ReFo: Saints @ Bears, Week 15

Brees and Cutler are among the standouts earning mention as Ben Stockwell reviews the Saints-Bears Monday Night matchup.

| 2 years ago
2014-REFO-WK15-NO@CHI

ReFo: Saints @ Bears, Week 15


2014-REFO-WK15-NO@CHIThere was no keeping the NFC South down last night as the New Orleans Saints rolled into Chicago and took care of business against the listless Chicago Bears to keep alive their hopes of winning the division with an 8-8 record. A late Bears touchdown drive gave the scoreline a more competitive look than the game deserved, but the key for the Saints was a solid performance to set them up in first place ahead of the visit of the Falcons next weekend.

For the Bears there are only two more games to endure before this disappointing season is over. Fans will again be left to wonder what has happened to this offense in the last 12 months. From explosive a year ago to confused and disjointed now Chicago will be looking for positives to end the season to refuel the belief that they carried into this season.

New Orleans Saints – Performances of Note

Drew Brees, QB: +4.8

Breakdown: A bizarre fumble dropping back on the third play of the Saints’ second series was a blip in an otherwise near flawless performance from Brees. Only a couple of passes were missed and even flashed his evasiveness in the pocket to keep plays alive throughout the night. The results haven’t been right this season but with Brees playing how he has for most of the season the Saints have a chance against anyone.

Signature Play: Netted the Saints’ a third down conversion at Q3 2:17 evading the grasp of Jared Allen to get out into the left flat and find Nick Toon down the left sideline for a 17-yard gain.

David Hawthorne, LB: +3.7

Breakdown: Perhaps no-one capitalized more on the confusion from the Bears offense than Hawthorne who grabbed two of his three sacks unblocked (the other cleaning up after initial pressure by Kasim Edebali) when the Bears had numbers to block him but couldn’t get the protection in the right place. Also adding a pair of stops in run defense, Hawthorne earned his highest overall grade since 2011 when he was still a Seahawk.

Signature Stat: Only Bobby Wagner and Lavonte David topped Hawthorne’s five stops this week.

Junior Galette, DE: +1.5

Breakdown: Another solid pass rushing display from Galette who snagged a positive pass rush grade for the seventh straight week. His second multiple sack performance of the season included a strip sack of Jay Cutler midway through the fourth quarter as he drove Jermon Bushrod back and worked inside to thump knock the ball from Cutler’s grasp before the QB recovered the ball.

Signature Stat: Only Robert Ayers has a higher Pass Rush Productivity score than Galette’s 12.8 this season among 4-3 defensive ends.

Chicago Bears – Performances of Note

Jay Cutler, QB: -3.1

Breakdown: Cutler is the easy target for fans and the media for the Bears’ woes and performances like this certainly won’t help his cause with some poor throws down the field overshadowing some consistent throws on shorter targets. On passes within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage Cutler went 13/18 for 122 yards and a score earning a +0.8 passing grade, but beyond 10 yards he was 3/9 for 60 yards all three of his picks and the late consolation score. Cutler earned a -3.3 passing grade on those deep and intermediate passes last night.

Signature Stat: Only blitzed on 13/40 dropbacks last night Cutler was sacked four times, threw an interception and completed just 5/9 passes. Though he still earned a higher NFL passer rating (77.8) than he did against a base pass rush (51.4).

Kyle Fuller, CB: -4.8

Breakdown: After some promising early-season displays, Fuller has struggled down the stretch and last night surrendered 100 yards in coverage for the second time in three games. Matching up with Jimmy Graham he gave up catches on all three targets for 56 yards while Nick Toon also went 3-for-3 in Fuller’s coverage. His only incompletions (two) came against Kenny Stills who snagged a 21-yard gain on his other encounter with Fuller.

Signature Stat: Last night Fuller extended an unwelcome streak surrendering a passer rating in excess of 100 on his targeted passes for the eighth game in a row.

Kyle Long, RG: +2.1

Breakdown: Perhaps lost amid the bigger stories of disappointment in Chicago has been a strong second season for Kyle Long, which he continued last night. Aside from two poor starts against Green Bay, Long has been extremely consistent earning positive grades in every other game and only surrendering two quarterback hits, no sacks all season.

Signature Stat: Surrendering only 15 total pressures (two hits, 13 hurries) on 589 snaps in pass protection this season Long is tied for seventh among all guards in our Pass Blocking Efficiency metric.

PFF Game Ball

A workman-like performance by the Saints was led by Drew Brees who will look to lead the Saints through these last two divisional games and cement the team’s first home playoff game since 2011.

 

Follow Ben on Twitter: @PFF_Ben

| Director of Analysis

Ben joined Pro Football Focus in 2007, and has since been in charge of the company’s analysis process. He also contributes to PFF’s weekly NFL podcast.

  • Football

    Why is Jay Cutler playing football?

    • maariyathomas313

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    • Chris

      Because he gets paid a lot of money.

  • ScottA

    Cutler is playing football because: the Bills start Kyle Orton, DC starts Colt McCoy, JAX starts a rookie, OAK starts a rookie, PHI starts a mid-career draft bust, Miami starts a QB who seems like a rookie but is really several years into his career, the Jets start…. someone…., KC starts Cutler-lite+much better supporting talent (no deep balls make life easy), Houston started Ryan Fitzpatrick and now starts a late-round rookie, Cleveland started Brady’s former backup (who was terrible) and now starts a rookie, Cinci starts another quasi-Cutler type with a better supporting cast, the Rams started a late round rookie/a draft bust/a career backup, the Bucs start a rookie/the guy who’s worse than Cutler but people thought was better than Cutler last year, Tennessee starts…. someone…..

    Clear enough? It turns out that its really, really hard to find a competent NFL quarterback. Even most of the teams with pretty good QB situations (NO, NE, Denver, SD, AZ) have very old quarterbacks who are one bad fall away from their careers being over and no credible backup (see what happened to AZ post-Palmer). Cutler is infuriating, but I would struggle to come up with 10 teams that have a decisively better situation at quarterback, supporting cast and all other things considered. It’s a weird, weird league.

    • mutzki

      I have heard this for years. Cutler is not the problem, it’s his supporting cast has to be one of the most repeated phrases from Bears fans. On what planet is the duo of Marshall and Jeffery (that has seen high praise from everyone), Forte in the backfield and a huge TE in Bennett, along with a solid offensive line a “bad” supporting cast.

      Granted Cutler can’t play defense and the Bears D flat out sucks, but it’s also not the D’s fault that Cutler has thrown 18INTs in 14 games.

      How long will it take for Bears fans to figure out that Cutler really is not a good QB.

      I’m not arguing against your point, just trying to get clarification what it is exactly that Bears fans see in Cutler, that i don’t.

  • Dohkay

    Kyle Fuller continues to disappoint. Where are all the Bears homers? I have some crow for you to eat.

    • Chmike

      How do you prepare it?

      • Dohkay

        Raw.

  • Mike Temujin

    I am not a CHI fan by any stretch, but I have to think Cutler is better than half of the QBs in the league. I am not one to say elite QB or whatever, but you either have a QB or you dont. The Bears have a QB, so now you have to look at some of the other problems. Again, I am not a Bears fan, so from what I saw last night, he was getting hit virtually every series. I know its not all on the OL or the WR, its on the offense. Maybe coaching? They might have the best skill position players in the NFL. On one hit, I saw 2 stick routes with a slant and they were all covered, and no one could break the man coverage. Cutler is a victim of the situation because there are a lot of teams that could use even an average QB. You put Cutler on the Bills or Dolphins and they would be a problem to deal with. Again, idk whos fault it is, but its an offense and everyone has to be in sync. THey look so out of sync, and that falls on the coaches, imo.

    • Mike Temujin

      I guess what I am saying is, there is no excuse for the Bears offense to be struggling. And they are severely. Who does that fall on?

      • Football

        Jay Cutler

        • joe smith

          fuck you

    • Chmike

      I agree. It is the coaches job to play to the QB’s strengths. If the Bears decide to trade him they will find a lot of suitors and the Bears will end up in the NFL limbo for the next 10 years drafting QBs after QBs until they find the right one.

      • Mike Temujin

        Exactly. Teams go 5+ years looking for a QB as good as someone like Cutler. The coaches lost that team. They are not playing to the strengths of that offense

  • Riffle,Rod&Fly

    The O-Line sucks, but Cutler also doesn’t help things by keeping his eyes locked in downfield all the time. He has horrible footwork in the pocket and no sense of what is going on immediately around him. Watch a guy like Tannehill to see someone with great movement in the pocket. One or two steps can be the difference between a sack or not. You’ll see what I mean.

  • StevenD

    Funny that the Bears defense ended up with a better overall grade than the Saints. Every now and then some of your grades are puzzling, but I typically understand why they happen.

    But no way Keenan Lewis had a negative coverage grade in this game. – No Way

  • Jason Williams

    So the Cutler era in Chicago comes to an end – can we get some juicy stats on his tenure here?

    I would be curious to break down his Bears career interceptions
    – how many were thrown while trailing (vs NFL average)

    – how many were thrown in the last 2 minutes of a half (vs NFL average)
    – how many were the result of tipped balls (vs NFL average)

    I know you guys have these numbers…

    I’ll make the first call – he’s on Washington next year.

    And as long as we’re making juicy predictions – Trestman is gone on Black Monday and welcome in Jim Harbaugh.

    • Guest

      Good luck getting Harbaugh. Who is your second option?

      • Jason Williams

        given that we passed on Bruce Arians two years ago…not sure there’s a good answer to that question. Tony Sparano?