Across the Middle With Andrew Dannehy

| November 18th, 2015


• I honestly don’t know what to make of the Bears win over the Rams. I want to feel great about it, but I’m scared. Are we sure the Rams aren’t just terrible? It reminds me of last year when the Bears beat Atlanta 27-13, largely because Atlanta’s receivers couldn’t catch. This time it was largely a matter of the Rams quarterback not being able to throw. The Bears deserve credit because they were supposed to be among the worst teams in the league and they’re clearly not. But we won’t really know if this team is good until after Thanksgiving.

• The Bears defensive line hasn’t gotten enough credit for keeping Todd Gurley in check. I found it interesting that they played Jarvis Jenkins almost strictly as a pass-rusher – only eight snaps against the run, He was replaced by Mitch Urein and Bruce Gaston.

• I know it’s popular to say Adam Gase is going to be a head coach next year, but where? Don’t rule out Dan Campbell staying in Miami and, even if he doesn’t, I don’t know why Gase would want to go there. That leaves Tennessee along with probably St. Louis, Cleveland, San Diego, Detroit and possibly San Francisco, New Orleans and Jacksonville. Out of those teams, I see Tennessee and Jacksonville as the most appealing, but that’s assuming he likes their young quarterbacks. He’s had a lot of interviews already and has gotten just one job offer, which he turned down. Maybe he finds the right fit next year, I just don’t think that should be assumed.

• Gase gets a lot of credit for making Cutler a better person and an acceptable quarterback, but is Cutler really that different than he was before? He struggled last year, but he was great in 2013 and in both 2010 and 2011. Even in a year he struggled, he accounted for 30 touchdowns in 15 games with complete disfunction around him.

• Last week, when I said Cutler has been better than Aaron Rodgers, it may have been controversial. This week, it isn’t even debatable. Even Packers fans are on board with it:

• I’m not convinced the Bears are worse off against Brock Osweiler than Peyton Manning. That would be, of course, assuming Manning was somewhat healthy. I know his arm is dead, but he can still make throws within 10 yards and doesn’t get fooled. I have no idea what throws Osweiler can make, but the chances of the Bears tricking him into a mistake are much greater. Remember, Manning shredded a decent Packers defense a couple of weeks ago. Osweiler might never have a game as good as Manning did that night. Osweiler threw one interception last week and should’ve thrown three more. And, come on, the dude’s name is Brock Osweiler, there’s no way he’s going to be good.

This Still Doesn’t Make Sense

How has the Bears defense looked so bad on their first drives and so good on every other drive the last two weeks? Over the last two weeks, the Bears have given up 624 yards and 32 points, 23 percent of the yards and 44 percent of the points they’ve allowed came on the first drives.

It isn’t just that they’ve given up long touchdown drives, it’s that they’ve looked completely lost. Receivers were running wide open and the Bears defenders looked like they walked into the wrong classroom. Then, all of a sudden, they’re good. How can that be?

I’ve blamed the coaches for not having the team ready, but those same coaches deserve credit for how they’ve been able to correct the mistakes. I just don’t get how they can look so bad and then, all of a sudden, so adequate.

Player of the Week

Zach Miller. How many second tight ends could make the play he made for the 87-yard touchdown? He didn’t just out-run defensive backs, he out-ran good defensive backs. He was a quarterback in college and was once timed at 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash, speed you saw on that play. That was only one play, but he caught another touchdown and was terrific as a blocker.

Goat of the Week

Jeff Fisher. Trailing 27-13, he elected to attempt a fake punt on fourth-and-seven at their own 23. Unexpected? Sure. Smart? Absolutely not. They didn’t get it, because of course they didn’t, and the Bears pretty much clinched the game with a field goal.

Why not kick it and trust your top-10 defense? Get a stop and try to score again. If they did, they would’ve been within a touchdown. If they got another stop, they would’ve had the ball with a chance to tie the game. Of course, that was when they were already losing big. Fisher just didn’t have his team ready to play and I suspect he won’t be their coach for long.

Bold Prediction for Week 11

Adrian Amos is going to get the first interception of his career and return it for a touchdown.

Tagged: , , , , ,