Football Nation’s Cold, Hard Football Facts Insider is Extraordinary INSIDE INFORMATION for Betting on Pro Football. CHFF quality stats, Pre and post-game reports and ATS picks for every NFL game week 1 to Super Bowl. If you want to win each week, Click here to check out Insider now.
A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled "5 Reasons The Bears Can Win". In this article I made 5 statements of what the Bears needed to do to win this game.
Jay Cutler in End Zone - Sort of.
Even though QB Jay Cutler did not leap over players or score a touchdown he was able to hit his targets and get the ball in the end zone. Cutler threw for 242 yards, with 21 out of 33 completed passes and 2 touchdowns. It is safe to say he shook off the cobwebs and felt confortable in head coach Marc Trestman's play calling. He went all the way to the 4th quarter without an interception, but then it wouldn't be Cutler without one. One can only hope he manages a game interception free.
Blindside Protection - Rookies Earned Their Strips.
Anytime you see Cutler smiling on the field he is thrilled that he was not on the ground the majority of the game. With RG Kyle Long and RT Jordan Mills, they did everything they could to protect Cutler and give him time. There were some rough spots where Long needed to anchor himself a little more and Mills need to push back a little more. But the offense was greatly improved on both the left and right side giving Cutler many opportunities to get the ball out quickly.
With the much improved offense, Cutler was able to move the ball methodically down the field burning up clock time and setting a rhythm with his receivers. As I said before, ball security was drilled in practice and we saw in both touchdowns with WR Brandon Marshall and TE Martellius Bennett that you hold one to that ball for dear life. It took the whole first half for Cutler to warm up, but once he did, he remembered the thrill of the win.
The Running Game - Not An Imperesssive Show.
The running game was not as impressive as it could have been. This was due to the lack of open paths for RB Matt Forte' to run through. There should be a parting of the "blue and orange" sea when Forte' has the ball and this needs to be improved by the offense. The fullback position should be used more in this situation to give the running back a better chance of getting more field. However, they did have more rushing yards than the Bengals at a total of 81 rushing yards.
Third Down and Long - Finally An Area of Improvement
This was Marshall's domain, his calling, his legacy. His hands made phenomenal catches when Cutler threw cannon balls down the field. This is where the relationship between the quarterback and receiver becomes electric. The 3rd down coversions were crucial for the Bears to manage and they improved enough to win. But the Bears need to get the conversion mark more to the 50%.
Defense and Special Teams - The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
Specials Teams was right on mark with 2 interceptions caught by CB Charles Tillman. However Tillman was not on mark in covering Bengals WR AJ Green and just seemed to be out of sync with coverage.
Green had fun faking out Tillman each time he scored a touchdown. The defense had a terrible time jumping of the block and could not get to QB Andy Dalton to stop the passing game. It wasn't until the 2nd half that the defense put the pressure on Dalton.
But the true MVP of this win was the 58 yard kick by who not only beat his own distance record, but the all-time Bears record for a field goal kick. His kick gave the Bears the breathing room and confidence to play smart football to win the game. Trestman has his first win of the regular season, Cutler has his confidence back and the Bears can hold there head up high.