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Oh man, if only the Chicago Bears only had a good NFL coach…they’d be the favorites for the NFC North title with Aaron Rodgers out this year. If somehow Sean McVay landed here to start 2017… coulda, woulda, shoulda. Instead, another game the Bears should have won…frittered away.
Part of the Bears’ problem is they have the ‘luck of the Browns’… The Saints scored a TD on the opening drive. How? A defender fell down in coverage on a simple flare pass and it turned into a 50+ yard gain to get things going. The Bears held the Saints, forcing a field goal…but then lined up offsides on the attempt, and gave the Saints a fresh set of downs, which led to an eventual TD.
Down 14-3 before the half, the Bears missed a field goal to close it to one score.
Mitchell Trubisky hit Zach Miller for a terrific long TD pass in 2nd-half, on the play where Miller nearly lost his leg on due to injury…it was a pretty clear TD catch to everyone watching, including the game commentators on TV. Inexplicably it was reversed to a ‘drop’…in maybe the most glaring example of horrible replay officiating since replay began. The Bears settled for a field goal.
Down 17-12 late, and driving…the Bears couldn’t convert on two plays on 3rd & 1. The game ended 20-12, as the Bears tried to tie the game with a 1+ minute left, but Trubisky threw an anticipation pass one way and the receiver went another…a stupid decision for Trubisky to try to get it all in one play deep with time to keep chopping his way downfield.
Once you have the Bears down on the scoreboard they’re done because all they do is run the ball to get back into the game. No receivers are ever open with their practice squad starting lineup of WRs, and their best receiver, Tarik Cohen, is never on the field in passing situations every other game. John Fox is coaching this very good team to losses in games they should win…in games that you can see they are better than their opponents.
This loss pretty much ends the Bears’ playoff hopes barring a miracle. The schedule + the Bears nucleus of talent is begging them to go 9-7 and make noise but this loss pushes them more 8-8, and John Fox will find a way to convert that to 6-10/7-9. I cannot wait until he’s gone for Trubisky’s sake.
We got aboard the Saints bandwagon early because The Computer loved them based on the internal metrics. They’ve now won five in a row. They’re good, but not great…barely even good – just better than people thought a few weeks ago. The Saints are going to hit a rough patch from Weeks 10-14, if they can steal two wins in those five tough games, then they win the NFC South handly. The Computer is projecting 10-6 and the NFC South title…and a first-round playoff loss.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- I re-watched/made notes on every throw in this game by Mitchell Trubisky (14-32 for 164 yards, 0 TD/1 INT), as I do every week; just so I can stay in tune. My biggest takeaway – this is the Jeff Fisher/Mike Zimmer offense…too much running, WRs running predictable pass patterns in obvious pass situations and rarely is anyone is open. They throw only when necessary. They’re going to try to win games by getting a lead and running every play hoping the defense holds and the clock expires.
Trubisky put some throws on receivers in this game that were stellar. In-stride, right on the receiver so the never have to stop/adjust…and only where the receiver can get it and the defender has no chance. He’s not throwing bubble screens and miracles to Mike Evans like other supposed great QBs. He’s not evading sacks and emerging from the fray to hit wide-open receivers in broken coverage. Trubisky is stuck in a traditional passing game trying to make the best out of it on limited pass attempts to terrible WRs and slow TEs…as Tarik Cohen watches from the sideline.
If Trubisky had any of the media love or coaching love that Wentz-Watson-Winston had, he’d be throwing 35-40+ times a game and getting up to speed faster and putting bigger results. Instead, he’s kept in a box, treated like a 1990’s ‘rookie’ QB. Rookie QBs today are better than the best QBs from 70s-80s-90s…but for coaches who learned to coach from that era, they still treat rookies like rookies instead of cutting it loose. How did Sean McVay take the 2016 worst offense in football and make it the best offense in 2017 with a rookie-ish QB? How did Dak Prescott walk in and win the NFC East and retire Tony Romo? It’s there for the taking…but John Fox isn’t taking it. He’s not capable of doing so.
You can’t take Trubisky serious for fantasy until he’s rid of John Fox…and then hope they don’t make a similar mistake with the 2018 head coach.
You have Trubisky on your dynasty team? Root for the Bears to lose every week to get Fox dumped.
-- You want to hear something crazy? Tarik Cohen (4-2-1, 1-6-0/3) is #25 in PPG PPR among all RBs this season YTD.
Even crazier, sadder…here is his catches in each game this season starting with Week 1: 8-8-4-4-1-1-1-1. Unconscionable…given the Bears WR issues.
Every week is a new story with Cohen…more bizarre than the week prior. Week 7, he’s playing flanker and seeing targets like he’s their top receiver (targeted on 3 of their 7 passes Week 7). This week, he’s barely involved but then comes into a goal line situation and leaps a tall building for a TD. Two TDs in his last three games…one of them passing.
I don’t even know what to tell you with Cohen, but I leave you with these two thoughts…
1: I don’t know when or how, but Cohen is going to be a star. A runner-receiver threat potentially beyond Tyreek Hill because he’s a better runner, not as athletically gifted as Hill, but super-gifted and tough. Cohen is a better receiver as well. There will be a day where this will pay off…could be 2019, though.
2: The Bears are going into their BYE week. Two weeks to prepare…two weeks to change the playbook. Week 10 is a must-win for the Bears or the season is about done. Will they put more wrinkles in for Cohen? They have shown to want to do so every other week and then repeal it the following week.
If there is no change Week 10, nothing encouraging or radical…then it’s probably time to fold Cohen in redraft.
Players like this only come around so often.
-- WR #23 in PPG in non-PPR this season-to-date: Ted Ginn (2-68-0/4)…tied with Adam Thielen. #29 in PPR.
Ginn made a helluva catch on a 53-yard bomb in double coverage…it may have saved this game late for the Saints. Ginn’s other catch in this game was a nice bubble screen set up and nice Ginn run. Ginn had another bubble screen set up but the pass was batted down by a DL.
Ginn doesn’t have to get 8+ targets a game to be fantasy relevant. We need him touching the ball at least 4 times. Usually, that means 3 catches and a run…and one of the catches is usually a long ball…and one of the runs is usually in the red zone sniffing a TD.
Ginn is tracking more as a WR2 because his targeting in red zone/end zone has been so strong. Don’t overlook or underestimate him…especially against the awful pass defense of Tampa Bay this week.
-- Zach Miller done for 2017 and beyond. Is there a TE worth looking at after him?
Dion Sims is a stiff.
Adam Shaheen is Trubisky’s BFF but he looks really stiff every time I see him on the field. Trubisky targeted him in the end zone on a play but Shaheen couldn’t escape coverage at all…he got worked by Vonn Bell.
Daniel Brown (1-9-0/1) is the more athletic Zach Miller, and I guy I think would be great…but he gets no respect and this passing game is garbage so it’s a long-shot only. If Brown were in a functional passing game – he’s a TE1 talent.
-- Drew Brees (23-28 for 299 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) in his last three games: 246.0 yards passing, 1.0 TD/1.0 INT per game.
Brees hasn’t gotten ‘bad’…it’s just this is the way old-school coaches want things to happen – get a lead and sit on it with a run game. The Saints haven’t had that luxury for years. Now, they do. Brees is the #9 QB in PPG (4pts per pass TD) on the season.
An uptick should come as the schedule gets tougher and the Saints have to throw more.
-- Tre McBride (3-92-0/5) is not terrible. He’s pretty athletic, but not a great instinctual/technical WR. He can make a big play one week then disappear the next. You can’t bet on him in this passing game, but he might emerge as the WR to have here…a WR4, though.
-- Adrian Amos (6 tackles, 2 TFLs) is killing it lately – 7.2 tackles, 1.0 TFLs, 0.6 PDs per game the last five games.
-- Saints LB Craig Robertson (5 tackles, 2 TFLs) continues to produce nicely as a starter the past three weeks – 7.3 tackles, 1.0 TFLs, 0.33 PDs per game the past three games.
Snap Counts of Interest…
31 = Kamara
31 = Ingram
40 = Josh Hill
16 = Fleener
48 = Jordan Howard
18 = Cohen
65 = Gentry
42 = McBride
38 = Wright