When a team begins a game winning 17-0 in a tough environment, it seems like nothing can go wrong. After Michael Bush’s touchdown, I thought the game was over. In hindsight, I wasn’t actually wrong, but the game got very interesting in the 3rd quarter. The Bears offense hit a wall and went into the vanilla chapter of their playbook. Fortunately, the Bears’ defense had another great game. D.J. Williams had two sacks, Julius Peppers had 5 hurries including a touchdown thanks to a fumble forced by Lance Briggs, and Major Wright had his 3rd interception for a touchdown in three seasons. In the end, the Bears put up 40 points, the most an opposing team has scored at Heinz Field since 1999.
I want to go back to the offense here, because this Marc Trestman-Jay Cutler relationship is becoming more fun by the week. In my last article before the season began, I said that this had to work. There was no “sort of” or “kind of.” It had to work, and it is. Cutler’s offense started out quick against Pittsburgh, which included Cutler completing eight of his first ten passes and getting three points on the board immediately. But again, it stalled with the snap of a finger, until the 4th quarter came around. First, Cutler took off on 3rd and 12 and completely fucked up Robert Golden for a gain of 14. Then, he rifled a 41-yard pass to Brandon Marshall on another 3rd down. On the last 3rd down of the drive, staring another measly field goal right in the face, Cutler lofted a perfect pass to Earl Bennett, ending the drive with a touchdown and the Steelers’ hopes of accomplishing anything this season. That was one of the most impressive drives of Cutler’s career in Chicago, and anyone who saw that sequence coming is totally full of themselves. Cutler is on pace right now to throw for 32 touchdowns, complete 68 percent of his passes, and only get sacked 16 times.
Now, the Bears have to put that massacre behind them and head to grotesque and uninviting Detroit to take on a group of criminals led by the world’s biggest moron, Jim Schwartz. Like the Bears, the Lions are coming off of a road win against the underachieving Redskins. The Lions have a dominant defensive line, but they have to. Without Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, and the rest of delinquents up front, the Lions would be in deep shit. Detroit has never had a good secondary, and that pathetic group would be even more under the microscope if they didn’t have a front-4 who can get to the quarterback at will and a high powered offense, now with a shiny new toy who goes by the name Reggie Bush. Once again, the Bears’ offensive line will be heavily tested. With the schedule after today’s contest reading New Orleans, New York, Washington, and Green Bay (two of which are on the road), getting to four wins would be great.
College Football Recap
Right now, there are four great teams in college football: Alabama, Oregon, Stanford, and Ohio State. Clemson is a very good team, but they also always seem to lose a game that they shouldn’t, and they still have to play Florida State and South Carolina. However, with D’Anthony Thomas’ gruesome looking ankle injury last night, that may be too much for Oregon to overcome in the long run.
So, USC once paid Reggie Bush. Penn State once employed a child predator and covered up his multiple molestations. Apparently, the NCAA believes that the USC situation is worse. Look, USC should be able to recruit regardless, but at the moment, they have less scholarships to offer than every other university. A week ago, Penn State was in that same boat. Now, they’re not. I couldn’t care less about some stupid Big-10 school in stupid Pennsylvania, but how is giving a player cool things worse than dozens of children having their youth and entire lives ruined by a sick man? Before I get myself in trouble, I will shut up, but the NCAA is a damn joke.
Notre Dame lost, though. Isn’t that terrific?
As we all know by now, Henry Melton (knee) is out for the remainder of the season. Melton wasn’t playing close to the bar he set last year in terms of getting to the quarterback, but the run defense was significantly better with Melton in the game. I expect Charles Tillman to suit up today (groin), but I don’t expect the same of Sherrick McManis (quad). Zack Bowman will play (knee). Like Melton, Lions DE Jason Jones (knee) is out for the year. Also for Detroit, WR Patrick Edwards (ankle) probably won’t play. DE Ziggy Ansah (abdomen), OT Jason Fox (groin), and OT Corey Hilliard (groin) are questionable, but each of them practiced on Friday. The following clowns will play: Ndamukong Suh (knee), CB Chris Houston (hand), OG Rob Sims (shoulder), WR Calvin Johnson (knee), LB DeAndre Levy (abdomen), OT Don Carey (hamstring), LB Ashlee Palmer (ankle), and RB Reggie Bush (knee). Nate Burleson is out for awhile after breaking his arm in a car accident this week.
Did you know?
Since 1990, 114 teams have started 3-0. Of those teams, 86 made the playoffs (75.4%).
I had a subtle brag last week about how well it was going for me so far through two weeks with my around-the-league predictions. Well, last week, I went an embarrassing 0-5. It doesn’t help when being reminded of it by a friend right in the middle of the day. Let’s turn it around today. I’m going with New Orleans over Miami, Atlanta over New England, Houston over Seattle, Kansas City over the Giants, and Pittsburgh over Minnesota in London. (9-7 on the season)
Players to Watch
Nick Fairley- Ndamukong Suh is always a guy to watch, because nobody knows for sure when he might have a big hit or when he might try to commit murder. Like Suh, Nick Fairley is a giant prick, but he has turned himself into one of the better defensive tackles in football. It helps that he has Ndamukong Suh next to him, which opens up a lot of one-on-one room for Fairley. Run defense has become Fairley’s specialty. The Lions are 29th against the run through three weeks, but most of those are not right at Suh and Fairley. Look for the Bears to try what others teams have and run sweeps and counters away from the middle of that defense in attempt to minimize their impact on the game.
Reggie Bush- Nobody saw Reggie Bush being selected after Mario Williams in the 2006 draft, but he was. Houston didn’t believe Bush was an every down RB, and it’s taken a third team to finally believe that he is. Bush was primarily used in New Orleans as a returner and primarily in Miami as a change-of-pace back. But now in Detroit, they’re giving him every opportunity to touch the ball 20-30 times every game, and after the first two games, it’s easy to see why. He’s never going to lead the league in rushing, but he sure does give the Lions’ offense a dimension that they haven’t had since they drafted Matthew Stafford. I expect the Lions to use Joique Bell quite a bit today, but Bush will get his touches as well.
Chris Conte- It’s hard, on a day like this, to rant on both safeties. After all, Major Wright did have a forced fumble and an interception for a touchdown seven days ago. But Chris Conte is really struggling this season. On every deep throw, it seems like Conte is a step behind. He’s a safety for a reason. Ben Roethlisberger was one more pump fake away from possibly getting Conte a place on the bench last week. With the Lions’ philosophy of pushing the ball down the field, combined with Reggie Bush getting into the open field quite a bit this year and Charles Tillman dealing with injury, Conte has to have a solid game today.
Nate Collins- Henry Melton wasn’t making a huge impact for the Bears and their pass rush this year, but make no mistake, his ACL tear will have a big effect on this defense. In his spot, Nate Collins will take over. Not that Collins is going to be as good as Melton, but he has shown promise when given an opportunity. As long as he is respectable today and for the rest of the year, the Chicago defense shouldn’t fall off too dramatically.
This is a winnable game for Chicago. Hell, 9/13 ESPN analysts picked the Bears to be victorious today. We all know the Lions well enough to know that they will probably do something that’s really fucking stupid to greatly contribute to a loss. Jim Schwartz will probably be the ring leader of that. But the Bears are going to have a mighty tough time today dealing with the size of the Lions offense. Brandon Pettigrew, Calvin Johnson, Joseph Fauria, and Kris Durham are all 6’5 or taller. To compliment this, Reggie Bush is fast as hell on turf. Tillman isn’t 100 percent, and Conte’s had a rough go of it to start the year. Lions 37-35. (3-0 on the year)
-Brian Ociepka (@bjociepka1)