Football

It doesn’t mean anything, unless Anthony Miller’s shoulder actually detached from his body this time. The Bears finish 8-8, which seems more fitting for this team, the very definition of completely mediocre and pointless. They couldn’t be more in the middle. They couldn’t block the Vikings’ backups, and the defense did just enough to put the game on a knife-edge both good and bad.

It was somehow telling and symbolic that the Bears only TD drive, the first of the second half, was when they cut out the bullshit, lined up in the I, and ran the ball. David Montgomery had 57 yards on six carries and a touchdown on the drive. Mitch Trubisky had to throw one pass, and it was for a first down.

And then we never saw it again.

Also symbolic that on the biggest play of the game, a 4th and 5 at midfield as the Bears were trying to find the winning field goal, Mitch finally got out of the pocket (not sure it was designed that way) and found Ridley for a first down and set up the winner. That was just about the only time we saw it.

So the game was more of what we already knew. When Mitch gets to be an athlete–getting on the move or stepping into his throws and being decisive–he’s ok. When he’s doing all the gadget stuff, he doesn’t make plays. When the Bears keep it simple, they can move the ball. But they don’t keep it simple. They didn’t get enough sacks, though they did get the turnovers today and even a safety.

No questions will be answered by this. We’ll have to wait some months for those.

Everything else…

-I would imagine Riley Ridley is being groomed to take Taylor Gabriel’s role next season, as that’s one spot the Bears can get some cap savings.

-Khalil Mack will end the season with 8.5 sacks. No matter what else was going on, that’s just not going to get it done.

-Yeah I think I’ve had enough of Ha-Ha. Try something else next year.

-Mitch didn’t even end up with 3,000 yards. That’s hard to do these days. And while it certainly speaks to his struggles, it also speaks to an offense that could never push the ball down the field. Some of that is the o-line, a lot of it is Mitch, but a lot of it is the playcalling. We’ll at least hear whispers of someone being brought in next season to take that over. Don’t know if it will happen, but it should at least be discussed.

-The Bears actually got two turnovers today, which has been a problem this season. That they only resulted in six points is why this was a game at all.

Ok, that’s enough. It’s over. We lived. That’s about all we can say.

Baseball

vs.

RECORDS: Cubs 75-63   Brewers 71-67

GAMETIMES: Thursday/Saturday 6:10, Friday 7:10, Sunday 1:10

TV: NBCSN Thursday/Friday/Sunday, WGN Saturday

KHALIL IS COMING FOR THEM TOO: Brew Crew Ball

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Try it again, assholes.

The Cubs had a chance to end this stupid Brewers season and annoyance last weekend, and after looking like they might actually do the things they said they were going to in the offseason–y’know, the stuff about being ruthless and getting that extra win instead of being checked out and putting teams away and really the things actual really good teams do–in the first game they promptly went to sleep like an old family dog for the next two. They didn’t score a run, they didn’t look like they wanted to score a run, they didn’t look like they knew how even if they wanted to, and this Brewers thing is still hanging by a thread.

So now the Cubs will have to do it in what has been something of a house of horrors this season. The campaign’s first weekend saw the Cubs get mutilated up there, and then the next trip saw them have two of their dumber losses of the season in the late innings. This is the time for that happy horeshit anymore.

And the Brewers need at least three of these, possibly all four, though a split probably keeps the last rites away for a few more days. They’re four games behind the Cubs for the second wildcard spot, which makes the division lead pretty much unattainable for them. They also have to leap the Phillies and Diamondbacks to even get at the Cubs. so this is desperate shit. Which means three Cubs wins ends the Brewers season, which would be at least something to feel good about at the moment.

Since you last saw this outfit, they split two games with the Astros at home. Jordan Lyles somehow danced around and through the Astros lineup made of monsters and mutants for their win, while their Labor Day loss came in extras after Christian Yelich once again pulled their ass out of a sling in the bottom of the 9th. However you slice it, this is pretty much the Brewers’ last stand. Then again, it should have been last weekend, and yet here we are. They’ll probably think if they can really take hold of this series, their schedule is pretty light afterwards and the possibility of a ridiculous closing kick like last year is still there.

They get the Marlins for four after this before a stop in St. Louis. After that it’s Padres, Pirates, Reds, and Rockies for them, which yeah, is something a team that had to could tear through if so inclined. Whether this Brewers bunch with its two starters and a bullpen made up of 1st round Punchout characters can is another debate.

For the Cubs, they’ll show up pretty wounded, but having to gut it out. There’s no telling if Javy Baez and Kris Bryant are actually healthy, but they’ve each gotten two days off now and the hope is that’s enough. There isn’t another off-day for two and a half weeks, so the words “suck it up” are going to reverberate around. Yu Darvish is apparently good to go for Saturday as well.

With the Cards losing last night, the lead is still claw-back-able. But they get to play the Pirates on the weekend, so the Cubs can’t really afford any slips here. And let’s but to the truth, it’s enough of the horseshit. Either you are you keep saying you should be, or you are what you’ve showed us for five fucking months. This Brewers team is aching to be put out of its misery, and it’s time the Cubs finally dong-whipped this team around for a few. Now that they’ve won two road series in a row, they don’t have to answer those questions. There are eight games here agains beatable teams. So beat them and shut up.

TIME TO MAKE THE CHIMI-FUCKING-CHANGAS.

 

Football

I know that football coaches are obsessives beyond the point of comprehension. I get that every minute detail of the team is pored over to a degree that a lazy-ass like myself would think comes from another dimension. “Fixation” is a word that most NFL coaches are so far beyond it’s not even worth considering. And most of it is because they just feel the other guy is doing the same, even if it has no actual benefit and it wouldn’t kill anyone if these coaches actually bothered to learn their daughters’ names.

Still, the Bears’ offseason and now training camp being primarily focused on the kicking competition has been…well, there are a few words for it. Strange, annoying, needless, and inflammatory are some that come to mind. To the point where I’m wondering what’s really going on here.

Yeah, I get it. Cody Parkey made this worse by going on whatever national morning show and removing his own rib to show how much missing THAT KICK hurt him but what a big guy he was by moving on from it. That in itself is going to create more attention on the position than normal, whether the Bears booted him into the river or not (I’ll give Parkey this, he did the whole “Point To Jesus” thing after he fucked up as well, which is more than most fuck-you-pious athletes do).

But it’s gone beyond that. We had the “Kicking Cavalcade” in mini-camps, with everyone being forced to make a 43-yarder in front of the whole team. Or Nagy mentioning it while singing the stretch at Wrigley. Or his constant reminders in interviews about how the ending of last season haunts him. Or making the two kickers in camp make 43-yarders, and how the first preseason game contained a field goal of that exact length in the first half. And how symbolic that was.

We’ve been inundated with updates from all the Bears beats every day. Our Sons Of Wilber Marshall have had to address it here. You can’t escape. It’s everywhere.

Fuck right off.

At this point, I can’t help but wonder if it’s a cover. Because somewhere deep down, Matt Nagy knows that game didn’t have to come down to a makable-but-not-chip-shot kick. Somewhere, he knows if he hadn’t spent at least the first half against the Eagles calling plays with one hand around his throat and the other with the thumb somewhere sensitive, maybe the Bears are playing from on top. Maybe he knows that at the biggest drive of the season, his defense let him down and got run over by Nick Goddamn Foles and the wounded ducks he was tossing only in a general direction. He certainly would have to be aware of the former, as it would be the second straight year he spent at least a half of a playoff game making his offense run a three-legged race. If he’s not, that’s certainly a much bigger problem for the Bears moving forward.

I doubt he’s intentionally hanging Ryan Pace out to dry, but that’s certainly a knock-on effect. And while Pace is hardly perfect, he did construct a roster ready to turn Nagy into one of the most successful first-year coaches in history. Perhaps tone it down a notch there, visor?

And this isn’t healthy. What kicker is going to live up to this? Now you’ve whipped the fans into a frenzy, the press into one, and those two just keep feeding into each other. The Bears could gut the Packers in Week 1 34-3 (which they will), but if whatever kicker is chosen misses one field goal, you know what the calls will be about Monday, right?  What at least one article in each of the Trib, Sun-Times, and Athletic will be? It’s now a constant question until the end of the season, and nothing will ever be good enough until Mystery Kicker makes a winning kick in a playoff game.

Except that might not come up. Close games are inevitable in January, but they hinge on a lot of factors. Yes, field goals are directly tied to points in the way that a more adventurous call on second or third down at the 40 is not. Or a missed tackle behind the line that results in a three-yard gain instead. But teams have won the Super Bowl without needing a buzzer-beater. I know, hard to believe, but it’s true.

But still, it’s a kicker. It’s middle relief of football. You find one somewhere, he sticks around for a few years, and then you find another one. Had you heard of Aldrick Rosas before last year? Do you even know who it is now? He’s the Giants kicker and finished second in FG% last season. Mike Badgley? You don’t have any idea, and if you do it’s only because he was on your fantasy team, and he was assuredly your last pick or waiver pick-up.

They just come from somewhere. Even if it’s your team, you don’t really know where. And yeah, it’s noticeable when you pick a bad one, as the Bears did last season. It happens sometimes, but to say that’s the reason the season was torpedoed is missing the whole picture. Me? I’m much more worried about Mitch Betta’ Have My Money’s accuracy.

I don’t want to say it’s untenable. I doubt there’s no kicker anywhere who can’t put everyone’s mind at ease within the season’s first few weeks. But it shouldn’t have to be like this. If it works as a cover for other weaknesses on the team as they get worked out…well, ok. I guess. Seems like it’s a pretty elaborate and heavy-worked smokescreen, though.