Matt Barkley gets his first win as a starting QB, and that should not be devalued just because it was against a 49er team that couldn't find its ass with both hands. The weather played a role in the outcome, The Bears and Barkley could pass in it, San Francisco couldn't. But it did take some adjustments to do so :
"I really had to adjust my arm angle and almost push the ball out instead of flinging it because my thumb would slip out," Barkley said. "But once we got used to that — we were still calling plays and we didn't really hold back on anything in the game plan — plays were open and guys were getting open."
Chicago Tribune - http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/foo
While I am not ready to anoint Barkley as the next Joe Montana, I am impressed he has the presence of mind to actually make adjustments and achieve success. After just 2 games, he is leaps and bounds ahead of backup Bears QB's that have gone before him (hell, many starting Bears QB's too). And he simply looks like he belongs. Doesn't get rattled, goes through his progressions, and this week his receivers caught most of the balls he hit them in the hands with, unlike the Tennessee hands-like-feet debacle.
His accuracy is his strength. He doesn't try to blaze balls to the receivers, but he does lead them ever so nicely. Even in inclement weather. He seems fundamentally sound, which also puts him leaps and bounds ahead of many who have gone before him.
This season ending 4 game stretch against teams fighting for their playoff lives will be a true test. To pass his test, he doesn't need to necessarily lead the Bears to victory in them. He needs to continue to show his steady competence and keep them in position for a chance at the win. The game I want him to have his career best kick ass effort is against Goon Bay in 2 weeks to help ensure they don't make the post season. I hate the Packers. Despise them, loathe them, and wish them nothing but ill will and painful defeat. Unfortunately for me, the Packers have simply laughed at thoughts like these from others as they march towards another playoff game year after year after year. But this year, they look very average. And there would be no better way for Barkley to endear himself to the mustachioed meatball Bears fan base than to beat Goon Bay.
Barkley is playing for his future. If the Bears don't bring him back, he needs to have some positive game tape to lure someone into giving him a shot. I would certainly love for the Bears to do it. He has everything going for him to have folks rooting for him :
* injured in his last college season, he didn't have the greatest numbers and his draft stock dropped
* was drafted by a team that really had no use for a classic drop back passer, and Philly promptly jettisoned him
* got some scrub playing time in Arizona but didn't wow anyone
And now here he is in Chicago. From the NFL scrap heap to Bears starting QB, and what could be an act of redemption. And I think it would be a hoot for the Bears to accidentally luck into their franchise QB in this manner to further show they have no clue what they're doing when actually trying to find one.
So I'm rooting for him. May he have a nice 10 year career, bringing a level of stability to the Bears QB position the likes of which I haven't seen in my lifetime.
Weekly picks -
Last week = 8-7
Season = 110-80-2
Bears @ Lions - Detroit looks like they mean business. They have the lead in the NFC North, just handed a desperate Saints team a painful home loss, and appear to be pretty solid at the moment. And they actually need this game to counter their early season loss to the Bears for the divisional tiebreakers.
I think the Bears will give them a run for their money. I think Barkley will again play well. But I think Matthew Stafford will play better.
Lions in a close one 27 - 23
The rest of my Week 14 picks (home team in CAPS) :
Oakland over KANSAS CITY
Pittsburgh over BUFFALO
Cincinnati over CLEVELAND
TENNESSEE over Denver
INDIANAPOLIS over Houston
MIAMI over Arizona
PHILADELPHIA over Washington
TAMPA BAY over New Orleans
San Diego over CAROLINA
Minnesota over JACKSONVILLE
SAN FRANCISCO over NY Jets
Seattle over GOON BAY
Atlanta over LOS ANGELES
Dallas over NY GIANTS
NEW ENGLAND over Baltimore
oh the weather outside is frightful,
but my passing is delightful,
so off to a win we go,
watch me throw, watch me throw, watch me throw