Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pressure is On: Here Come the Bears

On this short week, I have almost run out of time to say anything about the 49ers beating the Packers, 30-22, before turning my attention to Bears week.  The Packers, in losing their second straight game that counts with their second straight stinker of a performance, have left many Packer fans tearing their hair out.  My predictions for the game were about as wrong as they could be.  The Packers' offense was not fine, although there were a couple of bright spots - Randall Cobb and Jermichael Finley.  Cedric Benson not only did not rejuvenate the running game, he made it look worse than last year.

The Packers' defense was not significantly improved.  They still can't seem to manage much pressure without blitzing, and there were times in this game when (a) the loss of Desmond Bishop in the middle really hurt; and (b) the weaknesses of the defensive backs were evident.  Tackling was atrocious, never more so than on the Gore touchdown run.

The 49ers defense, meanwhile, was better than I gave it credit for, while the offense, and even Alex Smith and Randy Moss, played better than I expected.

There were questionable decisions by the coaches, and (at times) horrible clock management, such as at the end of the first half, when poor clock management helped to set up Akers' record-tying 63 yard field goal.  There were also plenty of questionable decisions by the referees, although the latter did not have an impact on the outcome, and in fact the Packers probably benefited from bad calls more than they suffered from them.

As for the Bears, they now come to town in a position to put the Packers in a deep, but not quite insurmountable, hole.  Lovie Smith perceives his job as Bears coach being to beat the Packers, so nothing would be sweeter for him than to go two games up on the Packers with two games played in the season.  I don't see it happening.  The Bears' traditional strength may be on defense, but they are not on the same level as a defensive squad as the 49ers, and so I think the Packers will not sputter on offense as much as they did on Sunday.  Heck, Cedric Benson might even gain a few yards here and there.  The Bears only gave up 63 rushing yards last week, but it was in a blowout win, so the Colts had to abandon the run early on.  The Bears do look improved on offense, with the addition of Brandon Marshall, and I am sure they will score some points and maybe keep it close for awhile, before the Packers put the game away.  But I have to admit, it is hard to feel a lot of confidence after re-watching last week's Packers game tonight.

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