When it comes to the game between the Chicago Bears and the San Diego Chargers, the story of the first stringers for each team is night and day. Earlier, I predicted that this game would be a turnover fest as the always-opportunistic Bears defense was going to eat the turnover machine, that is Philip Rivers, alive!
The Chargers’ first-string offense looked horrible. Much was made of first-round draft pick D.J. Fluker taking over at Right Tackle. He did look good on a lot of plays. He’s going to have a long and storied career. However, if the other four guys on the Chargers Offensive Line keep playing like that, the Chargers brass had better have more Charlie Whitehurst jerseys printed. Those four matadors are going to get Rivers sacked so many times even his own mother won’t be able to identify the body.
I have to say that early on, the Chargers front seven on defense looked good. They breezed through the Bear’s line and early on embarrassed the two rookies that were manning the right side. Even when Matt Forte ripped off his 58 yarder, it was when he took an off-tackle run and bounced it outside. However, once the rookies started settling the butterflies, Trestman called a bunch of run headed in their direction and pass plays that called for them to max protect. It seemed to settle down and played well paving the way for a lot of nice clean runs including a Michael Bush touchdown.
I know there’s going to be a lot made in the media about how good the Bear’s offense looked, but to my mind, there is a little fool’s gold sprinkled in there. All game, the playmaking power of the defense gave the Bear’s offense great field position. The first stringers didn’t have to make a lot of plays to score.
When the Bear’s offense was called on to put together a long drive, we saw a lot of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall trying to fall back on their old chemistry. Unfortunately, Mark Trestman’s style of offense isn’t based on one Quarterback and one Wide Receiver having good enough chemistry to feel comfortable forcing the ball. It’s built to create matchups that force the opposing defense to leave a Receiver or two in single or in the inferior coverage of a Linebacker. The strategy spreads the ball around short to open up the big play deep.
The Bubble screen to Marshall and later the short out for a touchdown were products of good field position given by the defense and Trestman’s style of offense giving Marshall the single coverage outside in the end zone.
When Jay Cutler was called upon to operate a long drive, staying in Trestman’s principles, he eventually got frustrated, tried to force one to Marshall and it was picked off. The kind of Quarterback play that forces the ball instead of exploiting the matchup will only cause a rift between Head Coach and Quarterback by midseason. Not a good sign for Cutler in a contract year!
The Chargers second string tried a valiant comeback behind Charlie Whitehurst and Brad Sorenson, but in the true character of the Bears, the defense and special teams put the offense in position to win the game on monster returns by Michael Ford and a blocked punt by J.T. Thomas.
If the Bear’s defense can keep the offense on the opponent’s side of the field long enough for Cutler to find himself in Trestman’s offense, it could be great year to be a fan in the windy city. If Cutler can’t adapt to Trestman’s philosophy, then at least you can draft Robbie Gould to your Fantasy Team!
If you’re a San Diego Chargers fan, this would not be too early to start praying for Philip Rivers.
Eric Beuning is a Fantasy Football writer for RantSports.com.