyle Orton out on a bootleg, they gave it to their best player Matt Forte. Forte proceed to shed a tackler and put a move on Pro Bowler Brian Dawkins that allowed him to pick up the first down and effectively seal the game.
When the game is on the line you need to put the ball in your best player’s hands. That’s the mistake the Bears made in Carolina when they threw an ill-fated WR screen and then handed the ball to Jason McKie. It’s also the mistake they made against the Buccaneers when they left the ball in Orton’s hands.
When it’s crunch time Matt Forte gets the ball. Period.
3) See-saw Orton
So much for that mistake-free game-manager image Kyle Orton had, huh?
During the second half of the Buccaneer’s game and the first half against the Eagles Kyle Orton threw for over 300 yards, five touchdowns, and just one interception. But during the other two halves in those games he threw for under 150 yards and turned the ball over five times. Yikes!
I thought Orton was supposed to be the calm, ball-security answer to Bad Rex? Instead about the only difference I see so far is that Orton is capable of playing really good and really bad within the same game.
Orton has made obvious strides since 2005, but his inconsistencies and turnovers right now can still cost the Bears games. That is going to continue to hold him and the rest of the team back.
4) Injuries taking hold?
Fresh off the injury-decimated campaign of 2007 it would be fair for Bears fans to be a little over sensitive to the team’s current injury situation.
Far and away the most concerning injury is that of Tommie Harris, who was inactive Sunday night. The Bears just invested four years and $40 million in Harris and I’ve long maintained he is the second-most important player on this defense. If he is going to have knee problems all season long it’s going to be a serious issue.
Also concerning were the in-game injuries to Brandon Lloyd and Charles Tillman.
Many of the Bears defensive schemes were altered last year after Nathan Vasher went down with a torn groin muscle, and the same could hold true if the Tillman injury is serious. Without him the Bears have to dial back the aggressiveness and play their more conventional Cover-2, a move that was widely criticized last year. Tillman’s absence really could prove to be critical given everything he does on defense and special teams.
The loss of Lloyd could be equally crucial to the Bears offense. Lloyd was the only wide receiver that opposing defenses truly had to respect, and his budding connection with Kyle Orton created a legit passing threat. Now the Bears must rely on a collection of third and forth wideouts that won’t scare anyone. For the entire offenses sake, Lloyd needs to make a speedy recovery.
5) The view from the top?
Given the preseason hype of the Vikings and the early play of Aaron Rodgers it’s hard to imagine that 2-2 is good enough to have the Bears tied for first in the NFC North. And with half of their remaining games against divisional rivals the Bears will have a lot of say on if they remain there.
Still the next few weeks heading into the bye are crucial. Because of a brutal closing schedule that includes at Vikings, Jaguars, Saints on a short week, Packers, and at Texans the Bears need to build up a cushion now against some weaker opponents.
It all starts with a trip to Detroit where the Bears can avenge two inexcusable losses to the Lions last year. But the Lions are coming out of a bye week and just removed albatross Matt Millen. The game sets up to be a classic let-down game, so if the Bears are going to make that goal line stand mean something they have to carry it with them to Detroit.