Led Zeppelin once sang “The Song Remains The Same”, which after Sunday rang true once again for the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. The Bears frustrated themselves and their fans by losing to the Green Bay Packers 38-17. The loss puts the Bears at 2-2 on the season, and tied with both the Packers and Minnesota Vikings through the first quarter of the season. The Detroit Lions stand alone at the top of the NFCN at 3-1. Here are a few observations from Sunday’s game.
It’s time to end the Jay Cutler narrative
You’ve heard it by now I’m sure. Jay Cutler is now 1-9 in his Bears career versus the Packers. Take note that all those losses are while facing his nemesis Aaron Rodgers on the other side of the ball. Rodgers absolutely destroyed the Bears defense on Sunday, and while Cutler played a very nice first half, his second half was marred by a couple of costly interceptions that killed, once and for all, any chance of the Bears coming back. Of course that’s all assuming the Bears defense could do anything positive (more on them later).
Through the first four games, we’ve already had to endure the “Good Jay” and “Bad Jay” stories or debates. Against the Bills game one it was Bad Jay, who threw a bad interception in the fourth quarter to keep the Bills chances alive. Weeks two and three we then had Good Jay, who orchestrated the Bears offense efficiently and cleanly while the defense forced turnovers and made stops. Of course here we go with Bad Jay again after the loss to the Packers.
Let’s end this now. Jay Cutler is what he is. He’s Aaron Rodgers, Tony Romo, and your typical back-up quarterback all rolled into one. He has the ability of Rodgers, he has the career of Romo (which is a roller coaster with little playoff success), and moments when he should be a back-up on most teams. More times than not he’s going to give you something in between Rodgers and Romo, probably closer to Romo. And for those of us not bothered by keeping track that’s good enough to have success in the NFL. So really every time Cutler gets picked, let’s just accept it and move on and stop trying to break it down as if all that over-analysis or labeling will actually change anything.
So far this season Cutler is on pace to handily beat most of his career averages, so let’s all approach this season and what Cutler is doing with a little more latitude than usual – even if the Packers still have his number. OK?
The Packers should thank their lucky stars they have Aaron Rodgers
So while we try and settle everyone down about Jay Cutler, let’s take a moment to applaud Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers torched the Bears defense Sunday in one of the most surgical and efficient ways I have ever seen. The Packers put up 38 points on only 47 total plays, while Rodgers posted an eye-popping rating of 151.2. However it was also evident that with the exception of Rodgers, and throw in wide receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb for good measure, the rest of the Packers team is not very good. The Bears offense put up a total of 496 yards on the Packers, including 235 rushing as the Bears finally got Matt Forte going this season. Packers running back Eddie Lacy appears to be in a complete funk, as he appears slow and almost unsure of what he’s doing, and they have hardly any tight end presence to speak of. But all those deficiencies aside, there was Rodgers cool, calm, and r-e-l-a-x’ed carving up the Bears defense while getting the benefit of Bears mistakes to widen the gap.
Rodgers is good enough to carry his team to another division title, but if they don’t drastically improve those other areas mentioned they can expect another early playoff exit.
The Bears defense needs drastic help
Yes the Bears are already suffering too many injuries on the defensive side of the ball, and on Sunday they were without defensive end Jared Allen due to an illness to add insult to injury. But regardless of personnel, the defensive performance was putrid. Coordinator Mel Tucker should have thanked Jay Cutler after the game, because had Cutler not thrown two interceptions to grab the media’s attention, they would have swarmed mercilessly all over him instead. The Bears got no pressure on Rodgers, who as an elite quarterback cannot just be left alone in the pocket to play his game. The secondary was a complete mess also with too many missed assignments. The linebacking corp looked lost. Did Tucker really think that playing a vanilla defense without at least trying to pressure Rodgers was the way to beat the Packers? I can give him a pass on the first half, as the Bears were still in the game and probably trying to figure some things out. But even at that point Tucker and Trestman must have seen that what they were doing defensively wasn’t working at all, yet they didn’t make any adjustments at halftime.
Like the Packers, there’s no reason to think this Bears team can win the division playing horrible defense and expecting a still growing offense to carry them. Maybe if they had Aaron Rodgers…
At 2-2, the season is by no means over for the Bears, or any other team in the NFCN at this point. But it’s probably time to stop worrying about playoff runs and having a Super Bowl caliber quarterback and simply get back to the Lovie Smith basics of beating Green Bay, because until as a team the Bears figure out a way to do that they can expect to be watching the Packers lose in the playoffs from their collective couches.