Bears look solid in victory
The Chicago Bears (1-0) led the league last year in total takeaways with 44, and Sunday they picked up right where they left off against the Cincinnati Bengals (0-1).
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman picked off Bengals’ quarterback Andy Dalton, and quickly electrified the crowd at Soldier Field. Tillman had another interception that bounced off Bengals receiver A.J. Green in the second quarter. Although it was reported that Tillman suffered from dehydration, he definitely had plays where he shined. The defense played well overall, even though they allowed 323 yards to a very up-tempo Bengals offense.
Let’s take a look at the numbers. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was impressive, throwing for 242 yards on 21 completions and two touchdowns with one interception. Dalton was just as impressive, completing 26 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns along with two interceptions. The redzone offense for the Bears, which has always been a big concern, was very efficient Sunday. They were 3-for-3 on the afternoon, while the Bengals were 2-for-3. Judging from this performance by the Bears, there redzone offense will be a force to be reckoned with this season.
I would assume the Bears certainly did not want to come out early and struggle like they did, especially after the changes to the offense the team made in the offseason, but there were stretches that showed what this offense is capable of doing. In the first quarter, Cutler threw an eight-yard strike to tight end Martellus Bennett, who made a tremendous grab in the endzone to give the Bears an early 7-0 lead. In the fourth quarter, Cutler found wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who had 104 yards on eight receptions, in the endzone to give the Bears the outright lead. Bennett compiled 49 yards on three receptions.
Speaking of that late touchdown, Cutler has been under scrutiny for not being clutch in late-game situations. I think all this talk about him has been unwarranted, as he really has not had neither an offensive line nor an offense to help him out. He changed that perspective Sunday, with help from a eight-yard run on fourth-and-inches by Matt Forte to keep the drive alive, capping an 81-yard drive in the final minutes. I think Cutler looked very comfortable in this new offense, and he will flourish and only get better as the season moves forward. The offensive line did very well, not allowing a sack. That has to be some sort of record; nonetheless that got me very excited.
The Bengals looked very impressive, and Green came out very strong. The receiver had two touchdowns, and he used his breakaway speed on both to reach the endzone. They racked up 277 passing yards, along with 63 yards rushing and a touchdown from the law firm, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, giving the Bengals a 21-10 lead in the third quarter. Dalton seemed to have control of the game early, and I didn’t think the Bears would finish off their comeback like they did. In years’ past, they would normally fold under pressure.
Not on Sunday, as the Bears stood up and asserted themselves as a powerful offense. It took a while for them to get going, but once they did, it was game over. The rest of the NFL should take notice: the Bears mean business, and are not going anywhere.