Opener Offers Mixed Bag

It's never a good situation when you lose the first home game of the season, but this isn't the end for the Bears. On paper, they should have beat Detroit. Bad breaks and too many penalties meant it just wasn't going to happen. I still think they have a good team that's on the way up. It's just going to take time and patience.

The infamous last series: A nice two-minute drill ground to a halt. Why not a succession of pass plays? Why try to run the ball? Why spike the ball? Why weren't there more Bears receivers in the end zone during those last few seconds? Lots of questions in this game, unfortunately.

What went wrong? To me, it was a combination of inexperience and a simple lack of time at the end for the Bears to get the score. It would help put things in perspective offensively if Terry Shea were around in the locker room after games to give some answers.

Despite some plays that I'd question, Shea had a good overall approach. At last, the Bears have an exciting offense. There were moves and countermoves, something that we never saw from John Shoop last year. Shoop could barely spell ‘game plan' much less execute one. The one weakness I saw was in the receivers. Rex Grossman needs more go-to guys. I expect Shea will be addressing this problem during the upcoming week.

It bothered me when I read about the game in the local papers this morning. These reporters are so negative. This game certainly didn't have the result that any of us wanted or expected, but it's a long season. The raw material is there and things will turn around. It's way too early to give up.

Grossman: He showed flashes of tremendous talent yesterday. Granted, he also made some bonehead mistakes but that's to be expected with such a young quarterback. It wasn't all Grossman's fault although he seemed more than willing to take the blame.

Both sides of the ball: I stand by what I said last week. The team should have been more prepared before they ever took the field on Sunday. These plays need to be run much more in practice so that the players are familiar with the overall plan.

Receivers: David Terrell was a wild card as usual. He'd make some great plays, and then do something stupid. He has to learn that you don't taunt your opponents when you make a catch. Stupid move. David has to realize that this is a team game. He doesn't have to take all of the blame, but he can't claim all of the glory either.

The defense: Pretty good overall. The pass rush is looking better. Still, there is plenty of room for improvement. Adewale Ogunleye has great potential but needs to get up to speed. Tommie Harris is settling in and learning the system but still has lots to learn. Alex Brown looks better but still could work on his quickness. Michael Haynes had a sack and that's a good start. Let's see him even more aggressive. Where are the turnovers and broken plays? That's where games are won or lost.

The penalties: Still too many. You never want to see that. I felt that the refs were monitoring the game much too closely. Maybe they had sunstroke after the interminable 3 hours and 45 minutes of play. The call on Olin Kreutz? Stupid. Let the guy play. Olin gets enthusiastic but that's the way he needs to be. Refs, just let it go.

The blocked kick: a nightmare unfolding before our eyes. Never before in Bears history has a blocked kick been returned all the way to the other end zone for a score. All in all a ten-point swing against the Bears, which was the turning point of the game. I couldn't believe it as I saw Bracy Walker (who?) of the Lions sprint by every single Bear who was on the field. I'd say that special teams coach Dave Toub has a long week ahead of him.

In summary, mistakes were made. The Bears could have played a much better game. Bad luck and a lack of both time and time outs at the end played a part. But I think that the coaches will see some encouraging things when they review the game films. The team has talent and it will start winning games eventually. Let's just hope that this learning process progresses as quickly as possible as we move through the season.

Mike Pyle played for the Bears from 1961-69.


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