The Bald Truth
Believe me, I'd be saying this even if Bears Savior J.C. had thrown four TD passes to beat the Packers by 20:
It's too early to judge Jay Cutler.
Yes, Bears Savior J.C. threw four interceptions, would have thrown four more if Green Bay DBs weren't wearing oven mitts, couldn't rally his new team to victory at the end and spent most of the game looking as if he hadn't taken part in a single preseason practice.
Yes, he contributed to the Bears having to waste all three second-half timeouts.
Yes, he was bad. Not quite Jonathan Quinn bad, but certainly Cade McNown bad.
BUT IT'S ONLY ONE FREAKIN' GAME!
It was J.C.'s first game with a new team, new coaches and new receivers. Not to mention new expectations that are stupidly high.
If he's still playing like this in October, though ... well, do the Bears still have Moses Moreno on speed-dial?
The Quote I
"How funny is it that you see Kyle Orton in Denver chillin' right now at 1-0?" - Rodney Harrison, NBC studio analyst.
Indeed, K.O. leads J.C., 1 miracle to none.
Ten observations from the Bears-Packers game:
1. Just a few minutes after he was called for a phantom penalty that kept Chicago's go-ahead drive alive, Al Harris picked off Bears Savior J.C. to launch Green Bay's all-the-cheese-you-can-eat celebration. This is what's called poetic justice.
2. Give Bears Savior J.C. credit for his sticktoitiveness. Two times he tried to throw passes right to Tramon Williams. Two times the Packers' DB dropped passes that hit him in his hands. But doggone it if J.C. didn't finally hit Williams in stride late in the first half.
3. How nice of Adewale Ogunleye to emerge from his two-year hibernation now that he's in a contract season.
4. I'm a big fan of NBC's Cris Collinsworth ... but if he pointed out one more time that the Packers looked much sharper in preseason than they did Sunday, I was going to climb aboard Air Nadel, fly to Green Bay and go all Serena Williams on him. The preseason means zilch because opposing defenses show nothing, and Collinsworth is smart enough to know it. C'mon, dude!
5. Remember Nate Vasher?
6. How wild that Bears long snapper Patrick Mannelly thought he was Peyton Manning and called an audible, with the bungled fake punt handing the Packers a gift field goal. How crazy that the Bears give their long snapper such autonomy. And how desperate of Lovie Smith to give away a precious time-out by challenging the number of players the Packers had on the field. I mean, if the Bears wanted to go 0-for-3, they would have acquired Milton Bradley, not Jay Cutler.
7. Whether he's overrated, underrated or just plain rated, Brian Urlacher is important to the Bears, and if his dislocated wrist isn't located real soon, they have little chance of contending in a very tough division. Hunter Hillenmeyer? What, it isn't incredible enough that 3/11ths of the Bears' starting offense played at Vanderbilt?
8. Packers QB Aaron Rodgers wasn't very good, either, but he came through when it counted and didn't throw any interceptions. That he twice missed long TD passes to receivers who had beaten Bears DBs by several yards should make any honest Bears fan plenty worried about the D.
9. On the decisive snap - Rodgers' winning 50-yard heave to wide-open Greg Jennings on a third-and-1 play-action pass with 1:11 to go - Lovie's defense was bamboozled by Mike McCarthy's offense. And now that he's calling the defensive plays, Lovie has no scapegoat except himself.
10. If Collinsworth, a former star receiver, was right about inept Chicago wideouts costing Cutler dearly because they couldn't make proper adjustments on the fly, then GM Jerry Angelo was wrong about Bears Savior J.C. being able to turn a chickenspit receiving corps into chicken salad.
The Quote II
"It was a tough night for Jay. And when you're gonna be the franchise quarterback, how do you respond in tough situations? First play interception in the two-minute drill. That's not what Chicago gave up two number-one draft choices for." - Tony Dungy, NBC studio analyst.
Welcome to The Bears Savior J.C. Bandwagon, folks. Easy-on, easy-off.
THE BALDEST TRUTH
When calling for a fake punt on fourth-and-11 from your own 26 in the fourth quarter of a two-point game on the road, Mannelly can't just think the opponent has too many men on the field. He must be absolutely, positively, 100 percent certain.
See, NFL teams don't hire long snappers because they're deep thinkers.
Of course, if the play had worked, Mannelly would have been Snappy McGenius to all the fanatics who reside in Bear Country.
But it didn't. So he isn't.