One point I thought really hurt the offense against the Bears D was our running game Sunday. Now, I'll give the Bears defense credit for some of that, but I also saw that Willis McGahee simply had no burst or power. His knee obviously affected him. In the fourth quarter he was no where to be seen on the field in crunch time: it was all Lance Ball and Jeremiah Wright. The Bears defense didn't do anything that every other defense we've played has done, and we've played some good ones during this stretch. Willis has always been able to exploit those defenses for one or two big plays and he has consistently moved the pile, but not yesterday.
I sincerely hope that they rest him this week, and whatever is wring with his knee gets resolved. The Patriots' defense can be gashed by the run (I know, my daughter is a big Patriots fan and so we must watch Patriots games in our DirecTV package -- unless they conflict with Broncos games, the Dad gets his way, lol). Their run defense is as weak as their pass defense. Helu ran wild over them for Washington. But we need a healthy Willis in the backfield. When healthy he's stronger, quicker and faster than Ball and makes more big plays than any other RB on our roster. Without him in there our running game suffers as it did yesterday.
The positive to take from all of this is that we were able to win without him against a top notch defense, despite a number of dropped passes early in the game and no running game to speak of. However, if he is not ready to go full speed next week, I hope they game plan a more balanced attack, and also employ their hurry-up offense in the first half more. New England will be a shoot out game like Minnesota, so if Willis isn't 100% we need to have our receivers pick up the slack, especially on shorter outs, hooks and designed roll-outs.
Fox Ball without McGahee at his best will not work to keep the ball away from Brady. We will have favorable matchups in the passing game all day as long as our young receivers can come through for us. Mayo, the Pats best linebacker will probably be assigned to spy Tebow and he's fast enough to limit big plays on the option, designed Tebow runs or when Tebow scrambles. So McCoy will need to design a passing attack (including passes to the running backs) that will open up the running game, rather than vice-versa.
Hopefully Willis will be fully recovered by next Sunday, but if that knee continues to limit him, I hope our coaches adjust the game plan accordingly. The Pats are a very beatable team so long as our defense can force Brady to hurry his throws and our offense can limit his possessions.