Noots' Notes: Game 10

The Bears lost for the first time in 4 games as the Indianapolis Colts dominated them 41-10. The Bears turned the ball over repeatedly, giving the Colts excellent field position. They had no solution to defend either Peyton Manning (17-28-211, 4 TDs, Int) or Edgerrin James (204 yards rushing). Let's take a closer look at the different personnel groups and their performances.


OFFENSE

Quarterbacks

Craig Krenzel (14-24-175, TD, 2 Ints, 4/5, 2 fumbles) struggled. Apart from the 2 interceptions he threw, there were several other passes that could easily have been caught by the Colts, and a number of other passes that were behind his target or that went to areas of the field where no receivers were present. His timing was improved, and he delivered several good passes that hit receivers as they got open. His best passes were medium range strikes he threw to Bernard Berrian for 17 and David Terrell for 12. He's still struggling with his throws on the run, and one of his interceptions on a rollout was surprisingly bad. Krenzel fumbled a handoff to Thomas Jones for a turnover, and had the ball slapped out of his hands by Robert Mathis on a 4th down for another turnover. One of his best plays was a scramble and throw to David Terrell for a touchdown, which was later taken off the board because of a questionable holding penalty. Looking at the replay, it appeared that Krenzel could also have been flagged for throwing the ball after crossing the line of scrimmage. Although it didn't translate into points on the scoreboard, Krenzel's performance on the whole was better than it had been in previous weeks. The Bears are no longer undefeated (3-1) with Krenzel as the starter. GRADE: D-

Running Backs

Thomas Jones (18/59, 4-23) returned from a turf toe injury and played until the game was out of reach in the fourth quarter (one might argue it was out of reach a lot sooner). His best run was a pitch around right end for 15 yards. There wasn't a huge amount of yardage out there for him to gain. The Colts were ready for the run and the short passes, and had a good idea of what the Bears would do and when. Bryan Johnson blocked well for Jones. Johnson dropped a short pass in the flat from Krenzel, although it was not a well thrown ball and wouldn't have gained much. Adrian Peterson (4/15, 1/30) saw some action in mop up time at the end of the game. He had a nice run of 13 yards to get out of bounds, and then took a screen pass from Krenzel and followed his blocks for a gain of 30 yards to set up the lone Chicago touchdown. Anthony Thomas didn't get to see any action in spite of being the Bears' best offensive weapon the last 3 weeks. GRADE: D+

Receivers

David Terrell (3-76) played a strong game. He held on as he was getting hit on a 12-yard gain along the sideline. Terrell alertly knocked a sure interception out of a defender's grasp on a deep pass that was errantly thrown. He went up high to haul in a 42-yarder as time expired in the first half. He also drew a pass interference penalty for a big gain and picked up 21 yards over the middle late in the game. Terrell also had a touchdown come off the board after a holding penalty. Bobby Wade (2-6, fumble) hurt the team's effort with a fumble after a short reception. Desmond Clark (1-17) appeared to make no attempt on a pass that was intercepted in the end zone. His efforts blocking for the running game left a lot to be desired. Dustin Lyman (1-2, TD) hauled in a short touchdown at the end of the game. Justin Gage (1-7) saw more action than in previous weeks. The turnover by Wade was costly, but Terrell's day was superb. GRADE: C+

Offensive Line

Dwight Freeney (1 tackle, sack) and Robert Mathis (2 tackles, sack, FF, FR) came into the game as two of the better pass rushing defensive ends. Qasim Mitchell held his own against Freeney, keeping him at bay for most of the contest. On Freeney's lone sack, he beat not only Mitchell, but also Ruben Brown, who was helping on the play. On Jones' longest run around right end, he hustled downfield to the point of attack to wall off a defender. He had yet another false start, and was lifted in the 4th quarter for Marc Colombo. Colombo blocked well and seemed to move around as nimbly as one might expect him to for his size. He drew a questionable holding penalty on a touchdown pass from Krenzel to Terrell. It appeared as though he turned his back to a defender, but maintained his position to screen the rusher from Krenzel. Olin Kreutz threw a nice block on the screen to Peterson. Kreutz was flagged twice, once for being an ineligible receiver downfield, and again for an illegal snap. John Tait made a huge block as he pulled around right end to lead the way for Jones. However, he allowed Robert Mathis to beat him for a forced fumble on Krenzel. Ruben Brown committed a false start. He suffered a stinger at the end of the half and was replaced by Steve Edwards. At right guard, Rex Tucker is still a liability. Montae Reagor registered two sacks playing over him. One of them was on a slow developing play, but the other was clearly a case of Tucker getting beaten to his outside as if he were standing still. Overall, the pass blocking was below average, as was the run blocking. Mental mistakes were also at a very high level. GRADE: F+


DEFENSE

Defensive Line

Despite losing their starting the guards, the Colts were able to run all over the interior of the Bears' defensive line, and Peyton Manning suffered scant pressure when he dropped back to throw. Alex Brown (1 tackle) proved to be nothing more than a rumor at end. He only showed pressure very late in the game, and was whistled for an illegal hands to the face penalty. Adewale Ogunleye (0 tackles) had a pressure early and then disappeared. Tommie Harris (2 tackles) was able to beat his man for most of the game. However, his lack of discipline was a deciding factor. He continually raced into the backfield as Edgerrin James ran past him. It's one thing to beat your man into the gap. It's another to take smart angles to the football while being under control. Harris also was offsides on a 3rd and 5 and flagged for illegal hands to the face. Ian Scott (3 tackles) suffered as well. Michael Haynes, Tank Johnson, Israel Idonije and Alfonso Boone were of little to no impact. Time and again, Edgerrin James found cutback lanes to gore the Bears' front seven. They allowed 275 yards rushing. It was like being on the wrong end of a Nebraska game during the 1980s. This was a very disappointing performance. GRADE: F

Linebackers

Hunter Hillenmeyer (7 tackles) started at middle linebacker for Brian Urlacher (calf). He was in on quite a few tackles, but not nearly enough of them were taking place either behind or at the line of scrimmage. Both Hillenmeyer and Lance Briggs (11 tackles, PD) bit on a fake to allow Manning's early 14-yard touchdown pass over the middle to Marcus Pollard. Lance Briggs allowed an easy interception and possible touchdown to bobble out of his hands on a pass in the right flat early in the game. It was the kind of play that could have changed the complexion of the contest. Briggs had one of the few tackles for a loss against James. Joe Odom (5 tackles) played against 2 wide receiver sets. He had a tackle for a loss late in the game. Much of the time, he's a step late or hesitant, and this is the 10th game of the season. There were too many missed tackles, and a good number of them were among this group. Both the linebackers and defensive backs had breakdowns in tackling form. James benefited from tackles that were missed, poor angles, and attempts that were too high. GRADE: D

Secondary

Nathan Vasher never turned around for the ball on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Manning to Reggie Wayne (6-106, 2 TDs). He later made the adjustment and picked a pass off in the end zone and returned it to the 28-yard line. Jerry Azumah (5 tackles, PD) had an early pass defended against Brandon Stokley. He too was victimized by the slippery, spinning moves of a darting Edgerrin James on a 35-yard run. Mike Green (10 tackles) missed James on the same play. Green was also beaten on the second touchdown pass to Wayne. Todd Johnson (6 tackles, PD) had an early pass breakup. He had a struggle the rest of the way to make a positive impact. R.W. McQuarters (8 tackles) had a quiet day, which is a good thing against the Colts. He had the steadiest game of the group, which wasn't saying much. GRADE: D


SPECIAL TEAMS

Paul Edinger hammered home a 52-yard field goal in the first quarter to make the game 7-3. It was one of the few moments of hope that Bear fans could enjoy. His kickoff depth was average. Unfortunately there were very few kickoffs for the Bears. Punter Brad Maynard had a below average game punting, but the punting wasn't so much of a factor because the Colts enjoyed great field position thanks to 5 Bear turnovers. The Bears had a lot of kickoff return opportunities, but did little with them. Jerry Azumah was held in check, and Bernard Berrian had the best return of the game. Perhaps Azumah's side injury was still bothering him. Whatever the case, he fumbled one of his returns, which Todd McMillon alertly jumped on. R.W. McQuarters never saw a punt he could return. Adrian Peterson continued his strong special teams' play, delivering several good blocks and forcing a fumble on a return that Todd Johnson didn't fall on, and couldn't get control of before it went out of bounds. GRADE: C-


COACHING

Terry Shea's three and out offense was a supreme disappointment to the Soldier Field faithful. To bomb as badly as they did against the second-worst defense in the league was an embarrassment. At what point does Shea realize what he has? The best part of the Bears offense is their running game. Their best players are there, and their line is best suited to run and run some more. Craig Krenzel is a long way away from being a pro quarterback who can win games, especially against a team like the Colts. Why not run 40 times, with Thomas and Jones sharing the load? The mix of run to pass for the Bears didn't reflect this, and it was even worse when you take out the scrambles from Krenzel. Some of the calls were questionable, but at this point the execution is so poor that it becomes difficult to be critical of individual play calls when nothing is working. Now that Krenzel is no longer undefeated, it might be time to think about bringing Jonathan Quinn back as the starter, since he was able to protect the football better than Krenzel. Ron Rivera's defense suffered from a lack of discipline, and he did them no favors as well. When Edgerrin James broke off a 35-yard run off right tackle on third and short, it was against a front that had slid down to the offense's left side. They blocked down on the Bears at the edge, and there was nothing but green grass and wide open spaces. They could not generate or create a pass rush. Overall, mental mistakes were rampant in every facet of the game, and opportunities to make plays slipped through their grasp. Against a superior team like the Colts, they would have needed to eliminate the stupid mistakes, hold onto the football, and seize the opportunities as they arose. It never happened for the Bears. GRADE: D-


GAME BALLS

David Terrell
Paul Edinger
Adrian Peterson

HORNS

Rex Tucker
Craig Krenzel
Tommie Harris
Mike Green

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