TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 9: Chicago Bears At Tennessee Titans

Chicago
Tennessee
Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears
Indianapolis Colts v Tennessee Titans
Quarterbacks
Winner Jay Cutler was not at his best in the Bears’ 23-23 Week Eight, come-from-behind victory over the Carolina Panthers. Cutler completed 19-of-28 passes for 186 yards with one TD pass and an interception. He rarely went downfield with any authority, and he may be having problems with his ribs after taking a brutal shot from Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh in the Bears’ Week Seven Monday night game.
Winner Matt Hasselbeck has done a reasonable job in filling at the No. 1 quarterback position, but he is not a game-changing athlete at this point in his career. He can take what the defense will give him, but he is not going to be able to throw over the top of the defense and make big plays. This is particularly true of Chicago defense that makes a lot more big plays than they give up.
Offense
Winner Matt Forte is one of the most overlooked players in the NFL. He is the glue to the Bears’ gameplan. He gets the job done running the ball and he is also a superior receiver who shows the willingness to block on an every-game basis. Brandon Marshall is the Bears’ big-play weapon and he has a great rapport with Cutler and superb athletic ability. The offensive line struggles to protect Cutler and that is the Bears’ biggest issue.
Chris Johnson is one of the most erratic players in the league. While he has breakaway speed, he does not run with abandon often enough and regularly seems like he is trying to protect himself. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright are solid receivers who will get open regularly and catch the ball when Hasselbeck gets the ball to them accurately.
Defense
Winner The Bears are the best scoring defense in the league. They specialize in taking the ball away and turning those plays into touchdowns. Outside linebacker Lance Briggs already has two interceptions that he has returned for touchdowns and is a tackling machine. Cornerback Charles Tillman has benefited from covering Marshall in practice and that gives him an edge on facing smaller receivers in games.
If the Bears are having some difficulty with their defense, they may be lining up against the right opponent to get well. The Titans rank 30th overall in total defense and they are poor against the run (28th in the NFL) and even worse against the pass (29th). The Titans need more production from middle linebacker Will Weatherspoon, who has 30 tackles and 1.0 sack this season
Special Teams
Winner Robbie Gould hit another clutch field goal when he kicked the game-winning 41-yarder at the gun in the win over the Panthers. Adam Podlesh is a decent but not great punter who averaged 44.8 yards on four punts against Carolina. The Bears are waiting for return specialist Devin Hester to unleash one of his patented returns this season.
Rob Bironas is one of the most dependable kickers in the NFL, but he missed a field goal against the Colts that would have given the Titans a much better chance to win the game. Brett Kern is averaging 47.4 yards per punt and has dropped 15 inside the opponents’ 20 yard line.

The Winner Is

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears
Winner Chicago
4 out of 4

The Bears didn’t do anything to impress in Week Eight against the Carolina Panthers, but they came away with the victory thanks to their fourth-quarter play. The Titans are hurting after dropping a home game to the Colts. Look for the Bears defense to assert itself and punish Hasselbeck.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. NEW YORK, UNITED STATES: (FILES)This undated file photo shows US baseball star Jackie Robinson as he signs a then-record contract to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers in New York. Robinson has been chosen to receive posthumously the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest award Congress can bestow on a US civilian, 02 March 2005, for his accomplishments on the baseball diamond, as well as "his lifetime of breaking down barriers and his unending fight for justice," officials on Capitol Hill said in an earlier press release. US Senator John Kerry and US Representative Richard Neal, who co-sponsored legislation honoring Robinson, will be joined by the ballplayer's widow Rachel Robinson, US President George W. Bush and congressional leaders at the ceremony. Robinson broke baseball's "color line", becoming the first African American to play in the Major Leagues when he debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Officials in Congress said however that he is also being honored for his contributions to the broader struggle for civil rights. (Photo Credit: Mike Powell/Getty Images)
    Best Two-Sport Athletes Of All Time

    With Tim Tebow getting a baseball deal, Starkey and Mueller drafted the best two-sport athletes of all time.

  2. OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons signals to his team during their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints hands off to Mark Ingram #22 during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons At New Orleans Saints

    The NFC South rivals meet in the Big Easy with Brees and company looking for their first win.

  3. CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Danny Trevathan #59 and Akiem Hicks #96 of the Chicago Bears
stop Ryan Mathews #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles
at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Eagels defeated the Bears 29-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 18: Quarterback Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates with teammates center Travis Frederick #72 and offensive guard La\'el Collins #71 after scoring a third quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins at FedExField on September 18, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Chicago Bears At Dallas Cowboys

    The Cowboys rookies have looked good the first two weeks, now they get the winless and injury plagued Bears at home.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Pittsburgh

Bringing You The Best in Sports Talk Radio
New Podcast Network
Learn How

Listen Live