Maryland Terps

Bears offense knows it needs to improve

201210222201792723857-p2.jpeg

Bears offense knows it needs to improve

CHICAGO (AP) Eventually, the Chicago Bears defense will need help.

The Bears hoped the running game and a diversified passing attack would come around to complement quarterback Jay Cutler's throws to Brandon Marshall on offense, but after four straight wins and a 13-7 victory over the Detroit Lions on Monday night they know they've got a ways to go to assist their ball-hawking defense.

``We're still trying to find our way on offense,'' Marshall said. ``There's some chemistry missing there, but you've got to expect that in a first-year offense.''

In a 41-3 win Oct. 7 over Jacksonville, the offense struggled through a poor first half. The offense started slow in a win over Dallas and against Detroit it started fast but bogged down and needed the defense to force four turnovers to preserve the win. With a difficult schedule coming up, the Bears know they'll need both aspects of the team functioning well.

``In the second quarter, we got a little stagnant but we adjusted well,'' Cutler said.

Cutler took a shot from Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh late in the first half and left briefly, but finished the game. He expects to play Sunday against Carolina when the Bears hope to be more productive against a defense ranked 24th overall and 20th in scoring.

The running game has shown signs of coming around after a slow start, but progress has been sporadic. Running back Matt Forte broke off a season-long 39-yard run in the first quarter to set up the only Bears touchdown. But the Bears were held to 62 rushing yards in the second half while protecting a 10-0 and then 13-0 lead.

The 171 rushing yards looked impressive, but 39 yards came from scrambles by Cutler and backup Jason Campbell as the offensive line had trouble protecting and opening consistent holes. The Bears put some of their inconsistency on Detroit's strong defensive front.

``We knew the front four was the strength of their team so we were going to have to basically beat them up up front so that we can get the running game going and the passing game,'' Forte said. ``We're starting to improve each week in the running game.''

Forte appeared to have injured his arm near the end of the game but the team said he'll be fine for the Carolina game.

``Hard fought game,'' coach Lovie Smith said. ``Guys will have bumps and bruises. But I don't think anyone is hurt seriously where they are going to miss any time.''

That included Cutler, who earned more respect for his toughness while surviving a strong Detroit pass rush.

``We all held our breath a little bit until he came back out there,'' linebacker Brian Urlacher said.

Cutler said he had trouble with his throwing motion after the injury and receiving a pain killer, and it's a problem the Bears will have to contend with against the Panthers.

``It was my right side, so trying to get my right side through was a little bit tough,'' he said. ``I missed some throws. I wasn't feeling exactly 100 percent, but we had to fight through it. The way our defense was playing, we were just trying to drag out the game.''

Quick Links

No. 19 Iowa pummels Maryland 23-0 for 3rd straight win

maryland-terps-iowa-hawkeyes.jpg
USA Today

No. 19 Iowa pummels Maryland 23-0 for 3rd straight win

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- On a day when the wind made nearly every play an ugly one, Iowa's defense looked beautiful.

Nate Stanley threw for 86 yards and a touchdown and 19th-ranked Iowa pummeled Maryland 23-0 on Saturday for its third straight victory.

Anthony Nelson added a TD on a fumble recovery for the Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten), who held the Terrapins to just 115 yards and seven first downs on a day when wind gusts topped 40 mph.

"I'm really happy with our team's performance. When you play a team like Maryland, they really pose some unique challenges for us and you factor in the conditions on top of that," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "I thought our guys did a really good job of being focused."

Those conditions seemed like they might favor Maryland and its run-heavy attack.

But Iowa's front seven never let the Terrapins' attack get going, and its offense used the ground game to grab an early lead and control the ball for more than 40 minutes.

After settling for a pair of short field goals, Iowa went into halftime ahead 13-0 after Stanley found Brandon Smith for a 10-yard TD grab -- which Smith made with one hand -- with eight seconds left in the second quarter.

Nelson, a defensive end, made it 23-0 Hawkeyes late in the third quarter by falling on a botched handoff from backup quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome in the end zone.

"They controlled the line of scrimmage up front. When we did try to run it up inside, they did a very good job of stopping us," Maryland coach Matt Canada said. "The wind really limited us being able to throw the ball down the field to loosen them up."

Ivory Kelly-Martin ran for 98 yards for Iowa, which had its first shutout since a 28-0 victory at Illinois two years ago.

Kasim Hill was 6 of 15 passing for 47 yards and a pick for the Terps (4-3, 2-2), who ran for just 68 yards after entering play averaging 245 a game on the ground.

All three of Maryland's losses have come by at least 21 points.

THE TAKEAWAY

Iowa: The Hawkeyes are really starting to round into form. If Iowa can upset Penn State next week in State College, talk of the Hawkeyes crashing the playoff party will only gain steam because they should be favored to win their last four games.

Maryland: The Terps' defense simply couldn't get off the field, time and again bullied by an Iowa offensive line that played arguably its best game yet. Illinois ran just 39 plays, compared with 76 for Iowa.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Iowa might make another big jump -- the Hawkeyes went from unranked to 19th last week -- after an utterly dominant performance. The Hawkeyes have won their last three games by 17, 26 and 23 points.

TURNING POINT

Maryland looked like it had a good shot at holding Iowa to another red-zone field goal late in the first half. But Byron Cowart got flagged for a personal foul following a Stanley incompletion from the Terrapins 22, and two plays later Stanley found Smith in the end zone.

PARKER HESSE CAN'T LOSE

Hesse, Iowa's senior defensive end, played perhaps the signature game of a brilliant career. Hesse knew exactly when to stay home and when to attack on Maryland's option plays, and he added a sack and two tackles for loss. "They give you a lot of different looks ... it all came down to what we did this week in practice," Hesse said. "Not to sound redundant or cheesy. That's just something you've got to practice."

THE NUMBERS

Ty Johnson was the only Maryland player with more than one catch. He had two, for two yards. Iowa was 9 of 18 on third downs and 3 of 4 on fourth downs. Tre Watson and Isaiah Davis combined for 29 tackles for Maryland. The Hawkeyes wore out Maryland with a 17-play drive in the first quarter that consumed nine minutes and ended with a 23-yard field goal from Miguel Recinos. "Our objective is to get off the field on third down. Unfortunately, we understand when those long drives happen, it's because we failed to do that," Watson said.

Quick Links

Redskins vs. Cowboys: The Highs and Lows from Week 7

Redskins vs. Cowboys: The Highs and Lows from Week 7

By the time these arch-rivals kicked off late Sunday afternoon for Week 7 at FedEx Field, this much was true: Either the Washington Redskins or Dallas Cowboys would end the day atop the NFC East thanks in part to the Philadelphia Eagles' fourth-quarter collapse. Should the Redskins win a second consecutive game for the first time since Week 15-16 last season, Washington would hold a 1 1/2 game lead.

Of course, week-to-week consistency hasn't been on the menu in 2018 even at home. 

The Redskins entered their first NFC East game of the season without Jamison Crowder, Paul Richardson, Chris Thompson and Quinton Dunbar, who popped up on the injury report late in the week with a shin injury.

Here's what went right and what went wrong in Week 7 between the Redskins and Cowboys.

Redskins vs. Cowboys: The Highs and Lows

FIRST QUARTER:

HIGHS: The Redskins entered Sunday 3-0 when scoring first, but 0-2 when the opponent generates a game’s initial points. Therefore, Kapri Bibbs taking a perfectly executed screen pass 23 yards for a touchdown on Washington’s first drive offers hope.

LOWS: Washington’s defense stopped Dallas on Fourth-and-1 from the Cowboys’ 45-yard line as D.J. Swearinger forced a fumble as quarterback Dak Prescott sought space. This good news lands in the bad section because the offense did nothing with the opportunity. They quickly punted without generating a first down on the brief drive.

The Redskins didn’t capitalize on similar opportunities against Carolina with a chance to create significant separation, and the Panthers nearly rallied in the second half.

SECOND QUARTER:

HIGHS:  Gameplans against the Cowboys offense go something like this: Stop running back Ezekiel Elliott. Not easy, of course; Elliott entered Week 7 second in the NFL with 586 yards. Therefore, credit the Redskins defense in the first half. Elliott had 13 yards on 10 carries. Inside linebacker Zach Brown, among the players consistently around in the fray on run attempts, had eight tackles in the first half.

LOWS: Rookie on rookie crime put Dallas on the scoreboard. With the ball at Washington’s 49, receiver Michael Gallup ran a classic stop-and-go, the kind of play sneaky kids attempt in backyards across the country with mixed reviews. This try turned into a smashing success for the visitors. Greg Stroman, starting on the outside in place of Dunbar, bit on the fakery. Gallup sprinted past the cornerback and Prescott fed his wide-open receiver in stride for the tying touchdown.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS: