If you told me the Pats would drive the ball down the Bears throat so hard on the opening drive it looked like some kind of reverse Heimlich and would score 38 or more points four games in a row for the first time in team history I would expect this to be a real laugher of a Sunday afternoon. Instead, what we got was a Rorschach test that can best be described as a moth that exploded against my windshield when I'm doing 90 mph on the Mass Pike.
Lets start with the least egregious mistake we made all day, but the one that had me tossing and turning in a cold sweat all night. ANOTHER PICK. A not just another pick. Oh no. It was another pick that was legit tossed up in the air by a Patriots pass catcher after they had caught said pass. Admittedly, it was a sketchy throw to begin with and could have been picked on the way to Devlin. But after it got by and Devlin caught it, I figured since he is a person in the NFL who plays for the Patriots and not the Bears, he wouldn't then hand that pass to a Bears defender. If he had any self respect at all, he would at least make a football move first so it goes in the books as a fumble instead of an interception.
That's 7 picks on the year. Tommy had 8 all of last year, which included him unraveling down the stretch, and he hasn't thrown double digit picks since 2013. He's on pace to torpedo that number and I can't say I'm thrilled about it.
The turnovers this year have been a bit alarming if we want to really get into it. Winning the turnover battle used to be as natural to us as no reason boners are to 15 year olds. It's the way of the world, no use fighting it, just tuck that shit into your elastic and stand up. This year we've only been on the positive side of things three times, coming against the Jags, Colts, and Chiefs. With all the emphasis we put on taking care of the football, the results aren't lining up. I'm not going to remember to track this, but if I was less lazy and didn't have dementia, I'd love to compare how many times we turn the ball over weeks 1-8 vs weeks 9-16.
My favorite turnover of the game, if such a thing exists, was watching Patterson rugby toss the ball directly to the Bears on a kickoff return to completely crush any momentum we had in that game. I don't give a shit that he "redeemed" himself with a 95 yard kickoff return tuddy. GET OFF MY TEAM. I hate how Bill brought him in and figured if he returns even one kick for us to the house that swings a game it will be worth it, and now he feels so justified. This dude stinks and is a waste of a roster spot. All his return tuddy did was take away an eventual passing tuddy from Tom so thanks for nothing you bust.
I secretly know Bill loves shit show games like this because without Special Teams we straight up lose, and he gets to do his "all three phases are equally important" speech during team meetings all week. And god damnit, he isn't wrong. Without the CP crib job, and the High blocked punt, we start asking some serious questions about what this team is capable of on the road.
With the two special teams scores, it meant the defense was going straight back on the field, which meant a heavy snap count for those boys. Eric Rowe was finally healthy enough to get torched by WRs all of the field, and I missed watching that about as much I miss watching Entourage episodes when Vince is a drug addict. I flip flop on Eric Rowe so often. There was a point mid season last year where I beaked a Philly fan in a bar for giving up on Eric Rowe and letting us have a talent like him for free. That's a true story. I hope when he spoke of me during the Super Bowl he spoke well.
The weirdest part for me was Eric Rowe doesn't feel like the type of guy who comes back from injury and instantly gets his job back, like say Jules was when he returned. J-Mac has been a little puppy we found abandoned under the bridge covered in fleas who got a bath and a haircut and is now the goodest boy. But then when Rowe wanders back to the house after running away for the millionth time he gets his ears scratched? Perplexing to me to see J-Mac's snaps go down the way they did. He was only in for 55% (Gilmore 99% for reference) and even that was higher than it was going to be because Rowe aggravated his groin again and left the game.
JC Jackson and Jonathan Jones are my favorite underrated corners on this squad, and I've been clamoring for the them to get more snaps. Especially JC. Well, with the increased snaps on the defensive side of the ball, and the Rowe injury, JC actually got in for 31 of the 82! Unfortunately on 2 of those snaps he took the most ridiculous hands to the face penalties I have ever seen and that made me want to banish him to the Land of Clutch and Grabbers where he can hang with Darius Butler, Jonathan Wilhite, and the like.
I'd be remiss in my duties, however, to not point out that both of those dudes each made one of the most ridiculous picks I've seen all year. Jones wasn't even looking and stuck one hand in the air likes Smalls and Benny the Tits Trubisky put it right on the money. And I have no words to describe the Jackson pick because I believe in my heart it was a video game glitch and I wont hear otherwise.
Those two picks were less confusing than the two dropped picks though. That's how I really knew it was a weird day at the office. Those are exactly the type of plays that we make all the time that absolutely crushes opposing teams. They're moving the ball well like they think it's a damn fight. And then whoops. Red Area interception annnnnnnd they're done. On Sunday, Van Noy and Gilmore gave the Bears second chances and we almost paid dearly. Had Kevin White's dick been a little bit bigger I would not want to be the guys who handed the Bears free points earlier in the game.
Should we talk about the hail mary?? I don't think so. Gotta be better there, but Harmon put it well and no one over reacted once it was caught. They did their job and somehow that was enough. However, it did cause the 07 Ravens hail mary video to surface and I COMPLETELY forgot that happened. All I remember from that panic attack is the Rex Ryan timeout on the QB sneak and the Jabar Gaffney catch in the end zone. The hail mary was so upsetting that my brain blocked it out.
Instead lets talk about two kicks for a second. Why on earth didn't the Bears kick a FG at the end of the half? They had one second left and they threw a check down to Cohen. I'll take it because he was going for me in my ppr fantasy league, but I'm pretty sure the FG was going to be 57 yards or something. Newsflash, that is a very makeable kick. It's not a distance thing at all. Every time someone in the league lines up a long one they end up being good from about 70. It's a short iron and that's all. The only difficult part is keeping it between the goal posts. A miss gives the Pats great field position, but, repeat, there was ONE SECOND left. Were they afraid of it getting blocked?? That's some chicken shit football right there, at home, with the big bad Pats on the ropes.
And then how about Allen's last punt of the game? Holy hell. Maybe he was rusty after we ran train on the Chiefs and he forgot how to kick. He had a few bad ones against Chicago, but we were kicking from their 35 or something and he flat BOMBED one out of the back of the end zone. Taking a touch back there is completely inexcusable on every level, but I would kiiiiiind of understand if he hit a moon shot that landed on the 5 and it kicked hard into pay dirt before we could get our hands on it. This fool must have forgot what side of the field we were on. Either that or his girl was in the crowd and he just wanted to show off his leg. That punt went for net zero yards (number approx) and then the Bears ended up one yard short of tying the game. We were 3 feet away from me demanding his head on a spike outside The Razor as a warning to all future lefty punters Bill brings in.
I said this last week but HIGH is all the way back. He's playing 76% of the snaps. He had 5 tackles. And on the punt block it wasn't so much a good scheme as it was HIGH stuffing that lineman in a locker where he belongs like the nerd he is. And I thought Van Noy was much better too. He played almost the whole game, had 6 tackles, and I can't remember him whiffing anyone in the backfield. If he overran that punt block I might have had some words for him, but he's off the hook for now.
The OLine did their job as well. I thought Tommy might go down a few times Sunday heading into the tilt. They only got him once, but there were two times during the game that pressure came up the middle so fast I thought they were Von Miller-ing us in the 2016 afccg. Not a great look when the nose tackles are getting off the ball before our center. Waddle did a solid job filling in. And as much as I make fun of him, deep down I believe he is one of the best backup tackles in the league and that is a luxury when you employ Marcus 'IR' Cannon.
Either way, Khalil Mack did his best JJ Watt impression, going as a ghost just in time for Halloween. He was lined up over Brown (unsung hero of the season by a mile) more than he was lined up over anyone else, but the entire unit did a fantastic job containing this force of nature. I know he's hurt and that probably wasn't his best effort, but any time you can stop a mountain troll you get 15 points to Gryffindor for sheer dumb luck.
Flash Gordon continues to be a bright shining star in my life. With each hands catch he makes another fairy bursts into existence. He played 61 of 64 snaps, and I think his only break was after his huge catch and run when he was visibly gassed. I wanted him to get in there so badly, and I'm kind of mad he ran out of steam like that. I know he's getting his sea legs under him but that was only 54 yards! Is that level of endurance real life? It was definitely a page out of the Johnny O sex manual. We're not here for a long time we're here for a good time.
How about the Pass Interference non call on Gordon's brass balls 4th down catch? The refs were bad all game, and whatever I can deal, but that was the best tackle I saw all day and it came before Tom let go of the ball. Credit to Flash fighting through contact like I've been begging a Pats receiver to do since I came out of the womb, and credit to Flash's helmet for making me scream like a school girl because I thought it was the ball and he dropped it.
James Wiggle White is must start in all formats. The guy is a machine. He used to be that guy you wondered if you could start in fantasy, because you feared the game play would dictate his impact, and since the Pats are always winning how much action can a "passing back" get? Well update, Wiggle is not a passing back. He's a passing bell cow. That will remain our stance until further notice.
OK I hate to end with some bad stuff, but I've been saving these things because they pissed me off so much.
1) The Tits Trubisky scrambles will give me nightmares for a month. It looked like when Cam Newton would get back there and we do that over pursue thing where we run past him one thousand times on every third down. He had 6 carries for 81 yards! What planet am I on?? The long 39 yarder was painful to watch, but the tuddy run when it was actually 8 yards but he ran 70+ was flat out insulting. I've got thick enough skin and can take a punch if I need to, but I wasn't raised to sit there and take behavior like that from the Pats D lying down. They will be hearing from my lawyer if I ever see something like that again.
2) The opposing tight end production. Tony Gonzalez went for 9, 126, and a tuddy on 11 targets and single handedly kept the Bears in the game. Oh wait, that was Trey Burton??? My mistake. This came two weeks after Eric Ebron joined the Aaron Hernandez Tight Ends Who Murder Us Club. The only reason Kelce isn't a card carrying member is because we made it our life's mission to stop him. I think its this cover two bullshit we do when we are refusing to get beat deep. It leaves the middle of the field wide open, and when a tight end knows how to find those soft spots in the zone we are very susceptible. That combined with the fact that I still think Dev has fallen off a cliff and it adds up to a real problem area. To my untrained eye, it looks like we have backers and safeties in a zone, but when tight ends run into that zone we don't quite understand that you now must now cover that guy. We stay rooted to our spot as if the "zone" is literally the 1 square foot of grass we're standing on. Ummmm, not sure how to say this politely, but that's not how this works.
3) Sony fucking Michele. As I publish this, all the reports are that he avoided serious injury. He's week to week. And with a week 11 bye, I'm kind of hoping he's ready to go after that. In the moment it looked season ending. I thought he shattered his ankle and I still don't understand how it's his knee. I'm thrilled with the MRI results but I'm still scared. At what point does a guy have too many knee problems? The Money Mitchell saga is still a fresh wound that I'm not ready to reopen. So please don't let this derail his career before it even started. I was very much looking forward to watch him rip 1000 yard seasons for pennies on the dollar for the next four years before we let him walk in free agency to grab our compensatory third round pick. Could you ever have imaged four weeks ago that I'd be crying about losing Sony? Ain't football funny?