Thursday, October 2, 2014

My Take -> Week 5

Greetings, G-Force.

Trump card lives. It reigns supreme. In glorious fashion.

Sometimes, silence is the loudest noise. The pre-game walk down Lake Shore Drive was entertaining. Beautiful energy in the air. A Great Lake fog raged thru the sky. It felt like a good day was ahead.

As we walked into the Stadium, the Bears fans were spitting fire. Confident. In their minds, this was the year the Bears were taking down the Packers at Soldier Field. The opening drive elaborated those thoughts. "BLOW PACKERS BLOW!" "FUDGE PACKERS!" "SLICED CHEESE!" Yeah, that's what was being yelled into the air. It was loud. It was emphatic.

In 2000, I was at Soldier Field with my old friend, Center. Midway thru the 4th Quarter, he yelled, "Hey Soldier! Half the Stadium is Packers fans. And, half the Stadium is empty!" Well, on Sunday, for the last 10 minutes of the game, he could've yelled, 'Hey Soldier! 1/4 of the Stadium is Packers fans, 1/4 of the Stadium is Bears fans and the other half is empty!' Dominance. Authoritative.

My Dad was in pure disbelief as to how quickly the fans were leaving in masses. With more than 13 minutes left, Bears fans were sprinting for the exits. Bears fans were silent. Instead, "GO PACK GO!" rang loudly. On repeat.

After the game, as my Dad & I were walking out of the Stadium, we were called "Fuckers." My Dad replied with "thanks." We weren't saying a word to anyone. Simply walking with each other. Embracing the silence that echoed loudly as Bears fans suffered thru another afternoon of rooting for Ray Nutler. Stay classy, Bears fans.

As we walked from the Stadium to Navy Pier, the loudest noise was the sounds of the Lake Michigan waves crashing. Bears fans were silent. Packers fans listened to their leader. We were living 5 letters: R-E-L-A-X.


Here are some quick vibes from the last week:

* Yes, XLV MVP, I am relaxed. Thanks for calming me. In MVP form.

* Great break on the ball, T-Mon. It should be noted that in the two Packers wins this year, T-Mon has made the game changing play. It's also noteworthy that I've been in attendance for the two wins.

* So stoked that McCarthy gave the game to Rodgers. Well coached. Good creativity. Solid design. Showed looks we haven't seen before. Offered confusion. Was surprised to see Lacy lined up as a WR. Saw Cobb lined up out wide in 2 WR formations.

* The design on Cobb's first TD was pure brilliance. Nelson in the slot. 3 receivers to the right. AQ81 wide to the right. Single coverage on Cobb and AQ81. I called a quick out to Cobb for a first down. Instead, it was a wheel route for 6. Gold!

* Loved Sammy Swagga in gazelle mode as he was sprinting past potential tacklers. Sammy Swagga has dropped the hammer at Soldier. He's clinched the Trump Card game with a pick. He sealed the NFC NORTH title with a pick last year. And, he danced all over Soldier for 62 yards in the victory this past Sunday.


* The T-Mon block on the Sammy Swagga interception was magnificent!

* It was another day in the park for Randall Cobb at Soldier Field.

* Ray Nutler makes me smile.

* While HaHa's speed is inconsistent; when he hits you, he means it. Big tackle on Bennett at the 1!

* Clay Matthews didn't look healthy on that interception. I expected that to be a TD!

* Julius Peppers was in position. He couldn't finish the play. On multiple occasions. He, too, looked hobbled. Seemed to be walking gingerly.

* For years, I heard Bears fans hate on the Cheesehead. For the record, I've never worn a Cheesehead. But, on Sunday, I saw more "Grater Heads" than I've ever seen Cheeseheads at a stadium. Yes, the Bears fans are rocking Foam Cheese Graters. In high quantities. I'm fairly confident that the only things they were 'shredded' on Sunday were their own fans, Ray Nutler, and Mel Tucker.

* On Sunday, I saw multiple Bears fans fighting each other in the stands. Like full-on meltdown mode. It was both terrifying and comical.

* On Sunday, I heard multiple Bears fans shouting vulgarities and obscenities towards Ray Nutler. I could only laugh.

* Jordy Nelson tossing Kyle Fuller to the turf with his stiff arm was straight comedy. Welcome to the Greatest Rivalry in Sports, Rookie.

* Jamari Lattimore be hip-boogie on Soldier Field. Dude has shake when he dances.


* Morgan Burnett flexes on Soldier Field. Chicago, seriously. Morgan Burnett was flexing on you in the 4th Quarter. For Bear fans, seriously, that's rock bottom. Full on ugly.

* Datone Jones goes Jared Allen lasso on Soldier Field. Yes, Chicago, Datone Jones was rubbing salt. Feel the pain.

* Eddie Lacy lacks confidence. He's not seeing the field well. He's not lowering his shoulder. He's not attacking contact. He's looking for the big play rather than punishing forward with confidence to get positive yardage.

* In my best form of patois, I offer this Lacy this pep talk: Galang Sponji, Eddie! Ju be Bumblebee on dem would-be tacklers. If so, everything will be cook & curry. Mek We Dweet!

* Micah Hyde has to be better than he was in Chicago. He wasn't turning to see the ball. He wasn't making tackles. He looked lost. He looked dazed. He looked confused.

* Not sure what's up with Casey Hayward? But, ShowCase used to be a willing tackler. Not a physical guy, but he'd at least show his nose on a tackling attempt. Now, he's afraid. He's overly soft.


* Jayrone Elliot with an appearance and a nice tackle. Kid is on the board. Liked his length on the field. Looked pedestrian. But, got rid of the kinks. And, hopefully the nerves are gone.

* Mike Pennel saw the field! And, then he was pushed backwards. Pennel did have a tackle and an assist.

* Letroy Guion is far from the player that I thought he was. Awful.

* J-Bush is running with belief in himself!


* Richard Rodgers is on the board! And, he was running free a couple of times in the 2nd Quarter. He improvised well on broken plays. He's still a terrible blocker.

* David Bakhtiari was spectacular. So was Bulaga. And TJ Lang. Sitton as well. I'm also really liking Linsley's evolution.

* Davante Adams has a solid future.

* A lot of talk that Starks needs to see the ball. I agree, but it would also be nice to see DuJuan Harris in the hurry-up one time.

* A lot of tackles for AJ Hawk. All of them multiple yards downfield.

* Nick Perry looks like he's carrying sand bags as he runs. Lacking intensity. Looks defeated.

* I used to be a huge stats fan. For the most part, I've grown out of stats nerdism. Not fully. But, mostly. Largely, it's because of games like this. The Bears had the ball for more than 36 minutes. The Bears rushed for 235 yards, while the Packers rushed for 56. The Bears were successful on 63% of 3rd downs. The Bears were successful 50% of the time. Nutler threw for 256. Rodgers threw for 302. Smells like a Bears win, right? Yeah, except they had Nutler throwing 2 picks. 38-17. The Packers stomped the Bears in their own crib.

* I'm not sure what else Dom Capers could've done. He played everyone. He came on a variety of blitzes. He used a number of different schemes and alignments. We simply couldn't win 1 on 1 match-ups.

* I really wish T-mon had held on for the defense's third interception of the day.

* Need more consistency from Mike Daniels.


This week - it's the Viqueens. On a short week. It'll wrap up 3 games in 12 days. All against the NFC NORTH. Two of them on the road. A 2-1 record in these 3 games would be a success. We need this one. Badly.

The 'queens have talent. A lot of it. I've been watching Teddy Bridgewater since he was in high school. I went to see him play under the lights on Friday Night. Twice. He's always been able to run. He's always seen the field well. He's always made big plays on 3rd down. He's elusive with his feet. But, you can frustrate him. Chip away at him. Get in his head. He will occasionally lose both composure and confidence. As a defender, you have to talk to him.

The 'queens have weapons at WR in Cordarralle Patterson, Greg Jennings, and Jarius Wright. At TE, they'll be without Kyle Rudolph. Rhett Ellison will take his place and he's a significant downgrade. Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon are a sound 1-2 punch at RB. Not household names, but Asiata is the type of back that has long given the Packers headaches.

The 'queens have big investments at Tackle in Phil Loadholdt and Matt Kalil. John Sullivan has been a staple at Guard. Vlad Ducasse and Charlie Johnson are potentially weak links on the OL, but they'll be battling an area of struggle for the Packers in 2014. So, don't be shocked if we see a lot of Matt Asiata pounding between the tackles. Right at the mouth go the Packers defense. Eating clock. Keeping Rodgers off the field.

Defensively, Minnesota has some stars as well. Harrison Smith shocks me. I didn't think much of him coming out of college. Now, he's an elite Safety. Captain Munnerlyn was a nice pick-up. Xavier Rhodes has developed well over the last year and matches up well with Jordy. Josh Robinson isn't a star nickel back, but he's OK and Robert Blanton can be attacked with a worthwhile receiver. It might be wise to get AQ81 involved early in the game.

The 'queens don't have great depth on the DL, but they have a talented front 4. Robison and Griffen have given the Packers fits with their tireless pursuit. Sharrif Floyd is big and still finding himself at the pro level, but he's a force. Linval Joseph is strong. He's brute. He punished us as a NYG last year. Minnesota will also be playing without Chad Greenway, but they do have great talent in Anthony Barr. Barr will soon be a household name for NFL fans. I don't like having him in the Division.

Special teams could play a role in this game. Patterson and Marcus Sherels are both dangerous returners for the 'queens.

I don't like Thursday games. I'd be furious if I rooted of Minnesota. Bridgewater is supposed to play on a bum ankle on 3 days rest? In temperatures that are likely to be in the high 50's. With rain. And wind. If this was Sunday, it's no worries. That's fall football in the Midwest! But give the players a chance to heal during the week, so we can get the teams best performance. Minnesota has a big decision to make on Thursday Night.

Both teams are 2-2. It's a monster game for both teams in what his sure to be tough competition for the NFC NORTH crown. The weather levels the playing field. It'll demand toughness. The more physical team will win.

Minnesota will pound Asiata at us. McKinnon will get his opportunities as well, but I don't imagine the turf will be ideal for his scat back ways. Instead, it's Asiata in bunches. Coupled with short routes to Patterson. And reverses to Patterson. They'll send Patterson in motion on multiple occasions. Drawing attention away from the pound it away attack that they'll implore much of the night. They'll try Wright on short routes out of the slot. We see Casey Hayward show up as a solid match-up against Wright. And, for the first time in 2 years, Hayward makes a big play. T-Mon muscles against Jennings. Sammy Swagga runs with Patterson. The Packers keep a Safety over the top on Patterson.

Lacy heeds my pep talk. He runs with might. He bullies forward. Edgar Bennett gives him a 'mudder' discussion. Finally, Lacy gets going in 2014. Then, there's a screen to Starks who slashes forward and pounds into Blanton for a first down. It's Nelson delivering a stiff arm as he jabs forward for yardage. Davante Adams grabs his first TD.

Its October in Titletown, U.S.A. It's sloppy. It's a win.

Packers 23
Viqueens 16


Go Pack Go!

Talkin' S-Mac.

No comments: