Monday, November 12, 2007

Bears in Oakland

Just a couple of quick notes from the game yesterday. It was nice to watch the game in person, first of all. The more games I see live the more games I want to see live. Sure, you don't have the commentators to help you understand what's happening on the field, but they're so rarely helpful, and their loss is more than made up for by the fact that you can see the entire field: the way the defenses are set up, the routes all the receivers are running, etc. For instance, on Grossman's deep pass to Berrian, you could see that Berrian was open as soon as Grossman released the ball, and watching the whole thing was just beautiful; it's completely different from on television where you see Grossman launch the ball and then you have to cross your fingers in fear for the few seconds it takes for the ball to travel far enough for the receiver to be in the frame. I really wish television coverage would have some sort of wide shot set up so when QB's threw the ball deep they could immediately pull out to a larger frame of that included the receivers and the quarterback.

I also noticed that at least twice during the first half, when Hester was in a lot more (for some reason Hester wasn't on the field nearly as often once Grossman came in... why?!), Hester was completely open going deep across the middle. He'd beat is his corner and the safeties had pulled up for some reason. Griese never saw, or else he didn't think he had the arm strength to pull off the throw, or something. Or else Hester's still supposed to be nothing but a decoy. Whatever it is, he could be utilized so much better than he is. I even heard random Oakland fans talking about it in line to get snacks. 'Hester was open on several plays, but they just don't throw it to him! They're offense is almost as stupid as our offense!'

Look, Grossman played himself out of a job at the beginning of the season. He was abysmal. But yesterday, it was obvious that he was the best quarterback who played in the game. Sure, Griese had a higher completion percentage, but how many of those completions were three-yard checkdown's on third-and-long? While Griese was on the field, the Bears didn't even threaten to approach the end zone. As soon as Grossman came on, the offense suddenly became a little bit threatening. Sure, it took them most of the half to finally get something to work, but I'd much rather see third-and-long fail because of a 15-yard incomplete pass that looked like it was probably QB receiver communication problems (not necessarily surprising, considering Grossman hadn't played since the third week) than a string of third-and-long plays that couldn't even convert in theory. Grossman's inconsistency is scary, and if he gets to start and reverts to his early-season INT machine self, I don't see how they can afford not to give Orton an extended look. But for now the choice is Griese or Grossman, and it's pretty obvious that Grossman's the only one capable of making some second half scrappy pull for the playoffs.

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