Bears

Moon: Examining the playoffs

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Moon: Examining the playoffs

Things that come to mind as second-round playoff games conclude

The Green Bay Packers losing doesnt make the Bears any better and doesnt undo four Bears losses to them in a calendar year. But before Jay Cutler's injury, the Bears were a consensus threat to the Packers (which the Giants certainly turned out to be as well) and it does suggest that the NFC North is not as out of reach as worst-case thinking would suggest. And:

--Green Bay lost two of its last three games started by Aaron Rodgers.
The only Rodgers win since Dec. 11 was against the Bears

--Jermichael Finley is up for unrestricted free agency. So is Marques Colston, tag pending

--You have to be very good at something to be thinking about championships.

Baltimore and San Francisco rank 3-4 on defense; New York is 27 and the Patriots No. 31. But the Pats are No. 2 in offense, the Giants No. 8.

Defense doesnt necessarily win championships but a lack of one can keep you from winning one. The obvious difference between the 2010 Packers that won a Super Bowl from a start in the wild-card round and the 2011 one that was more than the turnovers. It was a defense that was shredded to the point of coach Mike McCarthy feeling compelled to try trickery in the form of an onsides kick (failed) to open Sundays second half.

Theres a significant couple of buts here, however.

Nine of the top 15 offenses for total yardage qualified for the playoffs. Only six of the top 15 defensive units were among the 12 playoff teams.

Mike Martz-ing

Mike Martz has philosophical differences with more than just Lovie Smith. The game-winning performances of tight ends alone (Vernon Davis in San Francisco, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez in New England, even Jimmy Graham for New Orleans all season) point to Martz choosing not to use a major component of good offense.

The unfortunate reality is that the Bears had an effective modern tight end and were effectively forced to trade him away because he had no future in the offense as being cobbled together by Martz

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

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USA TODAY

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Who deserves the blame in the Bears loss to Miami?

David Haugh, Adam Jahns and Patrick Finley join Kap on the panel. The Bears lose a rough one in Miami as Matt Nagy goes conservative at the end zone. Does the rookie coach deserve all of the blame? Dave Wannstedt joins the guys to discuss.

Plus the guys discuss the Cubs’ newest hitting coach/scapegoat, Brandon Saad’s upcoming healthy scratch and Bobby Portis betting on himself this season. 

Listen here or in the embedded player below!

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

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USA TODAY

Akiem Hicks makes Pro Football Focus Team of the Week after strong game against Dolphins

The Bears defense was not its usual self in their overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The pass rush was minimal and tackling looked optional, and Brock Osweiler threw for almost 400 yards.

There was plenty of blame to go around, but a few individual defenders had success while their teammates struggled.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks made the Pro Football Focus Team of the Week for Week 6 with a 92.2 overall grade.

He recorded seven tackles that resulted in a defensive “stop,” the most of any defensive lineman according to PFF.

Chicago’s next highest-graded player was cornerback Kyle Fuller (78.2), who intercepted Osweiler twice but also missed two tackles.

Offensively, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel led the way with a 76.9 mark. PFF credited four of his five catches coming against Dolphins cornerback Torry McTyer in coverage.

Meanwhile, outside linebacker Khalil Mack had the lowest-graded game of his career (47.8), while linebacker Danny Trevathan (29.9) and safety Adrian Amos Jr. (47.5) each had their second-worst games.

Some of the Bears’ best players were at their worst in Miami. They’re going to need to get their act together for the New England Patriots on Sunday.