What on earth happened to the Bears defense?

Bears-PackersEven though the Chicago Bears have been one of the most injury-riddled teams in the NFL this season, it’s staggering how bad the defense has played. Granted, their 37-3 loss to the Packers wasn’t entirely the defense’s fault (Green Bay did score a defensive touchdown), but they certainly deserve most of the blame.

Chicago was absolutely shredded on the ground by Ryan Grant, who rushed for 145 yards on 25 carries, while Brandon Jackson added 50 yards on just 10 carries. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Bears also allowed Aaron Rodgers to throw for 227 yards and two touchdowns.

Again, injuries have ransacked this team, but at some point you can’t use that as an excuse. And it doesn’t matter who’s playing, there’s no excuse for poor tackling. This was a huge divisional game and the Bears allowed the Packers to do whatever they wanted both on the ground and through the air.

It was also amazing to watch the Bears constantly line up in two-tight end formations and still not be able to run the ball. This wasn’t the Minnesota Vikings front seven they were playing – Green Bay has been carved up all year on the ground.

Conversely, this win saved the season for the Packers, at least for the time being. Not only did they beat a division opponent, but the previously surging Vikings lost as well, meaning there’s a three-way tie in the North. The Pack need Grant and the defense to step up every week just as they did on Sunday vs. Chicago.

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Tomlinson, Grant and McGahee iffy

– LaDainian Tomlinson said on Wednesday that he would “definitely” play this week, but Rotoworld refers to an Adam Schefter report that says that LT2 is in danger of missing the Denver game. The plan was for Tomlinson to start some work on Friday, so keep an eye on his status today. If he practices, he should be good to go. If he doesn’t, it might be time to get worried. Darren Sproles is listed as the top backup on the Chargers’ depth chart.

– Ryan Grant will be the dreaded game-time decision against the Lions on Sunday. He is still bothered by a sore hamstring and it’s starting to look like this is going to go on for a while. If he can’t go, Brandon Jackson would be in line for the most work in a great matchup, but he’s dealing with a concussion and has been limited in practice this week. Kregg Lumpkin (yep, that’s his real name) is listed as the third RB on the Packers’ depth chart.

– Willis McGahee has been limited in practice this week and it’s starting to look more and more that rookie Ray Rice will get the start in a nice matchup with the Houston Texans. Keep in mind that the game was backed up to Monday night (due to Hurricane Ike), which probably increases the chances that McGahee will be cleared to play, though I’m not optimistic.

Fantasy Football Update: 8/27

I know many of you are heading into your drafts this weekend, so here are a few things that are going on in the world of fantasy football:

Peyton Manning returned to practice, but HC Tony Dungy said that he was “iffy” for the season opener. Apparently, he looked good, so plan on Peyton keeping his consecutive games streak alive in Week 1… HC Marvin Lewis says that even though Chris Perry is atop the depth chart at running back, Rudi Johnson could win his job back with a good performance on Thursday night. The vibe seems to be that Rudi is on the way out of Cincy, but you never know. Perry is a nice late-round pick, as is Kenny Watson, who was the team’s most productive back last season… Jeff Fisher says that he plans to split touches between LenDale White and rookie speedster Chris Johnson. “I would assume it would be close to 50-50, maybe 60-40,” he said. “We’re going to use them both depending on the game plans and it makes sense to take advantage of both of their abilities. I think we’ll have a better gauge once we get to the middle part of the season.” Johnson’s stock has risen of late and while White is pretty solid between the tackles, the rookie is more of a home run threat… The Packers plan to get Brandon Jackson more involved in the running game in an attempt to reduce the pounding that Ryan Grant takes over the course of the season. The idea is to limit Grant to 300 carries (which is still a lot) and use him more in the passing game, which means that Grant’s value is enhanced in PPR leagues.

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