The Electric Commentary

Monday, January 16, 2006

The Bears and the Colts

Rarely am I so happy to be wrong about a prediction. I'm still fairly shocked at the ineptitude of the Chicago defense but I think that I figured out the biggest factors in the game.

1. The Packers best CB is Al Harris, by far. Back in week 4, Al managed to hold Steve Smith to 2 catches for 12 yards. Smith was not injured, and the previous week he lit up Miami for 170 yards and 3 TDs. The week after the Packer game he dropped 119 and two scores on the Cardinals.

The best corner on the Bears is Pro Bowler Nathan Vasher. I fully expected Vasher to be on Smith for most of the game, but time after time, Charles Tillman ended up across the ball from the best receiver in football. I have no idea how they allowed this to happen.

2. Mike Brown's injury.

If Brown is healthy, he may cover for some of Tillman's ineptitude.

3. The field.

Smith's touchdowns both occurred when Tillman fell down. When the field is slippery it favors the offense, because offensive players know where they are going. Defensive players, who are just reacting, are more likely to fall, and they did. I mentioned in my predictions that bad weather had been an enemy of the Bears this year, and although Sunday was a beautiful day, the field may as well have been covered with ice.

4. Brad Maynard.

I haven't looked at punting stats this year, but I think of Maynard as being an elite punter. His performance on Sunday was atrocious, and he consistently put his defense in a terrible spot.

5. The Blitz.

Carolina looked great in picking up the blitz, and the Bears paid for it much more often than they benefited.

I was already impressed with Steve Smith before this game, but now I can't imagine anyone (other than Al Harris) shutting him down. Seattle will have their hands full.

As for the Colts, it's not as if I was brimming with confidence on this prediction, and with good reason. Chalk up another victory for my theory:

I have this theory that in the playoffs, refs let defenses beat up receivers and therefore, Indy is doomed...

I was just a week early.

Finally, Jeff Triplette (and crew), the NFL's worst official, is at least partly responsible for knocking the Patriots out of the playoffs with his terrible pass interference call on Assante Samuel. He also missed a false start on Denver's last FG of the first half.

If Triplette is calling a game, you can be sure that he will be involved in that game's most important play.


  • One observation about the Samuel PI: there were two officials in the area, and the closer one, the side judge, didn't throw his flag. Usually when one official throws his flag and the other doesn't, they confer and the guy who was closer gets his way. If the two can't agree, it's the referee's job to decide who was right. So it looks like the two officials didn't agree, and Triplette, as referee, sided with the one who was farther from the play. Triplette is the league's worst ref, and even though it was a member of his crew, not him, who threw that terrible PI flag, Triplette deserves a lot of the blame.

    By Blogger MDS, at 1:39 PM  

  • I can't stand Triplett either -- he was responsible for the Orlando Brown incident in Cleveland a few years back.

    But in my opinion he is only the second-worst ref, and Terry McAuley takes the cake. McAuley was responsible for the bottle-throwing incident in Cleveland. He decided to review a play after another play had been run, and then reversed on a questionable call. His crew routinely loses control of games and makes terrible calls. Spots are wrong, pentalties are marked off incorrectly, etc. Both McAuley and Triplett should be fired.

    By Blogger Nye!, at 1:46 PM  

  • There were some pretty blatant no-calls on pass interference in several of the games Randle-El, #18 for Carolina, etc. I wonder why. In fact, I thought the officiating for most of the games I saw was noteably worse than usual in many many respects.

    Also, even though the commentators did state it, I seriously question Chicago's offensive game plan. The Bears seemed so infatuated with their new toy, Rex Grossman, that they forgot about what got them there in the first place and field conditions. It seemed like running game conditions to me, but the Bears tried to pass more than run despite having an inexperienced QB and sloppy conditions. When the Packers were in their prime, in the post season at home they often focused on the running game and not Favre... and it worked.

    By Anonymous Scott H, at 2:30 PM  

  • I think the Denver/NE game only proved one thing to me ... how scary-good the Patriots are. FIVE turnovers and they only lost by two TDS, and one of them was scored on the play after they let a probable ball-out-of-the-endzone call go un-reversed for lack of conclusive evidence. I don't like them, and I hated the boring prospect of having them win 4/5 Super Bowls, but you have to respect a team with players like the TE who ran the length of the field PLUS 25 yards laterally to push a guy out of bounds.

    As for the Bears, I may have been the only person in the free world who was confident that the Panthers would win that game. The Bears PASSING game kept them in it, which seems really odd. Had they not gotten kick-started at the end of the 2nd quarter, Carolina would have had another arse-kickin wrapped up.

    The Seattle/Washington game just didn't really pique my interest. Washington stayed in the game, kind of, but just didn't have the offense to pull it out.

    And, as I stated in your last football post, the Indy/Pitt game held my highest interest. The game was the highlight of the weekend (well, provided you're not a Colts fan). I thought there was a possibility that the Colts would just go off, but I also figured it could go exactly the way it did.

    Overall, I was very happy with the football I got to watch this weekend, unlike last weekend. I think Jax and Lefty might actually have some serious mental handicaps after watching them struggle vs NE last week.

    By Anonymous mitch, at 3:34 PM  

  • to be fair-- the packers double-covered smith for almost the entire game when they played the panthers, so al harris can't get sole credit.

    the most surprising thing to me, is that other teams didn't replicate this idea after the packers basically rendered him ineffective that week.

    good for me cuz he's on my fantasy team, but i was worried.

    By Blogger ahren, at 4:06 PM  

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