Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 2nd, 2015


• The Bears should have been running into a buzz saw. The Packers seemed to right whatever was wrong with them four days earlier, the weather conditions suited them perfectly and it was a night in which they honored one of the greatest players in their franchise’s history. Shit, Ron Wolf even referred to the field they were playing on as the house that Favre built. At no point did I think the Bears were going to win until about five seconds after — waiting for a flag — Aaron Rodgers’ fourth down pass hit the ground. How sweet it is.

• This wasn’t just a win for the Bears and it wasn’t just a loss for the Packers. The times are a changin’ in the NFC North and both teams know it.

• One sign that this was possible heading into the game was how much the Packers players were complaining about having to play on four days. Their offensive linemen were bitching about it, while Matt Slauson said he was looking forward to it. The Bears aren’t anywhere near as talented as the Packers but they’re tougher because John Fox is their coach.

• Outside of the game itself, the best thing I saw last week was Fox dancing with his players in the locker room. That said, it makes me a little worried that they celebrated this win too hard. How many times have we seen a team come off of a big win and then suffer a big loss the next week?

• The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn spoke to scouts who noted the differences in Cutler from the past and this year, but I still don’t buy it. One scout made a great point about Cutler holding onto the ball with both hands in the pocket, but that’s really the biggest difference. He was always difficult to sack. Jared Allen even once said he was the most difficult quarterback for him to sack. Is his play really that different from what we saw in 2013? Keep in mind that a handful of his interceptions came off of deflected passes that year. Go back and watch in 2011 and most of 2010. He really isn’t that drastically different.

In another piece, an assistant coach McGinn spoke to said the Bears offensive line is “from tackle to tackle, physical as hell”.

• While NBC tabbed them as their Players of the Game, I didn’t think Jay Cutler or Tracy Porter played particularly great. They were both good, no question about that, but both had flaws. Porter was two dropped passes away from giving up two touchdowns. Cutler had one interception dropped and a few more close passes. They both made big plays when they needed to, but I thought both were better against Denver.

This Still Doesn’t Make Sense

Eddie Lacy and James Starks combined to average about 6.3 yards per carry, but only had 23 rushes. Meanwhile, they averaged just 4.5 yards per pass attempt (counting sacks and runs by Rodgers), but attempted to throw the ball 49 times.

The Bears couldn’t match the Packers physicality up front, but, for some reason, the Packers didn’t ask them to. It is truly puzzling. Rodgers went into the final drive with 137 passing yards. He also had one interception and could’ve easily had three if not for a bad call and Bryce Callahan letting another go through his hands.

Player of the Week

Chris Prosinski. Prosinski made three plays that likely changed the outcome of the game. The biggest one that people have pointed to was the forced fumble, coming from behind Lacy to knock the ball free. The Bears then scored the tying touchdown.

On the Packers next possession, it looked like James Starks was going to have an easy touchdown on a screen pass as Prosinski had to beat two Packers linemen to make the tackle. And then he did just that.

On Tracy Porter’s interception, Prosinski merely got in the way and it was genius. At first glance, I thought it was an accident, but on the replay you can clearly see Prosinski change his direction, taking a step to the side and into Davante Adams’ way. The second part of that was that Prosinski got out of Adams’ way, avoiding contact for a penalty that would’ve wiped the interception out. All Porter had to do was catch the ball.

Goat of the Week

Mike McCarthy. He’s been mostly avoiding blame for the play calling, but it was his choice to give up that duty and the Packers are worse off. But that isn’t even his biggest problem. It appears he is losing the locker room and that kind of loss is a big hit.

I believe it was Bill Walsh who said that no coach should stay in one place too long because the team tunes them out. McCarthy likes to act like a tough guy and wants a tough team, but he doesn’t have it. The veterans, many of whom started on their Super Bowl team, don’t want to play on short weeks and don’t like getting hit in the mouth. Packers blogger Aaron Nagler said it best:

When it became a fight, the Packers were done. That’s a reflection on their coach. McCarthy is a good coach, but it might be time for him to move on.

Bold Prediction for Week 13

The Bears defense takes another huge step in the right direction, intercepting Blaine Gabbert three times in a shutout win.

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