Bears

Moon: Rodgers asserting dominance over Bears

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Moon: Rodgers asserting dominance over Bears

Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011Posted: 12:50 p.m.

By John Mullin
CSNChicago.com Bears Insider Follow @CSNMoonMullin
The Bears-Packers relationship (rivalry is just tired at this point) has had some interesting pendulum swings. The Bears hope theyre not in one right now.

The Ditka Bears ruled the 80s. Brett Favre ruled the 90s and into the millennium, and Lovie Smith swung it back to Chicago with his 6-2 run vs. Favre.

Now the Aaron Rodgers time is upon the NFC North, and the Bears. He is 5-1 vs. the Detroit Lions, 3-3 vs. Minnesota and 5-2 against the Lovie Smith Bears, an abrupt and concerning reversal of fortunes. The bigger picture is that for one of the rare times in the long-shared history of the two teams, theyre both good at the same time. But thats another story for another time.

Rodgers was 2-1 against the Smith Bears in 2010; more importantly, the wins came in the two games with the most at stake: Game 16, which was a desperate must-win for Green Bay's playoff hopes, and the NFC Championship game with its ticket to the Super Bowl.

The Bears managed to hold Rodgers below his seasons passer rating (100.2) all three times they faced him. Thats the good news.

The bad news is that even with the level of familiarity that the defense has with Rodgers, only three quarterbacks (including Tom Brady and Michael Vick) put up ratings higher than the 89.7 and 92.5 ratings Rodgers put on the Bears. They improved in the NFC Championship game where they held him to a 55.4 rating based on two interceptions in his 30 attempts, made more remarkable because hed been picked off just 11 times in 475 attempts all season.

BTW, if youre paying attention to this sort of thing, the Packers called 28 running plays (including a Rodgers sneak and two kneel-downs) and 35 pass plays (four Rodgers scrambles) in the conference championship game.
Around the NFC North

The Packers (2-0) have injury problems of their own in the secondary all of a sudden, losing Pro Bowl safety Nick Collins done for the season with a neck injury suffered in the Green Bay win at Carolina. Collins left the field on a stretcher, waved to the crowd but this is a blow to the Packers and a scary moment for a quality player. The Packers were down 10-0 at the end of the first quarter and 13-0 before they started back.

The Detroit Lions (2-0) are close to being officially scary. It wasnt just the 48-3 annihilation of the Kansas City Chiefs coming after the week one win over Tampa Bay. It isnt even that the Lions now have won 10 straight games (final four last season, four preseason, two this year). Its that coach Jim Schwartz didnt seem especially delighted with the performance: We can play better.

The Lions will indeed play better if receiver Nate Burleson makes good on his goal of becoming the black Wes Welker, as described in some detail by Michael David Smith for ProFootballTalk.com.

Minnesota (0-2) keeps getting close to good teams but cant quite get over that hump. Week one it was at San Diego and Sunday it was against Tampa Bay. The Vikings, who put drives of 90 and 75 yards on the Bucs got out to a 17-0 lead on Tampa Bay before losing on a TD run with 31 seconds left.

Mikes likes

The Darren Sproles touchdown run not being reviewed properly in Sundays game was among the things ProFootballTalk.coms Mike Florio didnt like from the weekend as voiced on NBC SportsTalk. Mike also didnt like what he saw in the Seattle Seahawks 24-0 embarrassment vs. the Pittsburgh Steelers, but Bears fans had to seriously like that game and 8 first downs that Seattle managed.
Around the schedule

The Bears will very soon get a look at the early runaway favorite for offensive rookie of the year when they see the Carolina Panthers (0-2) the week after Green Bay. Cam Newton followed his 400-yard debut with a 432-yard effort against the Packers. Notable, though, is that Newton threw three interceptions, which is why his passer rating was a pedestrian 72.0. If those start to clean up.

The Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) lost Pro Bowl tailback Jamaal Charles to IR with whats reported to be a torn left ACL in the Detroit game. Right now the Chiefs are looking nothing like the AFC West defending champions.

The Oakland Raiders (1-1) became the latest victims of the suddenly dangerous Buffalo Bills. The eye-popper was that the Bills rushed for 217 yards on the Raiduhs, who saw their victory vanish on a Ryan Fitzpatrick TD pass with 14 seconds to play.

Kyle Orton just wont go away, much as some Denver Broncos (1-1) wish he would. Orton threw two TD passes in the Denver win over Cincinnati, playing a typical Kyle game with 15-of-25 passing for 195 yards and a passer rating of 111.2. The thing to keep an eye on is Willis McGahee, who rushed for 101 yards.
Must-see TV

Longtime buddy Jay Glazer of FOX Sports and FOX TV is going to be a featured segment on Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on HBO Tuesday evening at 9 p.m. I havent seen anything on it yet, but the Glaze is one of the better stories youll run across in all of sports.

Glaze has built up an entire MMA presence in addition to his work for FOX, which is among the best anywhere on the NFL. What makes Glaze all the more amazing a story is that there was a time when he couldnt get a job sniff from New York outlets (mostly newspapers at the time) even though he was whacking their beat writers (getting scoopage, as Glaze loved to call it) on a weekly basis as little more than a stringer.

Glaze and I go back quite a few years, had more than a few good times and thisll be fun to watch. Hes a good loyal friend in a business that doesnt use the words good, loyal and friend together often, if ever.

Glaze has his critics (who doesnt?) and I have no idea what tack Bryant and his folks will take. But nobody has ever worked harder than Glaze, whos earned a lot of respect from coaches, players and others within the NFL, and nobody ever gave him anything. He earned it.

Worth a look, trust me.

John "Moon" Mullin is CSNChicago.com's Bears Insider and appears regularly on Bears Postgame Live and Chicago Tribune Live. Follow Moon on Twitter for up-to-the-minute Bears information.

Bears film breakdown: Mitch Trubisky's amazing scramble, Marcus Cooper's soft coverage mistake

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Bears film breakdown: Mitch Trubisky's amazing scramble, Marcus Cooper's soft coverage mistake

Had Connor Barth not missed a 46-yard field goal that would've sent Sunday's Bears-Lions game into overtime, Mitchell Trubisky's 19-yard scramble on fourth-and-13 would've gone down as the biggest play the rookie quarterback made in 2017. Instead, Barth missed the kick, and the Bears couldn't force an opportunity for Trubisky to win the game in overtime.

But that scramble was incredible in its own right, even if it didn't lead to a tie ballgame and/or eventual victory. Here's how it happened:

The Lions rush three, with linebacker Tahir Whitehead (labeled No. 3 here) defending Benny Cunningham, who initially sticks in the backfield in pass protection. Detroit has four defenders playing man coverage against the Bears' four pass-catchers -- wide receiver Markus Wheaton and tight end Daniel Brown are at the top of the image, while wide receivers Kendall Wright and Dontrelle Inman are at the bottom. The Lions have three safeties playing deep with the Bears needing 13 yards to gain a first down. 

Trubisky drops back and doesn't spy anyone open. The yellow line is where the Bears have to get to for a first down, and instead of forcing a throw, Trubisky opts for a scramble drill. 

It doesn't start very well. Trubisky is pursued by defensive linemen Anthony Zettel and A'Shawn Robinson (blue arrows) and has no chance to scramble outside. There's a window created by Wheaton at the top of the screen (purple arrow) but there's no chance Trubisky could set and make that throw across his body now. Scramble it is. 

Trubisky stops on a dime and is able to avoid Zettel and Robinson, and cuts back to the middle of the field. Defensive end Cornelius Washington (red arrow) identifies where Trubisky is going and begins pursuing him. 

A hole opens up! But Washington is now quickly closing on Trubisky, who at this point still has to run about 17 yards to get the first down. It's not looking good. 

Somehow, Trubisky sheds Washington's tackle around the 42-yard line. He still has 10 yards to go, and now safety Miles Killebrew (red arrow) is closing on him. 

Killebrew overpursues to the boundary, and Trubisky is able to cut back to the middle of the field.

"He ran to my side and cut back and then made another guy miss, and I was like, oh s***, he’s really about to get this," Inman said. 

Killebrew whiffs, and Trubisky picks up the first down. 

"That’s his mentality," running back Tarik Cohen said. "Y’all got to see his mentality. That situation, fourth and 13, he’s not going down, not taking a sack, not throwing the ball away — he’s going to find a way to make a play, and he’s going to lead us to where we need to be." 

***

One of the game's most critical plays for the Bears' defense came midway through the second quarter. The Lions were backed up near their own goal line, and Leonard Floyd had just forced a Matthew Stafford incompletion with an excellent speed rush to the quarterback's blind side. The Bears defense seemed to be locking down on Detroit, and with a 10-point lead, forcing a punt here could've turned into more points by an offense that was having success in the first half. 

The Bears rush Floyd, Eddie Goldman, Akiem Hicks and Pernell McPhee (red circle), and have cornerback Marcus Cooper playing off Lions wide receiver T.J. Jones (orange line). Linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski (blue arrow) is going to sit in the flat. 

Jones gets to the sticks and sits down (orange circle), with Cooper still backpedaling. Kwiatkoski, perhaps, could've been a little deeper, but it doesn't appear that he's in the wrong spot. Also, tight end Eric Ebron has some open space just before the first-down line with safeties Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson (purple arrows) keying on him. 

The ball is in the air, and Cooper is about six yards off Jones, who's right at the first down marker. Kwiatkoski can't get to the ball, and Jones and Stafford easily converts the first down. Credit needs to be given to Jones for a savvy route and knowing exactly where he needed to go to pick up the first down. 

And this was a heck of a throw by Stafford, who in this frame is about to get hit by Goldman while Floyd is leaping to try to disrupt the throw. A good route, a great throw and poor coverage led to the Lions picking up a first down. This throw sparked something in the Lions' offense, too: Including it, Stafford had a run of nine completions in 10 attempts for 153 yards and two touchdowns before halftime. For the Bears' defense, this play was the beginning of one of the "siestas" coach John Fox said have plagued his team this year. 

***

One of the Bears' best designed and executed offensive plays on Sunday came midway through the fourth quarter in the red zone down by a touchdown.

Tre McBride was motioned to the hashmarks from the outside, and the Bears have fullback Michael Burton and tight end Adam Shaheen lined up to the field side (red circles). Zettel (yellow circle) is lined up well off left tackle Charles Leno's left shoulder. 

Trubisky sold this play well, planting his right foot and sort of turning his body toward the field. Zettel (orange arrow) bites hard on that fake and loses contain, while Shaheen, Burton and McBride (red arrows) all disguise the play as a stretch/toss to the field. Cohen (purple arrow) now has some open space to the boundary. 

In the top left corner, another player does his job to set up the play: Inman carries cornerback D.J. Hayden (blue circle) into the end zone, freeing up plenty of green grass for Cohen. Safety Quin Glover (gray arrow) now has to pursue Cohen toward the pylon. 

"(Inman) ran the DB off, so I knew I had to get to the pylon or if he’s going to meet me there first, I had to stop his feet," Cohen said. "So I gave him a hesitation move." 

That hesitation froze Glover just enough for Cohen to tee up this:

Wheeee! "I felt like I had a 44-inch vert," Cohen said. He's able to dive in the end zone and tie the game up in a critical spot. 

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did the Bears technically "win" on Sunday?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Did the Bears technically "win" on Sunday?

David Haugh (Chicago Tribune), Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times) and Patrick Finley (Chicago Sun-Times) join Kap on the panel.  Kap is happy that Mitch Trubisky played ok and John Fox’s team lost again.  The panel disagrees.

Plus Leonard Floyd doesn’t have an ACL tear…. Yet. Should the Bears shut him down even if he gets good news?