Across The Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| December 9th, 2015


• The loss to the 49ers was flat out Trestmanesque and absolutely unacceptable. I’m not mad because they lost. I’m mad because their performance, regardless of the outcome, was not acceptable. Coming off of a big win with extra time to rest and prepare against a bad West Coast team playing a noon game, there was absolutely no reason for that game to have even been close, much less a loss. As much credit as we all gave John Fox after the win over the Packers, he deserves a ton of blame for this loss. He didn’t have his team focused and ready to go.

• I get that Robbie Gould is the whipping boy. He has to make that kick, but I  also don’t really care that he missed it. They didn’t deserve to win. That said, I don’t put 100 percent of the blame for the miss on Gould. Look at the last two attempts, both of the snaps were awful (more on that later). So, lining up for a game-winner he’s thinking about where the snap is going to be and if Pat O’Donnell can even get it down for him to kick it in addition to doing his job. He still has to make the kick and that’s no excuse, but he didn’t lose the game. They were asking him to win one that they really had no business winning.

• Gould certainly isn’t as much to blame for the loss as Adrian Amos. Nobody cares if he thought Gabbert was going to slide, hit him anyway. A penalty there doesn’t lose the game. Then, in overtime, everybody else on the defense knew what the 49ers were doing, what was Amos thinking? He’s been awesome this year, but that was a horrendous game.

• Hroniss Grasu might become a great center one day, but the Bears absolutely need to bring Will Montgomery back to compete with him. Grasu has a long way to go.

• Jay was just off, but he still made more big plays than mistakes. One has to wonder how much his missing brother-in-law was on his mind during the game. How could it not be?

• Through 12 games the Bears are scoring 20.9 points per game, compared to the 21.1 they scored through 12 games last year. With Cutler, the Bears score just over 23 points per game, but that still isn’t much of an improvement. I understand that there are a lot of variables, but most of them — injuries, garbage points, etc. — pretty much even out, especially when you consider the fact that Gase is getting superior quarterback play and help from the defense. The most alarming sign for the Bears is that they’re not getting better. It’s going to be hard for an organization to justify hiring an offensive coordinator with a unit that ranked in the bottom-10 in the league as its head coach.

• Speaking of that defense, you can’t give up three touchdowns to this 49ers team and call it a good day. Just can’t. Gabbert can play a little. He’s not an ideal starter, but I don’t think he’s worse than Brock Osweiler or Teddy Bridgewater. My issue with the Bears struggles isn’t as much Gabbert as the fact that he doesn’t have any good players around him and they still scored three touchdowns.

• I’m not surprised to see Marty Bennett on IR. He was clearly hurting against the 49ers. I give him credit for toughing through it. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the last game he played for the Bears.

• Just like the 49ers, the Redskins aren’t good. They have a quarterback who makes more mistakes than plays and can’t run the ball. But, they have a good defense. I have no idea what to expect in this game.

This Still Doesn’t Make Sense

Last week the Bears made a surprise move cutting long snapper Thomas Gafford and replacing him with Patrick Scales. They said they had issues with their snort-snapping game but nobody else really noticed those issues. If they didn’t exist before, they sure as hell do now.

Scales was horrendous. The 51-yard field goal that Gould made only happened because O’Donnell caught a snap that was almost over his head. The 40-yarder that Gould missed only missed because Scales was low and inside on the snap and O’Donnell couldn’t get it down in time.

When it comes to long snappers, you don’t fix what isn’t broken, but that’s exactly what the Bears tried to do. Now, it is broken and they better fix it.

Player of the Week

Eddie Goldman just keeps getting better and, at this rate, he’s going to become an absolute monster by the start of next season. Goldman was great in this game and managed two sacks while playing a position that isn’t supposed to get sacks. He’s supposed to just be a run-stuffer, but he has 4.5 sacks this season and ranks eighth — tied with Ndamukong Suh — in PFF’s pass-rush productivity, which has weighted values for hurries, hits and sacks.

Another reason to be happy with Goldman: He’s just 21 years old. Players who are just barely the legal drinking age aren’t supposed to be able to battle in the trenches like he does. I’m excited to see how much better he gets with a full offseason in an NFL weight program.   

With Goldman, McPhee, Callahan, Fuller and Amos, it’s looking more and more like the Bears have a big chunk of their core going forward.

Goat of the Week

Josh Bellamy. Bellamy had a chance to show he was more than just a good special teams player and, really, just proved the opposite.

On the Bears first drive, Cutler seemed to miss Bellamy a bit, but it was the perfect chance for the young wide receiver to show he could make a play. He jumped up, got both hands on the ball and just dropped it. It would’ve been a contested catch, but a catch he has to make.

Of course, that wasn’t his biggest mistake. On the wide receiver screen that was intercepted, Bellamy was supposed to block Jimmie Ward. Any time a receiver whiffs on a block on a screen, the play is going to be disastrous and that’s what happened.

Add in the two penalties and you see how big a step down the Bears had from Marq Wilson to Bellamy. I’d prover to see Cameron Meredith get his offensive snaps in the future.

Bold Prediction for Week 14

A week after having his first career touchdown taken away from him, Bryce Callahan gets one against the Redskins, taking an interception back for a score.

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