The Chicago Bears really have nothing to be ashamed about.
Hear me out for a second. Yes, It’s easy to criticize the offense for only targeting their best player four times. It’s easy to criticize after a gut-wrenching defeat littered with unforgivable mental errors. Heck, it’s even easy to criticize whomever littered Earl Bennett onto the field on Sunday; that person needs to be fired.
But in all seriousness, one thing seems to be forgotten in the midst of all this post-game Bears sorrow.
The New Orleans Saints are a very, very good football team.
The Saints marched into Soldier field on Sunday to improve to 5-0 on the season. Not shocking to the educated football viewer, though the Vegas odds actually favored the Bears by a point heading into the bout.
Drew Brees was Drew Brees, Pierre Thomas stepped up in a big way and Jimmy Graham was one of those guys you create in your Madden franchise and edit all of his ratings to the maximum number. There’s really no conceivable way to defend the guy, as the Bears’ defense apparently seemed eager to illustrate.
With a much improved defense (not that this was a hard feat to accomplish relative to their disastrous unit in 2012, but still) and Sean Payton back engineering the offense from the sidelines, the Saints have to be considered the favorite to come out of the NFC at this point. The East is dreadful, the North is probably overrated and the Seahawks are very human away from Seattle. Oh, and the Rams struggled to beat the Jaguars today.
Did I mention the East is dreadful? A Thursday night showdown (in this case, I use that term lightly) could be just what the doctor ordered for the Bears.
As expected, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan dialed up a series of blitzes to confuse Jay Cutler and the inexperienced offensive line. Cutler’s decision making and accuracy improved as the game wore on, as did the line’s protection.
And, perhaps most importantly, Alshon Jeffery proved he can flat out play. Much was made about Brandon Marshall’s comments about the game, but Jay Cutler probably had the most important thoughts following Sunday’s loss.
“It’s going to come,” Cutler said in reference to Marshall, according to ESPNchicago.com. “You can’t keep doubling him and letting another receiver go for 200 yards. It’s silly to keep doing that. He’s going to get his. He’s going to have to keep trusting us.”
If only Cutler was as on the money with his throws on a consistent basis as he was with these comments. He’s right. Remember when Bears fans were up in arms following the second preseason game when all of Cutler’s completions went to Marshall?
I wish I didn’t, because they were nonsense. Jeffery’s 217 yards set a Bears’ single game record on Sunday, and he did it playing across from the best receiver in Bears history…. Brandon Marshall.
Obviously, the Bears offense still has flaws. This is to be expected. Drew Brees has been in the Saints’ system for almost a decade, Tom Brady has been in the Patriots system for over a decade and Peyton Manning is the Broncos system in Denver.
At least the Bears finally have legitimate weapons. Four of them. Five, if you really believe Earl Bennett’s fingers are made of fork prongs as I do.
All joking aside, the Bears really shouldn’t feel too down on themselves following a hard fought loss to New Orleans. Green Bay and Detroit are still full of question marks, and the beloved’s offense should only improve as they get more acclimated to Wizard Trestman’s system.
And for all of the folks out there upset that the defense failed to force a turnover this weak… Fear not.
David Wilson comes to town next week.
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