Week 1 Game Recap: Chicago Bears 7, Washington Redskins 9
What you need to know
The Bears’ offense looked much like last year’s 32nd-ranked offense, scoring only seven points and struggling mightily against the Redskins’ pressure defense. Rookie Kyle Orton started the game and demonstrated some poise and patience in the pocket, but didn’t post solid numbers with 141 yards on 28 attempts, no TDs and an interception. Orton was sacked three times, one of which resulted in the fumble that effectively ended the Bears’ hopes of pulling out the victory. His interception was in the end zone on a ball intended for Muhsin Muhammad, but was tipped by one Redskin before being caught by Lemar Marshall.
Muhammad was a favored target of Orton’s, accounting for six receptions and 59 yards. He was double-covered late in the game, making Orton to look elsewhere or force the ball to his top receiver. Justin Gage started the game, but was not targeted as often as rookie Mark Bradley, but both caught only one pass apiece.
Thomas Jones got the majority of the carries, but struggled mightily with only 31 yards on 15 attempts. He did score the game’s lone TD on a one yard rush set up by a third down pass to Gage. Cedric Benson, the rookie who held out and missed all of the preseason, carried three times for ten yards. The Bears’ rushing offense looked meek against the swarming Redskins defense.
The Bears’ defense was successful at holding the Redskins out of the end zone, but did yield long plays of 41 yards on a Clinton Portis rush and 52 yards on a reception by Santana Moss. Redskin running backs tallied 162 yards on 33 carries for the game. Nathan Vasher intercepted one pass, and had another called back due to a pass interference penalty by Mike Green. The Green penalty set up the Redskins’ first scoring drive.
The Redskins did not score a touchdown, lost their starting QB to injury in the second quarter, and yet had enough to beat the Bears to open the season. Patrick Ramsey was injured in the second quarter and did not return, leaving Mark Brunell to lead the team for the rest of the game. Although Ramsey was reportedly cleared to play by the Redskins’ sideline, HC Joe Gibbs stuck with Brunell. Ramsey was not particularly effective, posting 105 yards on six completions in 11 attempts. Nathan Vasher intercepted him on a badly overthrown ball intended for Santana Moss. The Redskins did not score during Ramsey’s time in the game, but they did score three field goals with Brunell under center. Brunell was an even less effective passer than Ramsey, completing eight of 14 passes for only 70 yards, but he did not turn the ball over.
The Redskins’ first scoring drive was set up by a 36 yard pass interference penalty by Mike Green on a pass that was intercepted but reversed by the penalty. The Redskins scored on the following drive after a 23 yard pass play to Chris Cooley brought the Redskins inside the Bears’ 30 yard line. In the fourth quarter, trailing 7-6, the Redskins mounted a 14 play drive to the Bears’ one yard line before kicking the go-ahead FG.
Clinton Portis was effective in the Redskins’ offense, collecting 121 yards on 21 carries. Ladell Betts also saw significant time. He not only rushed 12 times for 41 yards, but also and received more red zone carries and more fourth quarter touches than Portis.
Santana Moss caught four passes for 96 yards, most of which came on a 52 yard crossing pattern before he was caught from behind. Chris Cooley caught three passes out of the backfield, and had a touchdown reception nullified by his own pass interference penalty.
The Redskin rushing defense was stellar, holding Bears’ rushers to only 41 yards on 18 carries for the game. The Bears did score a rushing touchdown from one yard out, but the short drive started in Redskins territory after a Redskins’ special teams fumble.
What you ought to know
Orton, starting in his first NFL game, struggled with the Redskins pressure and never really got the Bears’ offense on track. He completed only two of eight passes during the first four drives and the Bears only produced one first down during that time. He connected on four straight passes later in the first half, but a penalty and a sack put an end to the Bears’ fifth drive of the game. The lone touchdown of the game came early in the third quarter, following a Redskins’ fumble at their own 23 yard line on the half’s opening kickoff. Orton completed two of three passes in the red zone, hitting Muhsin Muhammad and Justin Gage on third downs to keep the drive alive. The pass to Gage was completed to the one yard line, and Thomas Jones plunged in for the touchdown on the next play. Orton was sacked three times, the final of which resulted in a fumble and a turnover on the Bears’ last possession. Orton was intercepted late in the third quarter when he forced the ball to Muhammad into triple coverage near the end zone. He was nearly intercepted a second time late in the game on a severely under thrown ball toward Mark Bradley.
Someone needs to tell Cutler what color his team was supposed to be wearing, because it sure looked like he was targeting the Green rather than the White in Week 1. Cutler threw a career high four interceptions against Green Bay, and it was not like he was getting bad breaks with tipped passes. The Packers were everywhere the ball was when it was in the air, and Cutler was lucky not to have even more interceptions after the rocky start to his Bear career. He was under some pressure but more often than not it looked like he was out of sync with his receiving corps who struggled to find open spaces. The schedule does not get much easier next week as the Bears host Pittsburgh next week.
|RB Thomas Jones, Rush: 15 - 31 - 1, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (4 targets)|
Jones had a poor game rushing the ball with an average of 2.1 yards per carry on 15 attempts. He did score the Bears’ lone touchdown of the game on a one yard run early in the third quarter. Jones was also one of Kyle Orton’s favorite targets in the passing game, tying Mark Bradley for second on the team with four targets. None of his touches resulted in a gain of more than eight yards, so his big play potential was bottled up by the Redskin defense. Jones had a run for seven yards and a reception for negative yardage nullified by penalties. He carried the ball three times in the red zone out of the Bears’ six red zone plays for the game.
Benson watched most of the game from the sidelines, but he did see his first NFL action in the fourth quarter. He entered the game for one series and carried three times for ten yards, but was replaced during the drive by Thomas Jones when the Bears were in a passing situation. Jones, the veteran, is likely favored by the Bears in passing situations due to his experience with picking up blitzes.
Edwards didn’t carry the ball, but did catch one pass on two targets. In other words, he wasn’t much of a factor in the game.
Peterson had an opportunity to show off for the coaching staff and perhaps earn more playing time in this game, but it appears that he literally fumbled that chance away. With Cedric Benson struggling to get anything going in the run game, Chicago turned to Peterson more as the game went on. His seven rushes for 38 yards (5.4 YPC) is certainly a large upgrade over Benson’s 2.2 YPC. But Peterson’s fumble early in the fourth quarter with the Chargers up 7-3 put San Diego in position to drive in for the clinching score. With the Bears trying to salvage the game later, Peterson was stood up on third down and two to go. He was very tentative on the play, and his baby steps approach obviously didn’t get the job done.
The rookie saw just four snaps in 74 total plays, carrying the ball one time for four yards. Forte touched the ball 16 total times for 169 yards. Carey is not worth a roster spot unless you are in the deepest of leagues.
As it stands now, it’s hard to tell which running back truly is the Bears’ No. 2.
While the depth chart says it’s Jacquizz Rodgers, conventional wisdom says it’s Jeremy Langford, whom first-year general manager Ryan Pace used a fourth-round pick to select.
Langford carried the ball only once.
Wolfe was a non-factor in Week 1, getting just a handful of carries. The important takeaways from this game are that Wolfe is the clear backup (Adrian N. Peterson had no touches) and that Matt Forte is the running game once again for the Bears. Wolfe’s only fantasy value is as a handcuff to Forte and even then he may split time with the “other” Adrian Peterson if Forte should lose time to injury.
Muhammad was clearly Kyle Orton’s favorite target amongst the WR corps, with 12 of the 19 targets to the group. He was also Orton’s primary receiving threat in the red zone, being targeted twice on three passes. Late in the game, the Redskins were clearly keying on Muhammad, bracketing him with double coverage and making Orton force the ball into his top receiver. The Bears may have to spread the ball around a bit more in order to loosen the coverage on Muhammad. He also dropped two passes that he clearly should have caught, and one other that he had his hands on but was a difficult play.
Gage started the game and was only targeted twice, resulting in one catch for ten yards. His lone catch was nearly turned into a touchdown as he caught the ball in stride and was stopped on the Redskins’ one yard line. The other pass that was targeted for Gage was batted at the line of scrimmage.
Berrian caught the only pass that Kyle Orton threw in his direction for the game. He is the fourth receiver on the Bears behind Muhsin Muhammad, Justin Gage and rookie Mark Bradley.
Bradley didn’t get the start, but did receive more targets than starter Justin Gage. Orton threw four passes in Bradley’s direction, but he only corralled one ball for 22 yards on a third down play that brought the Bears to the Redskins’ 22 yard line. He wasn’t targeted in the end zone, but was targeted on a long pass late in the fourth quarter, meaning that he could become the Bears’ deep threat.
Jeffery’s 1st game of his career was pretty impressive. The first two passes thrown his way were really off target and not really his fault on the miss. On the third pass, he was triple covered on a deep crossing route, but he hung on for a nice 15 yard gain. His next was a short curl route where he spun after the catch and made several people miss on his way to another big gain. His final reception was a huge gain – a 42 yard bomb down the middle of the field after several consecutive running plays. Indianapolis was focused on the run, and Jeffery was able to beat his man deep. Cutler threw a perfect pass and Jeffery got both feet down in the end zone for a back-breaking score that put the game out of reach for the Bears.
Rookie Johnny Knox had but two catches on the evening in Week 1, but his speed was well on display on a deep route down the right side where he beat the corner by several yards and made the catch without slowing down. Only a shoestring tackle that forced him to step out of bounds kept the young wideout from scoring his first NFL touchdown. Knox played the role of WR3 for the Bears and a speedy deep threat will become a favorite target for Jay Cutler if Knox keeps producing like he did in Week 1.
Eddie Royal was brought to Chicago to be the slot receiver the Bears have been seeking for years on end, but he was nothing more than the fourth option against the Packers. Catching only one ball on five targets, Royal had a very forgettable first game as a Bear.
Royal clearly lacked chemistry with Jay Cutler, which shouldn’t be all that surprising given the receiver missed valuable practice time leading up to Week 1. The missed connections appeared to be a result of not being on the same page.
Whether it was a result of rust or the shot to the head Royal took late in the first half. He briefly left the game to be tested for a concussion but returned shortly after.
Royal entered Week 1 with high expectations and left Week 1 looking like a royal disappointment.
Kevin White's first game in the National Football League did not go well, not in the least. White, who was questionable to play due to a mysterious hamstring injury, never managed to get on the same page with his quarterback. White received seven targets in the game, catching only three of those for 34 yards.
There are two plays from White that stand out. In the first half, White looked to run 2-3 steps too deep on a route that ended with a Jay Cutler pass at his feet. Now, one could argue that Cutler simply threw short, which wouldn't have been the first time. But it looked pretty clear that White was somewhat lost on that play. And in the second half, Cutler threw an interception after White cut off his route instead of finishing the "out" portion of the route, which would have put him near the sideline.
White has a lot of learning to do when it comes to being a successful receiver in the NFL. With that said, Bears general manager Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox absolutely love this kid and will give him every chance possible to get acclimated.
Give it time, folks. He'll (hopefully) get there.
Roy Williams is a big and physical reciever and Cutler likes
these kind of targets. Williams will occasionally have a terrible
drop and lose track of the ball but Cutler can play to his strengths.
Williams can easily out muscle a lot of smaller CB's for the ball and
jump higher. Williams caught a nice pass over the middle with
execellent play design. He also caught a contested pass against a CB
with tight coverage as he easily out muscled him for the ball. Later
in the game, he caught a short pass in the flat and turned it into a
first down. Williams will flourish in this offense that will play to
his strengths. His weaknesses as an all rounded reciever will cap his
production and the plethora of weapons could lead to some 0 catch
games but he will have his moments of glory.
Battling a hamstring injury, expectations were low for Marquess Wilson heading into Week 1 against the Packers. The third-year receiver only played a small role in the offense but was efficient in his role.
Wilson caught two passes on two targets for 59 yards in Sunday’s loss. One of Wilson’s receptions resulted in a 50-yard gain -- a career long. On the catch, Wilson ran across the field, catching the ball 10 yards from the line of scrimmage, before turning downfield to gain 40 yards after the catch. He didn’t look too injured on that play.
The Bears always have had high hopes for Wilson, a former seventh-round draft pick. But his inability to stay healthy has stifled his development. If Wilson can find some health this season, he could become a sneaky downfield target for Jay Cutler.
Clark tallied three catches on the day, and the only ball targeted for him that wasn’t caught was batted down at the line of scrimmage. Orton did not look in his direction during the Bears only scoring drive.
The jury is somewhat out on Zach Miller. The journeyman tight end entered the 2016 season with high expectations. Miller developed great rapport last season with Jay Cutler, something the Bears were hoping would continue into 2016.
That rapport, however, was nowhere to be found in Sunday's loss to the Houston Texans. Miller found himself on the receiving end of five targets, hauling in three for 14 yards.
Moving forward, one issue that could lead to a disappointing season for Miller is the offensive line's inability to protect its quarterback. The more the offensive line continues to struggle, the more Miller will be either off the field or lined up in blocking formation. Both would drastically affect his ability to produce the kinds of numbers we all were expecting before the season kicked off.
It's definitely too early to write off a guy like Miller, who seemingly has bounced back every time adversity strikes him.
Brien connected on his only opportunity for an extra point.
The Bears’ rush defense started strong, holding Clinton Portis to seven yards on his first six carries during the first two series of the game. Portis did reach the 100-yard plateau with 121 yards on 21 carries, a 5.7 yard per carry average that was buoyed by a 41 yard burst on the last play of the 3rd quarter. The Redskins netted 161 rushing yards for the game but did not reach the end zone.
The Bears pass defense was stingy, allowing only 175 yards on 25 attempts. They registered three sacks, one of which resulted in a fumble and sent an injured Patrick Ramsey to the sidelines for the rest of the game. Nathan Vasher intercepted a Ramsey pass in the 1st quarter and later had a second interception called back when Mike Green was called for defensive pass interference. The 36 yard penalty put the Redskins in position for their first score of the game. The Redskins later appeared to score a touchdown on a reception by Chris Cooley, but it was nullified by a pass interference penalty on Cooley.
|QB Mark Brunell, Pass: 8 - 14 - 70 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - -2 - 0|
Brunell did not start the game, but entered in the second quarter after Patrick Ramsey left with a neck injury. Brunell did not look particularly sharp, only throwing for 70 yards on 14 passes. However, Brunell did not turn the ball over and the Redskins scored all nine of their points for the game while he was in the game. Ramsey was medically cleared to play in the third quarter, but HC Joe Gibbs stuck with Brunell for the rest of the game.
Ramsey started the game and played over a quarter before leaving with a neck injury after being clothes lined by Lance Briggs. The Redskins were held scoreless over the three drives Ramsey was in the game. The last of the three drives ended with Briggs’ sack, which also forced a Ramsey fumble that was recovered by the Bears. Ramsey was sacked twice and was intercepted by Nathan Vasher on a ball that was overthrown to Santana Moss. Ramsey was reportedly cleared to play by the Redskins’ medical staff in the third quarter, but did not re-enter the game as Mark Brunell played the rest of the way.
Kirk Cousins had a disappointing afternoon considering all he had to do was be a caretaker of the football. The Redskins clearly wanted to establish the run early and keep the pressure off Kirk. It was successfully executed to start the game and lasted majority of the first half. Whenever the Redskins did decide to pass, Cousins had simple reads/throws on hitch routes and crossing routes. The success running the ball early setup Kirk to make easy reads at the intermediate level of the field. The quick and simple reads also allowed Cousins to avoid constant pressure from the Dolphins O-Line. Despite all the early success on offense, Kirk Cousins still found a way to show his inconsistencies. It was quite evident that Cousins doesn't throw well on the run as he missed 3 crucial throws. He overthrew Desean Jackson for a potential touchdown, threw an awful interception intended for Pierre Garcon, and misfired to Ryan Grant for a first down. These particular plays brought much of Washington's good groove to a halt. Cousins organized a 17 play drive in the 2nd quarter that was capped off by a nice throw to Jordan Reed for a touchdown which was one of Kirk's bright spots. They drained the clock in the first half establishing the run game. The 2nd half for Cousins was bogged down with penalties, sacks, and inconsistent play. Kirk couldn't seem to get the Redskins going when they needed him most as he struggles with adversity a tad. As soon as Kirk tried to get aggressive seeing the game was slipping away he threw another interception that pretty much sealed the deal. Washington's offense imploded in the 2nd half which can be attributed to the absence of Desean Jackson to stretch the field. Cousins found 7 different receivers on the day, but ultimately couldn't make the big plays when they needed him most.
Grossman had a very solid day that makes head coach Mike
Shanahan look very smart for making him the starter. Grossman started
off shakey as he was hit often and threw many incompletions. Grossman
overthrew a wide open Gaffney deep also but things started to click
for the man who looks to have revitalised his career in Washington.
Grossman showed he had great chemistry with his recievers. His passes
looked almost flawless at times as he threw all of the route tree to
numerous Washington recievers and kept the Giant defense guessing and
unable to stop him. Grossman had a gunslinger mentality and got huge
chunks of yards down the field rather than a dink and dunk approach.
He shot many high but catchable passes over the middle and threw
perfect in stride passes to his recievers on in/out routes all day.
Grossman was let down by his recievers at times by drops. Gaffney had
one and WR Armstrong had two drops including a huge downfield pass
which was dissapointing at the time. Lucky for Grossman, it did not
matter. The only flaw in his game reared its ugly head towards the end
as poor ball security led to a fumble inside the Redskins own half
which the Giants could not capitalize on. Grossman was more than
efficient and stated his case to remain QB of the Redskins.
He started slowly with only seven yards on his first six carries, but he became the Redskins’ offensive star of the game with 114 yards on his remaining 15 carries. He did leave the game in the first half for medical purposes, but was only out for a short time. He broke off a long run of 41 on the last play of the third quarter. He only received two red zone carries, two fewer than Ladell Betts’ four. HC Joe Gibbs appeared to favor Betts near the end zone and late in the game as Portis only carried four times in the fourth quarter. Portis was only targeted once in the passing game and he dropped the pass.
Betts had an unspectacular game but did carry the ball 12 times, more than Clinton Portis’ backup may normally expect. Of particular note, Betts was favored in the red zone with four carries, two more than Portis. Once the Redskins had the lead late in the game, Betts again started seeing more carries than Portis. HC Joe Gibbs’ conservative nature may lead to more playing time for Betts, as he is less likely to fumble than Portis.
Sellers caught his only target for a two yard gain.
Matt Jones wasn't as involved in this game due to the effectiveness of Alfred Morris. He got 6 carries but it was mainly to give Alfred some relief. The game never turned into a shootout so it left Matt without a defined role for this particular game. He is mainly a passing down running back at this point but the game remained close and kept him relatively ineffective.
Darrell Young vultured a TD from Alfred Morris midway through the second quarter from a jumbo formation at the one yard line after Morris pounded his way into the red zone on a fantastic run. Young may be an occasional thorn in the side of Alfred Morris’s touchdown opportunities.
Moss was targeted more than any other Redskin, and accounted for more than half of the targets to the Redskins’ wide receivers. He made more than half of his yardage on one play, a crossing pattern on the right side of the field where he caught the ball and weaved through blockers and defenders until being caught from behind 52 yards later. Moss had 81 yards before Patrick Ramsey’s injury in the second quarter, and only one catch for 15 yards while Brunell was under center. Moss was not targeted in the red zone.
Thrash was targeted only in short passing attempts, and was not a red zone target for Redskin QBs Patrick Ramsey and Mark Brunell.
Patten was not targeted in the red zone. Of the two passes that was targeted and not completed, one was tipped at the line of scrimmage and the other was called back for an illegal shift. The illegal shift nullified a 15 yard reception for Patten.
Brown caught a pass on a wide receiver screen play that was actually thrown backwards, so it was technically a lateral and treated like a rushing play. He had minimal impact on the game.
Brought in to Washington to give Robert Griffin III a deep threat, Garcon joined the Redskins to the tune of forty-two and a half million dollars this offseason. Immediately involved in the passing game, Garcon caught three successive bubble screens in the opening drive for the Redskins, turning one into a nine-yard gain for a first down. In the second half of the first quarter, Garcon made a leaping grab on an in route. Shaking off some pressure from Saints safety Roman Harper, Garcon torched the New Orleans secondary to give the Redskins an eighty-eight yard touchdown and an early lead. While Garcon left the game after that play – reports revealed he sustained a foot injury – he appeared on the Washington sideline in the third quarter, and the injury was reportedly not serious. In one quarter of action, Garcon led all Washington receivers with one hundred and nine receiving yards.
Ryan Grant was never a factor in this game as he was only targeted twice. He did connect with Cousins for a big first down in the fourth quarter but that was his only highlight.
Desean Jackson was heavily utilized throughout the game, but was never fully able to break free from the Texans defense. Washington attempted to harness Jackson’s play-making abilities through swing passes and reverses, but Jackson often left yards on the field trying to hit the home run every time he touched the ball. Jackson was given a carry on a reverse end-around in the third quarter, but the Texans defense was not fooled and Jackson was brought down for a nine yard loss. On another play, Jackson gained no yardage on a bubble screen where he tried to cross the field, but Texans D stayed disciplined and was able to pursue him to the sidelines. Jackson’s eight catches for 62 yards were a result of frequent short passes from Griffin, but Jackson was never able to break any plays upfield for yards after the catch.
Malcolm Kelly was named the number two receiver for the Redskins but had just one short catch in the fourth quarter for Washington. He hardly is worth a roster spot except for very deep leagues.
Cooley did not carry the ball during the game, but he was a valuable weapon in the passing game. His seven targets were second on the Redskins behind Santana Moss and he caught a TD pass that was reversed due to a pass interference penalty. He was targeted on another red zone play on third and goal on the Bears’ 3 yard line. The pass was caught but Cooley was tackled at the one yard line and the go-ahead FG was kicked.
Royal caught his lone pass for a first down on what ended up as the Redskins’ winning drive. The play was a play action, fake reverse in the red zone that left Royal wide open for a short pass.
Niles Paul entered the game after Jordan Reed’ early injury and caught a nice toe-tapper from Griffin in the second quarter for a first down. The QB broke the pocket and scrambled to his right before throwing a laser down the right sideline. Reed also caught a beautifully thrown ball from Griffin down the seam deep into the redzone but the tight end was stripped of the ball by safety DJ Swearinger. Paul’s fumble was one of many critical mistakes that kept Washington from putting the ball into the end zone. If Reed misses any more time, Paul appears to be the primary beneficiary.
The rookie from Florida received more targets than the veteran Fred Davis, and Robert Griffin seemed to lean on him when the Philadelphia front seven broke down the Redskins' pocket. In his NFL debut, Reed got the Redskins three first downs and looked comfortable seeking out the soft spots in the Eagles' defense. In a run-heavy offense that will inevitably trot out more two tight end sets than most teams, Reed looked as able as the veteran Fred Davis, if not more so. Redskins fans shoudl applaud what appears to be savvy drafting by the home team, and fantasy owners should consider Reed as a handcuff to Davis if benches are deep enough.
Hall was perfect on three FG attempts from yardages of 19, 40 and 43 yards. With the score 7-6 in favor of the Bears late in the third quarter, HC Joe Gibbs elected to send Hall out for the go-ahead FG instead of gambling on fourth and one.
Despite yielding the game’s only TD on a one yard score by Thomas Jones, the Redskins defense was extremely effective at slowing the Bears’ rushing attack for the entire game. Jones gained only 31 yards on 15 carries and the Bears team totaled only 41 rushing yards for the game. None of the Bears’ rushing attempts went for more than eight yards.
The Redskins pressured Bears’ QB Kyle Orton often, and got to him for three sacks and one interception. Lemar Marshall grabbed the interception on a tipped ball in the direction of Muhsin Muhammad near the end zone. Orton was held to 141 yards passing on 28 attempts for the game. Late in the fourth quarter, with the Bears in desperation mode, the Redskins recorded their final sack of the game and forced a fumble that sealed the win. They held the Bears out of the end zone, but the Bears did complete two of three passes in their only red zone visit before scoring on a rushing attempt.