Bears fans everywhere say it with me: that game sure stunk! I will try to heed the words of Tom Waddle (of Waddle and Silvy on ESPN Chicago Radio), “everyone in Chicago, take a deep breath.” I am a Bears fan living outside Chicago, however, so I am feeling justified in channeling Dennis Green and his famous quote , when I think of last night’s play of the Bears’ offensive line, “they are who we thought they were!”
Jason Campbell was sacked six times, threw two interceptions, and faced constant pressure as the 49ers formidable defense ran all over (seemingly untouched at times) the Bears’ line. Left tackle J’Marcus Webb had a particularly embarrassing performance, ala the Green Bay debacle of Week Two, as he was repeatedly knocked on his back. In defense of Webb and Gabe Carimi, who also had a rough night, neither received much help. But the 49ers were only rushing four guys! From my spot on the couch, it felt like all the king’s horses and all the king’s men were attacking the Bears line, heading straight for Jason Campbell or the ball carrier.
This game had such potential with the on-paper similarities between the two teams: both teams (were) leading their respected divisions; the defenses rank one and two in the league (49ers and Bears, respectively) in the number of points allowed per game (Seattle has now leapfrogged the Bears in PPG); and each team was starting their back-up quarterback after neither Alex Smith nor Jay Cutler were cleared to play after both suffered concussions last week. Unfortunately for Bears fans, our team looked more like a paper tiger as they were destroyed by a superior defense and incredible offensive play led by Colin Kaepernick, the second-year quarterback who sure made a lasting impression in his first NFL start.
In what was predicted to be a low-scoring, defensive battle, the Bears seemed ill-prepared to handle Colin Kaepernick and his array of weapons, notably tight-end Vernon Davis. While there may not be much NFL film on Kaepernick, technically he did not come out of nowhere. This is a kid who became the first NCAA Division I quarterback to pass for over 10,000 yards and rush for over 4,000 yards. In uncharacteristic play, particularly being unable to force turnovers, the Bears’ defense seemed to be out-coached and out-played.
While the Bears stand at 7-3, which is good enough for a share of the NFC North lead, they have had two disastrous games on the national stage back-to-back that is causing people to doubt their true abilities. Sadly, the rest of their schedule does not bode well for an insurgence, nor does an answer to the continued offensive line woes seem to be readily available. For if there is an obvious solution, I would have hoped that someone on the Bears’ coaching staff would have made the change already!
I promise that I will do my best to take a deep breath, but I cannot promise that I will not continue to apply Dennis Green’s assessment of the 2006 Bears to the play of the 2012 offensive line.