Spanning The Globe For Chicago Sports Disappointment
Friday the Blackhawks travelled all the way to Berlin to discover they still enjoy turning over the puck, won't play consistent defense, and can't shoot the puck on their power play opportunities. Lasst sie nach Berlin kommen indeed.
Sunday, The Monsters of the Midway were in London showing Western Europe what a horrible offensive line looks like, how to hold seven different ways, and proving that 2018 Matt Nagy offense was a dream as the 2019 version can't get out of it's own way.
Meanwhile, the Northwestern football team continued their journey to Tomorrowland with an ugly loss to Nebraska showcasing their futile offense, porous defense, and non existant kicking game in a thrilling 13-10 barnburner.
This may have been the longest, most boring, three days in sports since 1939 when England visited South Africa in a cricket match that lasted 12 days. I wonder if they ran out of hot dogs?
Let's get right to the main stink bomb of this weekend, the Bears beatdown by Oakland. We all knew the offense of the Monsters was going to be average at best, and now that seems like a dream, but the defense, ah the defense, well that was something to get excited about. We may want to pump the brakes on that lifeline. The Raiders offense shredded the defense like a sharp knife through silk. Running on first down they were left with second and short all day.
The offensive line for Oakland manhandled the Bears front seven all game. The Bears best pass defense was holding calls in the secondary to limit yardage. Except for some brief brains cramps by the Oakland offense that led to scoring chances the Bears were helpless.
I predicted 10-6 for our Bears and so far I'm behind, although I did predict the Oakland win in my season prediction column. Of course I also said they would beat Green Bay, so take all this with a grain of salt. Next up they go all 'N Sync.
Even with a healthy Mitch Trubisky I'm not sure this team can find their offensive rhythm when the head coach insists on calling an off tackle slant 70% of the game and never gaining more than one yard each time. It's like he is going to prove the play will work no matter what. For all the brashness and creativity he showed last season, this year he's gone to Mr. Conservative with his play selections.
So, what did we learn Sunday? If you can't run the ball, and you can't stop the run, and you tackle like eight year old girls, you don't win many games. (And I don't mean to denigrate eight year old girls.)
Speaking of bad offenses, hello Northwestern! Now down to their number three QB on the depth chart, the NU offense looked like they are hoping for an early end to the season, and a long off season, to get organized for next year. They are quickly becoming unwatchable.
Having been spoiled by fast paced play calling, and teams racking up yardage and points, while their defense was invisible, this team has gone the reverse. Defense is stellar and the offense is just awful. This leads to 13-10 games like we saw Saturday. If you liked this game, you''ll love the rest of the year then.
I'm not sure what was more painful to see, Drake Anderson being pinballed by the Cornhuskers defense or Aiden Smith overthrowing his receivers. Neither was enjoyable and I see no reason for hope of improvement soon. If Paddy Fisher can stay healthy he will win some awards and will likely have a nice pro career, other than that this team is toast. My Saturdays have just freed up.
Now for the Blackhawks mess in Berlin Friday afternoon. Let's start with the positives, as the In My Opinion insider, John Markiewicz, says, "I liked the young guys speed". So much for the positives.
Apparently this team has decided that the only way allowed by the NHL to bring the puck up ice on a powerplay is for the defenseman to skate out from behind his net to the blue line and then drop it for Patrick Kane to pick it up and immediately be surrounded by three guys so he turns it over and the other team kills another 20 seconds.
Seeing how well this works, the other players have decided that turning over the puck at the blueline or center ice seems like fun and they've now added that to their bag of tricks during five on five. Hostess has fewer turnovers than the Blackhawks.
Can you really tell anything from one game? Yes. According to Markiewicz, "Crawford looked pedestrian, but that can be summed up to poor defensive zone play, although he did give up some pretty easy goals." Continuing, he says, "They need to find an identity on the powerplay, too many passes, overall not a great game but next game Lehner will start so things might improve."
To recap, bad defense, easy goals given up, nobody shoots the puck on power plays, and turnovers all over the ice. Hmmm? Seems like a familiar story from the Men of the Madhouse.
So, three countries, three losses, and we are just getting started this season.