Setting the Stage:
Bears, in the aftermath of the Khalil Mack trade with Oakland, are being hyped "'Superman' and the rest of those guys." Certainly, the trade underscores Chicago's reputation of a physical "rock 'em sock 'em" NFL team - third physical team in a row that the Cardinals have had to deal with. Meanwhile, the new Steve Wilks team has struggled to make itself feel comfortable learning a new philosophy, new system and (in many instances) new players in new roles. The Cardinals remind us of Rutgers (i.e. a so-so Independent college team that finds itself over its head as it competes on the same field as Ohio State)
Coach Wilks and veteran Cardinal leadership insist they will break out of their funk and elevate their game to winning NFL standards. We'll see.
Bears' Last Game
They took care of the Seahawks. 24 -17, building an early lead and hanging on to win by 7. Seemed to us that the game was decided on the basis of which team won the most sack + turnover battles. Both teams seemed inclined to cough up the ball, but, in the end, Bears prevailed
Seattle moved from their own 25 to the Bear 44 where they punted.
Bears fair caught the punt on their own 4 and Trubisky engineered a 10 play drive capped by a 3-yd TD pass from Trubisky to Burton. (Key Plays: 17-yd Trubisky scramble on 3rd & 6. Trubisky to Howard: +18-yds). Bears 7 - Seahawks 0
Seattle moved from its own 25 in 5 plays to its own 39. Punt returned to Chi 39.
Bears moved from its 39 to near-midfield in 6 plays to end the quarter.
First Quarter Score: Bears 7 - Seattle 0.
Bears punted 2 plays later. Punt fair caught at Seattle 13. Holding penalty and sack (Goldman) forced Seattle to go 3 & out and punt from its own 9.
Punt out of bounds at Bear 38. On first play of series, Trubiski's deep right pass for A Robinson II was intercepted and downed at the Seattle 24.
Seattle held to 3 & out. Punt returned to Chicago 33. Five plays later (at their own 44), Trubiski's pass for A Robbinson II was intercepted by Griffin and downed at the Bear 43.
On the first play of the Seattle possession, R Wilson was sacked by E Jackson for a minus-2 yd loss. Dickson shanked the punt (10-yds, O-O-B).
Bears moved from their own 49 to the Seattle 7, where their drive stalled and they settled for a 25-yd Parkey FG. (Key Plays: Trubiski to Cohen - +17-yds. A 2-yd run by Burton on a direct snap to convert a 3rd & 1 ). . Chicago 10 - Seattle 0.
1:07 till halftime. - Seattle moved from its own 25 to Chicago's 38 in 7 plays, where Janikowski's 56-yarder was good with 0:02 on the clock. (Big Plays: Wilson to Marshall for +18). Bears 10 - Seahawks 3.
Second Quarter Score: Bears 10 - Seattle 3.
Bears received. Drive derailed by minus-12 yd sack of Trubisky by Kendricks.
Punt was returned to the Seahawk 31. Seattle held to 3 & out. and punted from their own 33.
Punt returned to Chi 23. Chicago reached midfield in 8 plays before being forced to punt.
Punt fair caught at Seattle 8. Seattle held to 3 & out (again) and punted from their own 7.
Bears reached the Seattle 17 in 9 plays to end the quarter.
Third Quarter Score: Bears 10 - Seattle 3.
Two plays later, Trubiski completed an 11-play drive by hitting A Miller for a 10-yd TD. Bears 17 - Seattle 3.
TB on KO. Seattle moved from its own 25 to the Bears 19 before Wilson hit Lockette for a 19-yd TD. (Big Plays: Wilson hits Lockett for +20 yds - Lockett fumbles out of bounds). Bears 17 - Seattle 10.
(10:13) KO returned to Chi 15. Four plays and punt. Punt fair caught at Seattle 35. 4 plays later, Wilson's pass fdor Penny was intercepted (PIck 6) by Amukamara and returned 49 yds for a TD> Bears 24 - Seattle 10.
(6:37) TB on KO. On the fifth play from scrimmage, Wilson was sacked, Fumble was recovered by Floyd at Seattle 41.
(4:29) Bear ball at th Seattle 41. 3 & out.
2:42) Punt downed at the Seattle 1. A Wilson to Dissly completion moved Seattle to its own 43. 11 play drive continued to the Chicago 2, with Wilson hittiing Dissly for a 2-yd TD. Bears 24 - Seattle 17.
(0:14) Onside kick recovered by Chicago. Knee.
Final Score: Bears 24 - Seattle 17.
Last Game Stats
Passing - Trubiski was 25 of 34 for 200 yds and 2 TD's. He was intercepted twice. (Wilson was 22 of 36 for 226 yards, 2 TD's and 1 interception).
Receiving - Robinson II caught 10 for 83 yards. (next highest were Gabriel and Burton with 4 grabs apiece. Burton and Miller each had a TD.
Rushing - Howard carried 14 times for 35 yards. Trubisky scrambled 5 times for 24.
Fumbles - Bears were plus-one. (Recovered1/Lost none).
Net Punting Yds - Bears: 38.4 (Seattle: 36.9)
Tackles - Trevathan led the Bears in tackles with 8 followed by R Smith (9). Mack had 5 tackles, a forced fumble and a sack
Third Down Efficiency - Bears: 5 for 12 = 41%. (Seattle: 5 for 13 = 38%)
Net Yards Rushing: Bears 86 (Seattle: 74).
Sacked - Bears were sackedtwice/ Seattle was sacked 6 times (Trevathian (2), Mack, E Jackson, Lynch. Goldman, once apiece)..
Run to Pass Ratio: Bears 27:36/Seattle 22:42
Turnover Ratio Chicago: +2. (Bears 4 (+1 Int +3 fumbles). Sea 2 (2 Int 0 fumbles)
Bears in a Thumbnail
On face value: Compared to their opponents, Chicago seems to be more run oriented/stronger on defense. Their opponents are more effective throwing the ball. Trubiski is said to have the rookie jitters under center, but can occasionally gash opponents for big gains. Team has a +1 turnover ratio but defense has a 10 to 6 sack total. To have any kind of chance, Cards will have to at least hold the Bears even in individual physical battles while, at the same time leveraging the few one-on-one matchup advantages they might have.
Total First Downs .....38 33
Rushing ..................14 8
Passing ..................19 24
Penalty .... ....5 1
3rd Down Conversions 12/29 10/26
4th Down Conversions 1/3 0/1
Total Offensive Yards 596 710
Rushing Yards 225 143
Rushing YPC 4.2 3.6
Passing Yards 371 567
Comp/Att/Int 48/69/2 ...46/73/2
Sacked 6 10
FG 4/4 2/2
TD’s 5 5
Turnover Ratio ........+1
QB ..10 Trubsiki...04 Daniel
RB.....24 Howard...29 Cohen...30 Cunningham|
FB....46 M Burton
WR1....12 A Robinsin....11 K White...83 Wims
WR2 ...18 Gabriel...17 A Miller...xx Bellamy
TE......80 T Burton ...88 Sims...84 Braunecker
LT.......72 Leno...79 Sowell
LG ..64Kush (68 Daniels)
OC ..65 Whitehair...68 Daniels
RG......75K Long...(68 Daniels)
RT ..70 Massie...69 Coward
Defensive Interior Line
DE - 44 Golden, 91 Mayowa, xx Z Moore,
DT - 90 Nkemdiche, 72 Pierre, G Smith
NT - 98 Peters, 95 Gunter
DE- 55 C Jones, 96 J Smith
SAM - 43 Reddick, 92 Gardeck
MLB - 57 Bynes, 51 Hodges
WILL - 20 Bucannon, 47 Turner
LCB - 21 Peterson, 26 B Williams, 39 Nichols
RCB - 28 J Taylor, 23 Benwikere
SS - 36 Baker, 30 Ford
FS - 41 Bethea, 38 Boston, 40 Tillman*
Matchup: Bear Passing Attack vs. Cardinal Pass Defense
Bears have decided to ride the wings of their young QB, Trubiski. He appears to us to be a "risk/reward" passer at this stage of his young career.. He appears to be more of a checkdown QB (5.4 YPC) than opposing QB's (7.8 YPC). Last week his favorite target was Allen Robinson II who caught 10 passes). Some say Trubiski still has the rookie jitters when under pressure.
The gaping hole in the Card secondary continues to be at the #2 corner opposite Patrick Peterson. (Cards are experimenting with Peterson seeing more action in zone schemes, but the new setup allows opposiing teams to exploit the Cardinal secondary by targeting their #1 receivers (who, otherwise, would typically removed from the passing game by PP21). Cards still don't appear comfortable learning to play together in the secondary in zone schemes. They get picked apart by short-passes - especially defending third down conversions. We don't like the Gabriel vs. J Taylor matchup
Cardinal pass rush hasn't performed to last season's standards (Main reason may be that, with Golden out. opponents have focused on containing Chandler Jones. Another may be that Washington and the Rams have good pass protecting OL's. Mayowa has picked up some of the slack, but, if Cards are to right the ship, their pass rush will have to be a whole lot better.
Key Matchups: Peterson vs. Robiinson II. J Taylor vs. Gabriel. Baker vs T Burton. Golden and C Johnson vs. Bear OL.
Matchup: Bear Rushing Attack vs. Cardinal Run Defense
For the first time in three weeks, the Cardinals won't be up against a bruising star RB - like A Peterson or Gurley). But statistically, Bear runners have averaged 4.2 per carry (vs. 3.6 ypc for their opponents). Better run defense should, in turn,enable our safeties and LB's to play a more balanced scheme to defend against the pass.
Key Matchups: Howard and Cohen (sounds like a law firm) vs. Bynes or Hodges, Peters or Gunter.
09 Bradford, 03 Rosen, 07 Glennon
23 D Johnson, 29 Edmonds, 22 Logan, 32 Coleman
WR - 11 Fitzgerald, 13 Kirk, 16 Sherfield
WR - 16 C Williams, 14 Nelson,
TE1 - 86 Seals-Jones, 85 Holmes, 84 Gresham,
LT- 74 Humphries, 73 Wetzel, (79 Cunningham)
LG - 76 Iupati, 68 Vujnovich,
OC- 64 Cole, 62 Munyer
RG- 67 Pugh, (68 Vujnovich)
RT - 71 A Smith, 75 Clausell, 79 Cunningham
Defensive Interior Line
DE.......90 Bullard...95 Robertson-Harris
DT......96 Hicks...98 Nichols...97 N Williams
OLB....52 Mack..93 Acho...99 Lynch
ILB...59 Trevathan...45 lylegbuniwe
ILB....44 Kwiatkosk...58 R Smith
OLB...94Floyd....47 Irving...49 Fitts
LCB.....23 Fuller...31 Cooper...27 McManis
RCB....20 Amukamara...37 Callahan..22 Toliver II
S .....39 E Jackson...26 Bush
S......38 Amos Jr...36 Houston-Carson
Matchup: Cardinal Passing Attack vs. Bear Pass Defense
Sam Bradford (aka "Charlie Checkdown") hasn't been especially accurate or laser-armed. His receivers lose more than half their jump ball battles and seem to have "slippery hands.". The offensive line has not lived up to their preseason billing.
Meanwhile, Da' Bears (who used a top pick to draft pass rusher Roquan Smith) engineered a trade with Oakland for Kahil Mack (hyped as one of the top 5 if not #1 defensive talent in pro football). Said to leap tall buildings at a single bound, Mack is said to control the LOS and be good for at least one sack per game. He figures to put more pressure on a Cardinal passing attack that was struggling to hit its stride even without having Mack to contend with. (Note - Bear ILB, Trevathan (with 2 sacks) , was named NFL defensive player of the week.
Gresham's return to the lineup may provide Bradford the security blanket he's been missing thus far.
Fitzgerald vs Amukmara...Kirk vs. Fuller....Khalil, Trevathan and R Smith vs. Cardinal O-line
Matchup: Cardinal Running Attack vs. Redskin Run Defense
Cards are still having problems getting David Johnson the ball. Reason? At the risk of sounding snarky - I'd have to say "uncreative coaching."(More painful visits to the video-tape would also suggest that our run blockers are being ought-faught at the LOS). L
Cardinal OL vs. Travathan, Khalil and R Smith. D Johnson vs. E Jackson and Amos.
Bear Special Teams
K 01 Parkey
P 16 O'Donnell
H 16 O'Donnell
LS 48 Scales
KR 30 Cunningham...29 Cohen
PR 29 Cohen...xx Callahan
Cardinals Special Teams
P - 02 Lee
K- 04 Dawson
H - 02 Lee
LS -46 Brewer
KR - 22 Logan, 14 Nelson
PR - 13 Kirk, 22 Logan
Matchup: Redskin Special Teams vs. Cardinal Special Teams
Lee and Dawson look to provide a solid presence in the Cardinal kicking and punting game. Logan, Kirk and Nelson are a trio of home-run hitters in the return game. Bear ST's don't appear to have any outstanding strengths or weaknesses (now watch them come out and smoke us)!
Dawson and Lee figure to have an edge over Parkey and O Donnell. Kirk and Logan have breakaway potential. Cardinal coverage teams have given up way too many yards. Kirk had a nice 4Q punt return vs.Washington. \
Like Wilks, Matt Nagy is a rookie HC with 10 years experience - all under Andy Reid (Philly and KC). His public statements seem more "real" than the coachspeak we too often hear coming out of Cardinal HQ
The Cards, under Steve Wilks, seem to stress soundness and stability over explosiveness, strategery and surprise. So far, Wilks' approach hasn't worked. We think the problem is - putting together a well-structured football plan and daring your opponents to outexecute you, your players have to be good enough to perform flawlessly within that system. Cardinal players aren't executing nearly as well as they need to, and it's making for dull, unimaginative football.
How to Beat the Bears
Run the ball. Put pressure on Trebisky. Avoid mistakes. Run plays away from Mack, Trevathan and R Smith.