I don’t think the Bears have won a game quite like this since the infamous “who we thought they were” game in Arizona, 2006. They were outplayed overwhelmingly from the line of scrimmage, out-coached dramatically and made the types of mistakes that should lead to a 41-10 loss. Yet here they are at 6-1 and I’m starting to get those 2006 “team of destiny” vibes. (That team was “destined” to give Peyton Manning his first ring, however.)
- I thought Mike Tice was just awful. This should have been an afternoon the Bears wore out Matt Forte with 30-35 carries and treated him like the workhorse running back he’s capable of being. Tice is a great personality but he’s got a lot of work to do as a coordinator.
- And it’s not JUST the move away from running but the types of runs and passes he calls. The runs are predictable, trap-type runs that often seem designed to gain 3 yards. And are there any easy passes in the playbook? Why is Cutler constantly entrenched in the pocket for what seems like an hour?
- Two drops from Brandon Marshall. One first down drop from Devin Hester. A horrendous, game changing drop from Matt Spaeth.
- On a pivotal third down, Mike Tolbert jukes Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher – two of the best tacklers in the history of the Chicago Bears. At that point I was willing to concede the ballgame.
- And then there was Cutler. Many of us wanted to see Cutler, in the two-minute drill, lead the Bears to a victory. He was magnificent on that final drive and I don’t think it’s a coincidence the Bears offense started to find its rhythm when they started involving Earl Bennett.
- A ho-hum 7 for 118 afternoon against the Bears for Steve Smith. What if he doesn’t fall down? What if Cam Newton doesn’t force him to attempt a circus catch in the end zone after he shredded the Bears secondary? We all have to accept that Lovie Smith’s defenses can’t stop Steve Smith and never will.
- Nice to see Greg Olsen whiff on Shea McClellin. Just like old times.
- I think it’s time the Bears give McClellin double the snaps. I like Izzy and Woot as players but McClellin looks like a potential star.
- Nice to see Julius Peppers manhandle Jordan Gross repeatedly.
- Horrible mismanagement of the clock at the end of the first half by Lovie Smith.
- Chris Conte had his first clunker of the 2012 season. He was nowhere to be found in the passing game. But I like his intensity at times. I like that he’s not afraid to drop his should a pop a guy. And I think he got jobbed on the personal foul call.
- So did Israel Idonije. What does a defensive end do in that position? He’s being blocked to the ground and has access to the quarterback’s legs. Is he not supposed to attempt the sack? Is that what this league has become?
- Show me the game preview ANYWHERE predicting Greg Hardy would channel Warren Sapp and be unblockable Sunday. Seriously? Greg Hardy?
- I’ll have to watch the All-22 to know for sure but I don’t think the offensive played as poorly as their numbers. I’d blame Tice, Cutler, the scheme and coverage down field equally. But I’ll look later today.
- I thought Adam Podlesh may have had his best game as a Bear.
- Major Wright’s hit on Cam Newton, forcing the fumble TD, was textbook. He put the shoulder pad on the ball.
- Nick Roach did a very nice job covering Greg Olsen.
- Great toss and even better catch by Kellen Davis in the end zone. Any chance we’ll see that two weeks in a row?
- Another false start from Roberto Garza! Anybody found out the record for false starts from a center yet? He’s got to be on pace.
Here’s the truth: In December, nobody is going to remember how the Bears beat the Panthers and nobody is going to care. They played horrendously Sunday and found a way to win. They are 6-1. And they’ve yet to play a great game offensively.
Note: I’m in NYC which may be impacted greatly by Hurricane Sandy. Let’s wait and see but if I go powerless tomorrow I’ll leave it to y’all to hold down the blog fort.