The Chicago Bears went into Baltimore, Maryland on Sunday and beat the favored Baltimore Ravens in overtime, 27-24. It was a fun game to watch, although it got nerve wrecking with some Bears mistakes and some horrendous referees calls and no-calls.
Bottom line: The Bears improved to 2-4 on a Sunday in which Green Bay lost to Minnesota to even the NFC North leaders at 4-2 while Detroit fell to 3-3 by losing to New Orleans. Now that Packers QB Aaron Rodgers has been diagnosed with a broken collarbone and is likely out for the season, the NFC Norris is wide open. All four teams have a legitimate chance at winning the division championship, which just goes to show how quickly things can change in the parity driven NFL.
S #38 Adrian Amos – In a homecoming game for Amos, he had his long-awaited 1st career interception in his 3rd season with Chicago. Amos hails from Baltimore and most of his family was in attendance at M&T Bank Stadium so it was extra special for the young Penn St. grad. Amos was credited with 8 tackles (for the 3rd week in a row), 1 TFL, 2 PBU’s, 1 INT, and his 1st career TD on a 90 yard return of that interception! This is now Amos’s 2nd week in a row earning a Game Ball. Truthfully, it was hard to not name him Player of the Week.
DE #96 Akiem Hicks – Hicks may not have had the greatest statistical game of his season, but he wreaked havoc on the Ravens backfield all game long. He recorded 3 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Sack, and 1 QB hit. It’s easy to see Hicks being named to the Pro Bowl at the end of this season and he may even earn some All-Pro designations as one of the best DE’s in the NFL, especially in a 3-4 scheme. It all starts with Hicks for the Bears defense and they’re lucky to have him.
CB #23 Kyle Fuller – This was probably Fuller’s best game in his 4 year Bears career. For whatever reason, he’s really starting to play well in this scheme. He covered Baltimore’s WR’s closely and also made some solid tackles in the running game. Fuller recorded 6 tackles and 3 PBU’s. His biggest play was the deflection of a pass that ended up in Adrian Amos’s arms which was then returned 90 yards for a TD. Overall great performance by Fuller. He gets a Game Ball!
Bears Coaching Staff –
- OC Dowell Loggains – His trick play TD pass from RB #29 Tarik Cohen to TE #86 Zach Miller was sweet. Loggains’ play calling in regards to run/pass ratio (54 carries to 17 pass attempts) with a rookie QB making his 1st road start PLUS the fact the Bears led for most of the game made his run-dominant play calling the right strategy.
- DC Vic Fangio – His 3-4 system is really starting to confuse opposing offenses. 3 takeaways including a defensive score was incredible! 3 sacks as predicted by “Dutch Lion” in the Bears/Ravens Preview was the cherry on top!!!
- HC John Fox – For providing overall resiliency after Baltimore tied it up and sent it to OT based largely on two crazy kick returns (1 KR and 1 PR). He kept his team positive and it turned into a wild road victory.
C #65 Cody Whitehair – Whitehair is a really good blocker. This “Thumbs Down” is only given because of his poor shotgun snaps. It’s weird. How hard is it to snap? Maybe the ball is slick? Maybe his hand is broken? Maybe he just loses concentration prior to snapping the ball because he is worried about blocking. We don’t know. He is only a second year player that has moved back and forth between Center and Guard. But what we DO know is that 31 other centers around the NFL are snapping shotgun snaps without many problems. Whitehair better figure it out or else he’ll have to move back to guard. Of course, I think he’d rather be a guard anyway but the team needs him at Center for now.
NFL Referees and Instant Replay Officials – Week after week we’re seeing horrible on-field calls and non-calls. We’re also seeing a total disruption with the instant replay system. In my opinion it’s a broken system. The biggest problem is the “you need overwhelming evidence to overturn a call on the field.” To me, that’s bogus. The replay official should be “blind” to the call on the field. He should have to make the decision irregardless of the on-field refs decisions. That way, he looks at it from a 50/50 point of view. Fumble or no fumble? In-bounds or out-of-bounds? He has to lean on the 51% side. To me, that is the fairest way. Think about it. Part of the problem with the system is the on-field ref lets a play go without whistling it dead because IF he’s wrong he doesn’t want to be held responsible for a team getting hosed. The problem with that is then most refs calls lean toward fumbles instead of incomplete passes. To then tell the replay guy it needs to be irrefutable evidence to overturn, then the majority of plays will stand as called, which are fumbles, which are often wrong. Does that make sense? No! OPEN LETTER to John Madden and the competition committee: FIX THIS REPLAY SYSTEM NOW!
In the Bears case this week, the Ravens returned that kickoff for a touchdown because the ref was scared to blow the whistle. The replay guy failed to see Josh Bellamy touch the returner, for some odd reason. We could clearly see him touch the ballcarrier from our TV’s at home. Even the Fox “expert” Dean Blandino said as long as Bellamy touched him at any point, the play should be called down. So what happened? The Bears were hosed, as usual. Luckily Chicago prevailed despite that horrendous mistake by both the referees and the replay officials.
Player of the Game
RB #24 Jordan Howard – Jordan Howard dominated this game! He ran for 167 yards on 36 carries! He also had 1 catch for 9 yards for an incredible 37 touches. We should be very impressed given that Howard was hurt several weeks ago with a shoulder injury. To take that pounding of getting tackled 37 times on a tender shoulder is noteworthy. Howard’s 53 yard run in OT was a thing of beauty. He isn’t the fastest RB but he sets up his blocks well, he has great pad level, and he weaves his way around tacklers and often breaks the tackles once the defenders get in his way. Instead of worrying about the pounding that Howard is receiving, maybe we should feel sorry about the pounding he imposes on opposing defenders.
In our Preview, I wrote:
“Trust me, it WILL get better. 1-4 could turn into 7-9 or even 8-8 very fast. I’m picking an upset this week. Expect a defensive slugfest.
Chicago Bears 14 Baltimore Ravens 13″
Final score: Chicago Bears 27 Baltimore Ravens 24 (OT)
I’m proud of our prediction this week because without those goofy special teams return touchdowns, the Bears could’ve easily dominated this game. Take away OT and the defensive and special teams scores and it would’ve been Chicago 17 Baltimore 10.
“Dutch Lion” is growling with happiness, even moreso because of the other Chicago newspaper writers’ predictions. As you can see below, all five Bears writers in the Chicago Sun-Times predicted the Bears to lose. Meanwhile, six of seven Bears writers in the Chicago Tribune picked the Bears to lose. The only writer to save face was Dan Wiederer. Congratulations Dan. Only you and the “Dutch Lion” get credit for believing in the Bears this week. Way to go!
Bears record: 2-4
My record: 4-2
Next up: The Carolina Panthers (4-2) come running into Chicago. Can the Bears win two in a row? Look for my Preview later this week.