Grizzly Details: Poor Officiating, Pass Coverage Kill Bears vs. Packers

Trestman Won’t Berate Officials, So We Will For Him

The NFL is notorious for fining players and coaches if they criticize officials, but it’s understandable that Marc Trestman declined to assail officials for what can only be described as a shoddy performance on Sunday.

Whether it was the phantom hands-to-the-face penalty on Julius Peppers, the weird call against Sam Shields as he tried to avoid Jay Cutler, the absurd defenseless receiver penalty on Ryan Mundy, or the DJ Williams unnecessary roughness penalty, the men in stripes for this game weren’t at their best, and all Trestman was willing to say about it was that “everybody is going to look at the tape and come to their own conclusions.”

No, the officials did not cost the Bears the game today (their secondary made sure to do that for them), but they certainly didn’t help things. The Williams penalty was especially painful, as it took away a third down stop and gave the Packers an opportunity to score, and the holding penalty on Jon Bostic on a field goal had the same impact later in the game.

Especially in the cases of the Shields, Mundy, and Williams penalties, the officials flat blew the calls, and it calls attention to the NFL’s need to have personal foul penalties be reviewable. The league is apparently moving in that direction, and it’s about time. Those penalties altered the course of the game, and although blaming them for the Bears’ loss would be excessive, it certainly didn’t help to have to deal with the incorrect rules interpretations.

Jeffery Play Possibly Trestman’s Best Move

In the second quarter of the game, the Bears were in the red zone and looking to take the lead back. Alshon Jeffery went in motion on the play, and when he cut back to the opposite side of the field, the Packers’ defense didn’t pick him up, and Cutler tossed him an easy pass that the receiver ran into the end zone for a key touchdown.

“We stole that from somebody,” Cutler told the media after the game. “It’s a copy-cat league. If we see a play that we can steal and set it up, then we’ll take advantage of it.”

That last part of the Cutler quote illustrates why the play call by Trestman was so perfect. With Jeffery, teams are constantly on the lookout for that reverse play, as the Bears usually will dial it up at least once a game. The Packers have undoubtedly seen that play on all sorts of video, and all 11 players swept to the right side of the field.

Perhaps the most underrated part of the play was how well Cutler sold it. He kept his eyes locked on the right side of the field after the snap, and just as Jeffery made his cut back to the left side Cutler wheeled around and tossed him the ball. Not giving the play away was a nice bit of acting by the quarterback, and Trestman’s ability to throw wrinkles into his game plan really paid off huge in that situation.

Bears’ Secondary Exposed Against Legitimate Quarterback

In the first three weeks of the season, the Bears have played against quarterbacks whose primary skill is their mobility. EJ Manuel, Colin Kaepernick, and Geno Smith all demand teams that can keep them largely contained in the pocket, and if you can do that, then you’ll have success.

Aaron Rodgers is obviously a different beast from those three, and with all day to throw from the pocket on Sunday, he made the Bears pay. He torched them for 302 yards and four touchdowns in the game, and even when he was throwing the ball quickly, the Bears’ corners and safeties couldn’t keep up with him.

Isaiah Frey was burned on one touchdown as he faced Randall Cobb in one-on-one coverage. Jordy Nelson won a one-on-one battle with Kyle Fuller on the outside. Even Richard Rodgers, a tight end with scant NFL experience, burned the Bears at one point, taking advantage of a coverage miscue by Mundy and scoring a 43-yard gain in the process.

These types of big plays haven’t been occurring against Chicago so far this season, and it was an alarming wake-up call in multiple areas. Without Jared Allen, the Bears weren’t able to get pressure around the edges to force Rodgers into making decisions, and without responsible coverage over the top by the safeties or in one-on-one situations by the corners, things went from bad to worse.

If this is any indication for how the Bears will look against Cam Newton, Matt Ryan, and Tom Brady in the month of October, then things are about to get worse before they get better for the team. 

09/28/14: Both Bears QB Jay Cutler and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers were throwing well during Sunday’s game, so what happened?
09/28/14: After Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers, and a quarter of the way through the season, Dan Hampton says he has no idea who the 2014 Chicago Bears are trying to be.
09/28/14: Sports Sunday viewers sound off on social media after the Bears lose to the Packers at Soldier Field.
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