Monday, January 24, 2011

NFL 2010 NFC Championship Game Wrap Up

Green Bay @ Chicago - As I sat and watched this game, I thought that maybe I should become the next Ms.(Mr.) Cleo.  I said that the Bears would have to limit the bad decisions and turnovers by Cutler and play well on defense.  I also said that Johnny Knox would have a big game.  I said this about the Packers 'On defense, I'm looking for a big game from BJ Raji and Cullen Jenkins.  If the two of them cause problems up front, not only will they be able to get hits on Cutler, but they may force him into some bad throws and that's all Woodson and Williams are waiting on'.  Let's get to the tale of the tape.

1.  Cutler missed on a few passes early, but his worst decision was quitting on his team.  Ask any athlete that's been hurt and had a significant injury, they can tell you when it happened.  I can't by Cutler's excuse that he hurt his knee sometime in the 2nd quarter.  This is the NFC Championship game, and by all accounts the Bears played terrible, but they were still in this game until the last INT by Hanie.  This is Cutler's first foire into the playoffs with a chance to go to the Superbowl, and this is what you do?  Number 2, you go in early at halftime and you come back out without a knee brace on?  I mean if your knee is hurt that bad, they have knee braces (and probably a shot or two) that will help you get through the next 30 minutes and try and win this game.  We can assume that Cutler chose neither.  Number 3, Unless this MRI comes back with 3 torn ligaments, I expect that Cutler will be vilified in a city where toughness is an expectation.  Number 4, if the training staff/doctor told you that you shouldn't play, a competitor would have been seen on the sideline in Lovie's ear trying to get him to reconsider or something.  There should have been a screaming match with a helmet thrown or something.  This just doesn't look good for Cutler, even with Urlacher doing what he was supposed to do by standing up for his teammate.   

2.  Johnny Knox (targeted 6 times) must not trust Cutler because he doesn't seem to go all out when Cutler is throwing him the ball.  Enter Hanie and Knox becomes a different man.  Knox ended the game with 2 receptions for 56 yards (1 pass interference call that turned into an additional play for 20+ yards for the Bears) which isn't alot but when your QBs throw for a total of 218 yard, it's pretty good.

3.  BJ Raji and Cullen Jenkins must have heard me talking about them because they started the game of disrupting things and continued for the majority of the game.  Jenkins ended the game with 1/2 a sack, 2 tackles for loss, 2 QB hits (maybe one on Cutler's knee), and several more disruptions.  BJ Raji ended the game with 2 QB hits, and an 18 yard interception return for a TD.

4. Woodson and Williams played well covering the Bears receivers, but it was Sam Shields who had 2 INTs (1 sealed the game) and a sack to go along with 4 tackles, that paced the Packers in the defensive secondary. 

All in all, it was a sad day for the Bears.  Their defense played well, but their offense wasn't on the right track.  I've said all year long that Hanie is a better QB for the Bears (Martz) system and someone should think about that going forward.  Cutler has more tools than Hanie, but sometimes have a utility knife that can do 20 things really isn't worth having when you trying to open a can and you have a handy dandy can opener ready and available.  The Bears as an organization will have to stand by Cutler or his career here is done, so I expect that his MRI results will be substantially worse than they really are.

Actually this was quite prophetic too -   
'In the end, the Bears are playing at home (even though the field is TERRIBLE) and I think that their special teams will need to be special for them to win this game.  I expect the Packers to get to Cutler, and I even expect the Bears to get to Rodgers.  I don't trust Cutler in this big of a game.  So, to both Mike's (at the barbershop and at Union Station), Kevin (my Ray Lewis hater, he thinks Urlacher is better than Ray Lewis), and anyone else that I run across before the game here's what I got.  Winner - Packers'.

The Packers are on their way to the Superbowl and they really proved that they were the better team yesterday. Congrats and good luck in Dallas.  Inquisitive Mind 1 - 0 for the week


Thom said...

I'm really sick of all the Cutler haters. If he continues to play and then people find out his knee was hurt, the same people would be complaining complaining because he was injured and still playing.

Looks like Cutler did what was best for his team and not what was best for him.

Who knows, if Hanie would have been 2nd string instead of 3rd string what the outcome would have been.

Inquisitive Mind said...

He has a torn MCL, which doesn't require surgery. Which he could have gotten a shot and a knee brace and played. Philip Rivers played through a torn ACL in jury in a playoff game because he wanted to win. His teammates will never again question his heart or desire ( This is the first time since high school that Cutler has been in the playoffs and to cement your legacy you have to fight through these kinds of things. And even then, you can't tell me that you take the call that you aren't going to play the way he did, nothing, no emotion, no nothing. And you can't tell me he's not an emotional guy. It just didn't seem right. Add to that, Cutler's history of being a little standoffish and arrogant, it jut doesn't help. Again, the conspiracy theorist in me says that we knew that he was going to come back with something torn, but basically something that he could have played through.

Hanie should have been the #2 QB all year long. He proved it in the pre-season and Collins proved in the regular season that he should be a QB coach for a local high school.

Jacques S said...

Cutler is one of the league's most inconsistent QB's, but I hope the MRI comes back negative. No matter what team he plays for, he will be the target of flack. The MRI scanner will show clearly what, if anything is wrong. The Bears and Cutler will go from there.

Thom said...

@Inquisitive Mind

The past is the past, I think you would agree. The problem is an MCL is not an ACL, so you can't compare it to Rivers. The question I always ask is did he improve from the year before, and Cutler did. Is Cutler better than Grossman or Orton? You bet. As long as Martz stays around, Cutler will benefit from not having to learn another offense. I believe the Wide Receivers need to improve, great wide receivers help their quarterbacks whereas the mindset of our only expect the ball to be in a certain place.

Yeah we would have liked to have seen the Bears in the Super Bowl, but they should have knocked Green Bay out of the playoffs when they had the chance.

Inquisitive Mind said...

@ Thom

It's kinda of like LBJ and the Decision. He should have done it a different way. I'm sure the Bears made the injury worse than it was, an MCL sprain (Grade II), but he could have gone back in (IMHO), but he didn't try on a knee brace or anything. Either way, he's got to live with the decision.

He'd be a helluva QB if he worked on his craft. Cutler is the best QB that the Bears have had since McMahon, but don't hate on Orton too much. I think he could have worked well in this system. Orton didn't have the arm, but he was a smart guy that didn't make the mistakes Cutler made.

The Bears have got to find a true #1 receiver and leave Hester with his returner duties only. Well maybe get him 5 to 6 snaps a game as a WR, but that's it. The Bears should be better next year if they can sure up that offensive line and get Martz to realize that when it's 4th and 3 you DO NOT run a reverse. Sad part is that somewhere I read that Hanie (who I think is great for this system) actually called an audible to a running play but then they (Martz) called a timeout to make sure the revers was run.