Sure, the Bears had a series of problems against the Giants on Friday night. Bears coach Lovie Smith said the practice game was like a final exam, and in that case, the Bears’ first-stringers failed. Offense, defense, special teams -- three-and-ouch.
Special teams gave up a punt block inside their 10-yard line. The Bears cut the culprit, but that means someone else will have to step in and learn to work with the others while blocking perfectly for a rookie punter.
The defense, though, was the killer. It was the unit with questions about age and health, and after Friday night, it had fewer answers than tackles.
Rookie David Wilson ran left, ran right, ran right after starting left, and pretty much ran over the Bears like it was a video game.
Once he got outside the first Bears’ first level, Wilson was plowing through the third level. There was no second level of consequence sideline to sideline. Nick Roach, please pick up the white courtesy phone.
When the Giants were running, Charles Tillman was getting whipped by an elite quarterback and all manner of receivers. Eli Manning was going to throw to his left and he didn’t care who the Bears put on that corner and didn’t care which receiver was on that side. He was going to throw left and he did, and there was nothing Tillman could do about it.
Too often, the Bears' starting defense was slow and tentative, not to mention ineffective up front aside from Julius Peppers.
That’s the thing: Most of the bad stuff gets deodorized by a good pass rush. The Bears didn’t sack Manning, which isn’t necessarily a big deal if they at least pressure Manning into bad throws.
But no. There was almost none of that. Manning hit on 17 of 21 passes for 148 yards and a touchdown in the first half. The two-time Super Bowl champion completed 9 of 10 for 96 yards and a score in the second quarter when he torched the Bears defense.
Manning had more time than the Bears secondary could cover, and the vivisection exposed a continuing problem.
Julius Peppers can play. We know that. He was the only starter who looked familiar with the concept Friday night despite being plagued by plantar fasciitis.
Israel Idonije, hel-lo. He had a great game against Washington the previous week, but sorry, eventually the Bears will play against good teams. Anybody home?
Matt Toeaina and Henry Melton, ollie, ollie, oxen free. The more the Bears move Peppers inside, the more you realize how limp the starters at defensive tackle are.
When you play badly in a practice game, you quickly point out it’s a practice game. It doesn’t count. Blah, blah, blah. But the fact remains that the Bears who started closest to Manning never seemed to get close to Manning. Everything behind them fell apart in the only half that mattered Friday night. Connect the dots, Lovie.