It’s that time of the year when I selfishly think of what candy I want to have left over if we don’t get as many trick-or-treaters as expected. Don’t judge me.
• What an awful weekend of professional football. Watching the Bears defense fail to take away one of Philip Rivers’ 50-50 flutter balls was like watching the hapless and helpless Washington Generals as the Harlem Globetrotters spun the ball on their index fingers. It’s right there! Just take it! Witnessing Chicago’s offense fall over itself in the same game was equally frustrating. And finally, I capped my football-watching weekend with a smiling Aaron Rodgers after he breezed through the Falcons, because apparently … I like pain. Rodgers and the Packers are annoying when all things are equal. But it’s another level of worse when they’re legitimately good.
• Green Bay is 4-0. They have scored 30 points in each of those wins and haven’t committed a turnover. Rodgers has 13 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, a 128.4 rating that checks in as the second best in football, and the best QBR (ESPN’s quarterback-performance metric) in the league. Frankly, I liked the Packers more when Rodgers and Head Coach Matt LaFleur were trading passive-aggressive bars through press conferences. Or when I was able to turn Green Bay drafting QB heir apparent Jordan Love into a Rodgers-as-Anakin Skywalker/Love as a Jedi youngling meme. Can we re-visit those days?
• And yet, I’m not ready to concede to the Packers. Not in the slightest. I fully expect the Bears to give the Packers a run for their money. And when they play head-to-head, a tightly fought game is the expectation when these two meet. The last five Bears-Packers games have been decided by 8 points or fewer. If we go back to 2015, 8 of the last 10 have been one score games. The Bears have won just two of those games, but it’s not as if the Packers have boat-raced or out-classed them. Get me to Week 12 with healthy teams on both sides and let the fun play out!
• Ugh, whatever:
Robert Tonyan picking a good time to become a stud, right here on Monday Night Football.
That's three touchdown catches for Tonyan tonight. He now has five in four games.
Five. As many as Jimmy Graham had in 32 games with #Packers.
— Ryan Wood (@ByRyanWood) October 6, 2020
• FWIW: Jimmy Graham has three touchdowns in four games, too. That’s as many as he had in 16 games with the Packers last year. Some of Graham’s lack of production can be explained by his limited use in the red-zone. Graham received just 18 red-zone targets in 32 games in Green Bay. With 7 targets in four games, Graham is more than one-third of the way there. And considering how Trey Burton was given 13 red-zone targets in 16 games during his healthy 2018 season, it would be malpractice if Graham doesn’t get there by year’s end.
• Elsewhere on Monday Night Football, the Patriots pulled out the Peanut Punch:
• Massagers, bluetooth speakers, and more are your Deals of the Day at Amazon. #ad
• In case you need one last push to flush it out of your system, Cam Ellis (NBC Sports Chicago) has all of the overreactions you can shake a stick at from the Bears’ Week 4 loss.
• Things aren’t getting easier:
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) October 6, 2020
• Here’s the optimism I need from retired Bears legend Ed O’Bradovich, who says the Bears are still well-positioned to make a playoff push. Being 3-1 through four games will do wonders to build optimism. Even if the Bears stumble against the Buccaneers, they should be in a spot to rally from a 3-2 start to find the necessary 6 or 7 wins to make the postseason. It won’t be easy. But nothing that’s worth a damn ever is.
• Chicago’s defense needs to be more spectacular than solid moving forward. The group ranks eighth in yardage, seventh in scoring, and ranked sixth in DVOA’s defensive efficiency ratings entering Week 4. But they rank in the bottom half of the league in takeaways and sacks, which is problematic in projecting how well this defense could hold up.
• I wish there were more nice things to write about Nick Foles’ Week 4 performance, because I love sidearm throws:
• GM Bill O’Brien’s decision-making and Head Coach Bill O’Brien’s coaching got Bill O’Brien fired on Monday. Replacing O’Brien in running the show is Romeo Crennel, who gets his third shot at being an NFL head coach. Crennel served in that capacity with the Browns (2005-08) and Chiefs (2011-12). Perhaps third time will be the charm for Crennel, who becomes the oldest coach in NFL history at 73 years, 115 days old. Crennel joins George Halas and Marv Levy as the only coaches to run the show at 70 years or older.
• Also, don’t miss out on the +86 from PointsBet on the Bears on Thursday. It’s a freebie.