It’s difficult to get excited after Sunday’s game. While the Chicago Bears beat the Rams soundly 23–6, it wasn’t finesse and skill that drove them to success. As a matter of fact, the Bears played an average game against the struggling Rams, who barely held it together.
The Chicago Bears defense is as strong and solid as it can be. They are doing a good job shutting down the opponent with debilitating force in the red zone. It was clear against Green Bay that our defense is performing above par. Big plays continue to stack up for Urlacher, Peppers, Briggs, Tillman, Wright—the whole unit deserves credit for keeping their heads in the game and doing their best on the field. Even with a loss against Green Bay, consider how long both teams were scoreless—they were quite evenly matched. The defense continued to refine their punishing style against the Rams, picking off two and taking Bradford to the ground four times.
On the offense Marshall has shown that he’s a great addition to the Bears offense. When he and Cutler connect, big plays happen. Like Hester, though, he’s been quickly contained as one of the Chicago’s not-so-secret weapons. Bush is ramping up his energy on the field in the absence of Forte. The combination of energy and talent from these two new players could help give the ailing offense a lift.
Cutler and the OL have become distressing to watch. The same challenges that we’ve seen in the past two seasons continue to resurface. Cutler takes too long in the pocket, the offensive line can’t, repeat CAN’T, hold the opposing defense back and the result is Cutler on his back or he throws the ball away, often right into the hands of an opponent. He’s not performing in the red zone unless he’s capitalizing on opponents errors. Unfortunately, he’s making too many of his own.
Overall, the units are imbalanced. The defense is rock solid, doing their part to hold the opposition in the first half. Cutler takes some time getting settled, which can cost the offense turnovers and sacks. Once Cutler gets settled, it’s an uphill battle to regain lost ground. Chicago Bears Special Teams rank among the best. Gould is reliable and Hester is amazing when he breaks free.
The problem seems obvious. The defense gets worn out from spending too much time on the field. Cutler’s communication, or Tice’s play-calling, breaks down and falls apart. It creates a real weakness for the Bears that’s easy to exploit.
How the Chicago Bears will solve the problem or shift blame will be interesting to watch this season. While hopeful, let’s take off those rose-colored glasses and stay rooted in reality. This could be a long season.