We would lose on a late-game FG after winning a game on an overtime FG the week before. I guess things just sorta shake out.
Jeff Reed was uncharacteristically off tonight, missing two medium-length FGs. The offense put us in a position to put the game out of reach multiple times, but the offense sputtered, and were forced to rely on a kicker who obviously hit a rough spot. There’s something to be said about an offense that should have cashed in with touchdowns when the inevitable missed-FGs doomed two drives deep into Bears territory, but you’d at least assume our usually-reliable kicker would’ve punched at least one through the Soldier Field uprights.
17-14 Bears. Blech.
While the result of this game will frustrate me for the next few days, I can understand that an early-season loss will be positive for this team. We haven’t dropped a game since the b.s. 31-14 loss to the Titans in Tennessee on December 21, 2008. At some point, a loss will bring the team back to Earth and remind them that the season is a long, grueling process.
I’ve had the hardest time thinking up ratings for the guys who most influenced this game, but I guess I just gotta sort it out.
Sasso. Ben looked like the most efficient QB on the planet for the first drive and a half. His numbers weren’t bad, going for 221 yards, a passing TD, a rushing TD and a pick, but was failed by Santonio letting TD slip through his fingers, and didn’t have a kicker he could trust to pick up the points the offense couldn’t acquire. A loss like this will hopefully stress the importance of finishing drives with TDs for Ben and the offense, so the major flaws in his performance could end up being a valuable learning tool. I’ll top off at 4 out of 5 motorcycle helmets, as his numbers weren’t bad, but no win came of it. Make TDs happen, and don’t rely on Jeff Reed to bail you out for the rest of the way.
Santonio. That was a confusing performance. Holmes had 83 yards on 5 catches, but famously muffed up a few easy catches. The rain can be blamed for a few of the flubs, but you’d hope Santonio could fight through minor slips and whatever. Sorry that we have high expectations, Santionio…you set the bar high once you won Super Bowl MVP. Holmes had some big catches, which moved the chains a few times. We’re just expecting magic every time now. 3 of 5 helmets.
Jeff Reed. That was rough. I’ve become so accustomed to Reed hitting FGs, that the two misses against the Bears were tough to watch. He’s so much better than he displayed in that game, yet was the obvious goat for the snap-judgement fans. And rightfully so…if you have a close game like the one played between Chicago and Pittsburgh, you need kickers to come through with a confident sense of readiness. Reed had an off-night, which hopefully doesn’t carry over to the next game(s). 1 of 5 motorcycle helmets, because I have to give minor credit for the two extra points. Gotta stay positive, right?
D. Where was the pressure? I know Troy Polamalu makes up for errors in the secondary, but shouldn’t we be able to get more pressure when he’s not in the lineup? Aaron Smith had the only sack? Chicago doesn’t have the strongest O-Line. I can’t be too pleased with a 1-sack, no-turnover performance, especially after predicting an interception by Polamalu’s replacement, Tyrone Carter. This defensive squad needs to prove that they can win without Polamalu next game. 3 of 5 motorcycle helmets.
I was gonna keep going with a few more breakdowns, but I can only keep so much of an attention span after losses. We got the 1-1 Bengals next week in Cincy. Rationally speaking, we’d be happy with a 2-1 record after only 1 of the first 3 games being at home. Next week is the week to make that happen.