Apologies for the delayed game recap, but as I’m sure that many Bear fans are just waking up from a night of well deserved celebration, maybe the delay isn’t so bad. Also, I’m assuming that the only
The ducks began their first possession with excellent field position and began their drive by converting one third down on a nice scramble by QB Dennis Dixon and getting another third down via a 10 yard pass to RB Jeremiah Johnson. This time it was
The specter of poor tackling seemed to raise its ugly head again as Jeremiah Johnson seemed stopped in the backfield but managed to break a big 26 yard run, and RB Jonathan Stewart later dragged a few tacklers for an 11 yard gain setting up
The first quarter came to an end after RB Justin Forsett was stopped for no gain yet again by a swarming duck defense. End of first quarter
After giving up a first down on two quick runs by Stewart, the Bear defense stepped up and DL Cody Jones came up with another tackle for loss and good coverage on third down by freshman CB Chris Conte forced a punt.
The Bears put together their first scoring drive of the day on this possession.
Bad tackling helped the ducks drive to just past midfield, and a bad late hit out of bounds (albeit a borderline call) by DB Marcus Ezeff kept the
The Bears last drive of the first half came to a quick end on a dropped pass by TE Craig Stevens, and the Bears were forced to punt.
The ducks began the second half with the ball but this time it was the Bear defense that came out fired up. Cal got good penetration by DLs Mika Kane and Cody Jones and LB Anthony Felder stopped oregon from converting a 3rd and 1 forcing a punt.
With the momentum provided by the defensive stop and duck penalty, the Bears stormed down the filed on just 6 plays. Longshore connected on 4 of 5 pass attempts including a 25 yard touchdown pass to DeSean Jackson for the first
Not to be outdone in their own house, the ducks showed their own big play potential by driving 74 yards on just 7 plays. WR Cameron Colvin streaked 42 yards through the middle of the
After being stuffed on the QB keeper, RB Justin Forsett powered it in from a yard out for the tying touchdown.
The Bears dodged a huge bullet when QB Dennis Dixon overthrew his TE Ed Dickson who had beaten the coverage. Instead, the defense stuffed a 2nd down run and forced an incompletion on 3rd down bringing up another punt.
Lavelle Hawkins came through with yet another big 3rd down coversion catch, and DeSean Jackson followed it with yet another 31 yard catch, this time for a touchdown. The TD catch was the offensive highlight of the day as Jackson took a 5 yard hitch to the house by paralyzing the duck defender with what he later called his “Hawkins move,” in reference to his fellow WR’s stutter step juke.
On their next possession, the ducks showed that they are indeed an extremely resilient team. Starting deep inside their own territory, Dennis Dixon methodically moved the ducks down the field. The 10 play drive netted 91 yards was highlighted by a big 36 yard pass to WR J. Williams, and was capped off by a 1 yard run by
Momentum seemed to be shifting entirely towards the duck side after a low hit on QB Nate Longshore knocked him from the game. Not surprisingly, the Bears ran on the next two plays and were stuffed by a defense fully aware that the run was coming.
Nate Longshore, hobbled by an ankle injury, limped back into the starting lineup and the Bears rode the legs of Justin Forsett into the endzone for the go ahead touchdown.
To the credit of the ducks, they became the first defense to stop the
On the ducks’ final drive,
First things First
Ok before I get into my thoughts on the game, I’m going to give a very perfunctory overview of all the things that the cynics/realists will point out about this game. Yes, they’re all true…but I just can’t justify focusing on them until at least next week.
1) This is only a big win if followed up by more victories
2) The Bears suffered injuries to some very key players (ie Longshore and Hawkins came up a little lame)
3) USC’s still out there
4) Most of the remaining road games are in very difficult venues(asu, fucla, uw)
5) The Bears still don’t have a defense to sustain a National Championship run (let alone win a championship game).
It’s a Celebration Bitches! Enjoy Yourselves!
Just to be clear, I’m not calling anyone a bitch, just using a funny line from the Chappelle show. But seriously, let’s all put our
1) Tedford can’t win the big in-conference game…DONE!
2) Tedford can’t win on the road against a ranked opponent…DONE!
3) The Bears are too inconsistent to win in a hostile environment…DONE!
4) The Bears always collapse late in big games and can’t come from behind…DONE!
5) The Bears haven’t had a complete game this year…DONE!
6) Longshore can’t throw worth a damn away from the comfortable confines of
7) DeSean isn’t the same play maker at WR this year…DONE!
8) Our kick coverage can’t contain good returners…DONE!
9) Our defense is suspect and incapable of coming up with game saving plays…DONE!
If I were doing grades for each part of the offense, I don’t know how I could give anything other than A’s all around. Granted, it’s because we won…but still, after re-watching the game on TV, I think that nearly every player on offense came up huge. The
(Longshore, the O-Line, & the Recievers)
Thankfully, our big O-line managed to make sure that the pressure was still relatively limited. More importantly, Longshore never got rattled by the pressure or by the crowd(even after he got hurt), and his leadership showed up big time Saturday. The Bears managed to weather the early onslaught of the supercharged ducks, and in the second half they started to assert themselves. Longshore’s role in this cannot be overstated. All throughout the game, he made great reads, and didn’t force very many throws. The O-line, as I mentioned above, gave Longshore time to repeatedly look deep and then check down to safer options. Most importantly, he connected on the home run balls to
Seven different receivers came up with receptions on the day, and, even though DeSean Jackson rightfully will get the most credit, you can’t overlook how many big drive sustaining catches the other receivers had. The most notable non-DeSean catches were the two big third down conversions by Hawkins, and the 12 yard catch and run by backup full back Zack Smith. The Hawkins catches were huge because they came later in the game, were on scoring drives, and were both immediately followed by 31 yard catches by DeSean Jackson. I highlighted the fullback reception mostly b/c I love how Tedford makes use of our fullbacks, and it was great to know that we have a reliable backup at that position (For those that still doubt the usefulness of fullbacks, please review old 49ers footage, or how usc uses its fullbacks).
I don’t know exactly how to describe DeSean Jackson’s performance. It seemed like literally every time that we needed a big catch,
(The O-Line & The RB’s)
Like I said above, the crowd in
As overrated as time of possession is as an indicator or success, it is a very telling stat when it comes to the effectiveness of the ground game. Without the success of the ground game in the second half, it’s almost a forgone conclusion that
While this game was undoubtedly the Forsett show, the two freshmen phenoms and the backup fullback still got into the mix. Jahvid Best’s best performances came on special teams today, but he showed that he can be a good change of pace back for Forsett.
(The Front Seven)
From looking at the box score, the first thing that jumped out at me was the high number of total tackles shared by the three starting LB’s (9,9, and 8). Although none of them notched a large number of solo’s, the assisted tackles tells me that there was a lot of swarming to the ball going on, which is a good thing. (Granted, some of the assists were because the first defender wasn’t able to take down the ball carrier alone). Williams continued his excellent play in the middle, Felder had that monstrously huge interception, and Mohamed did a more than adequate job considering he’s really a third option behind Follett and Moye.
As usual in Gregory’s scheme, the D-Line was tasked with playing the run and containing the outside rather than pass rushing, and, despite having limited depth, they performed very well.
We’ve been telling everyone all season that this D-Line has the potential to be something special despite the loss of three starters (including All-American Brandon Mebane, who notched his first NFL Sack last week against Caron Palmer). They’ve shown flashes against some inferior opponents thus far, and received little credit because of the way Gregory asks them to play (ie. not huge sack numbers). But the job that they did against this offense should be enough to show that they are for real, and, more importantly, continuing to improve.
Off the top of my head, I can only think of two really bad plays by the secondary all game. The first being the late hit out of bounds by Ezeff, and the second is the 42 yard TD catch by Cameron Colvin. Two bad plays against an offense as explosive as the ducks is not bad at all. Again, the secondary gave up big yardage and a big number of completions, but they managed to make plays when it counted for the most part. Marcus Ezeff is turning into a great player, and that was my assessment a few weeks ago. He led the team this week with 8 solo tackles (tied with two others for the lead with 9 total tackles), and of course he had the game saving play with the forced fumble at the end. Thomas DeCoud had a relatively quiet game, but as the leader of the defense he still gets a lot of credit. Bernard Hicks had a couple of very nice plays and finished with 6 tackles (5 solo) and a tackle for loss. The only bad performance by the DB’s can easily be turned into a positive (especially by someone like me with a penchant for clinging to the bright side). Freshman Chris Conte got somewhat of a baptism by fire when he saw some action. He gave up one big pass completion and also got completely bowled over by an
As I think that the refs blew the call on Kay’s second field goal attempt, I’m going to say that Kay had another great game for the Bears. This was a pressure packed game, and the backup walk-on kicker came through. Honestly, when it comes to kickers, especially backup kickers, I’m just praying that the guy makes the PAT. Kay has done a whole lot more than that so far this season, and he was big for us again this week.
Andrew Larson got a lot more work than I would have liked, but he also came through big for the Bears. Great punt coverage provided by Jahvid Best helped to make Larson’s average come out to a net of 38 yards, and he put 4 of his 7 punts inside the 20 with no touchbacks. Larson also did a good job on kickoffs this week, again with help from great coverage from our special teamers and terrible communication by the
Looking back at this game, and also at this post, I realize that there’s really nothing I can say that sums up how incredible a win it was. It was an insane weekend for college football in general, and some will cite one of the upsets as more remarkable…but that’s bull. Yes maybe if you weigh all the upsets together versus our one game, that’s more crazy, but on a game by game basis, nothing tops
While Kirk Herbstreit was covering the usc @ uw game, he commented that despite the loss he would still rank
I’d be remiss if I didn’t give enormous props to the