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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 still have much to prove after disappointing loss to Patriots

Bears still have much to prove after disappointing loss to Patriots


 Beating the, arguably, best coach and quarterback pairing in NFL history is a difficult enough task. Trying to do it while allowing two touchdowns on special teams? Good luck. 
 
The Bears will leave Soldier Field frustrated with their 38-31 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday for a number of reasons, but top of the list will be Cordarrelle Patterson’s 95-yard kickoff return score and a blocked Pat O’Donnell punt that was raced into the end zone by Kyle Van Noy. A special teams unit that had been solid all year — and forced a fumble on a Patterson kickoff return in the first quarter Sunday — suddenly became a disaster, allowing an uncharacteristically undisciplined Patriots side back into the game, and then ahead in it. 
 
Add in an inaccurate game from Mitch Trubisky — who completed 26 of 50 passes for 333 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions — and an uneventful afternoon for Khalil Mack and the pass rush, and the Bears had to scratch and claw to hang with New England. 
 
Interestingly, after all week hearing from Bears coaches and players about how they couldn’t let the Patriots take them out of their own game, it felt like Bill Belichick and Tom Brady did exactly that. Mack frequently dropped into coverage — but so did Leonard Floyd, so maybe it wasn’t all about Mack’s injured ankle. While Brady frequently got the ball out quick, when he didn’t he was rarely pressured. 
 
And on offense, Taylor Gabriel had the same number of targets (one) as offensive lineman Bradley Sowell until midway through the fourth quarter. Trubisky dazzled with his legs, covering over 70 yards on an eight-yard touchdown run and dancing his way to a 39-yard scramble that set up a touchdown in the third quarter. 
 
But Trubisky’s struggles were clear, with the second-year quarterback throwing two ill-advised passes that should’ve been picked off in the end zone and then underthrowing Anthony Miller in the fourth quarter, allowing Patriots safety Jonathan Jones to make a tremendous interception. New England drove 96 yards after that pick into the end zone, with Brady taking apart a defense that missed two tackles on a 55-yarder to Josh Gordon, extinguishing any hope the Bears had of a comeback.
 
While Trubisky did lead a scoring drive after Adrian Amos assisted Kyle Fuller for an interception, cutting the deficit to seven. And Trubisky nearly pulled off a miracle with a Hail Mary to Kevin White, which was completed just shy of the end zone. 
 
The loss dropped the Bears to 3-3 and heaps plenty of pressure on Matt Nagy’s side to win seemingly-winnable games in the next three weeks: At home against the New York Jets, on the road against the Buffalo Bills and at home against the Detroit Lions. But then again: When the Jets come to town next weekend, it’ll have been nearly a month since the Bears’ last win. How the Bears fare over these next three games will be a clear window into if this team is a legitimate contender or one that faded after a strong start. 

WATCH: Mitchell Trubisky runs like Michael Vick for 8-yard touchdown

WATCH: Mitchell Trubisky runs like Michael Vick for 8-yard touchdown

The New England Patriots defense wasn’t giving Mitchell Trubisky many options through the air, so he decided to take matters into his own hands at Soldier Field.

The young quarterback’s legs were the Bears’ most-effective weapon in the first quarter, as Trubisky led the team with 35 rushing yards on four carries in the opening period of play.

He capped it off with an eight-yard touchdown scramble that had him looking like Michael Vick on the field.

The Bears will need to have a more well-rounded offensive attack to keep up with teams like the Patriots, but Trubisky found what was working in the first quarter.

Perhaps most importantly, he’s been smart and safe with his running, opting to slide and go to the ground on his big plays to avoid any big hits.

His legs continue to make this offense more dynamic, to keep up with top-notch opponents like New England.