The Chicago Bears took care of business against the San Diego Chargers Sunday with a final score of 31-20. Both teams had a slow start, but Bears outplayed the Chargers in the uninspiring match-up. While the Bears held the edge throughout, the excitement that followed the game proved to be far more compelling.
Jay Cutler is out for the remainder of the regular season. Lovie Smith confirmed Monday that Jay fractured his thumb and may require surgery to correct it. It could have happened after making every effort to stop Charger’s Antoine Cason’s run during a return from an interception. Regardless of how it happened, it certainly puts a damper on the rest of the season for the Bears.
Coach Smith stated today that the team’s goals will not change with Hanie taking the lead as QB. The expectation remains the same. And why should the goal change? Hanie has done a fine job for the Bears in recent past, including adding points to the board during the fateful game against the Packers last year.
The offensive line has definitely improved coverage over the last five games. Well-executed plays and spot-on coverage can give Hanie the protection and support he needs to place the ball. Forte, Barber, Hester—these players are on fire making big plays and getting it done in the red zone.
The defense is defiant and violent; they are making the hits, stripping the ball, setting up good field position and getting points on the board. This unit is unified and disciplined. Whatever they were lacking at the beginning of the season, they have closed the gap and are on a warpath.
The team as a whole appears unified. The last five games have been a testament to that. While a handful of players are always going to shine in a victory, the Bears latest wins are a fair balance of good performance across the board. They have played for opportunities but haven’t opted for opportunistic. Exposing their opponents and driving through them is not the same as waiting for a mistake to sway in their favor. As a matter of fact, they’ve blown out the last two games by playing strong and letting the other team sink themselves with errors and penalties.
With a chance at a wild card spot in the play-offs this team is not likely going to lay down and let the rest of the season run them over. It’s bound to have some nail-biting moments, but it’s way too early to give up. Set your expectations high, this team will not go down without a fight.