With Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season in the books, Chicago Bears fans have to be amongst the happiest in the nation.
All of the preseason hype surrounding the reunited pass catching combo of Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall did not disappoint. Hooking up for 119 yards and a touchdown in their first regular season game together since their Denver days in 2008, the dynamic duo ultimately lead the Bears to a convincing 41-21 crushing of the Indianapolis Colts.
However, after Cutler was sacked on the first play of the game and subsequently gave the Colts the lead on an inexplicable pick six out of the Bears' end zone on their second series, the Soldier Field faithful did not seem so sure. Refusing to push the panic button Chicago’s troubled offensive line "Beared Down" and rallied in front of their bewildered QB.
As a result of the O-line managing to keep Cutler upright for most of the day even rookie receiver Alshon Jeffery was able to contribute right away. Making his NFL regular season debut, the 6' 4" 220 pound former South Carolina stud snagged three Cutler passes for 80 yards, including a 42 yard touchdown grab.
The big boys up front also cleared the way for the Bears' revamped rushing attack to have a big opening day. After signing his well deserved, four year $31.5 million dollar deal in the off season, Pro Bowler Matt Forte led the way with 80 yards on the ground, including a six yard touchdown scamper.
Forte's new backup and big bodied bruiser Michael Bush who was recently acquired from the Oakland Raiders in May also plowed his way into the end twice in his Soldier Field debut.
In addition to the offense, stepping up after a shaky start, the vaunted Bears' defense validated their vicious reputation, sacking Indy’s rookie sensation signal caller Andrew Luck three times, intercepting the former Stanford standout four times and forcing the overall number one pick to fumble once the Monsters of the Midway demoralized the Colts franchise QB all day long.
Luck quickly realized the difference between college defenders and professional defensive backs when new Chicago corner and former Colts castoff Tim Jennings soared high in the air to snatch a beautifully thrown deep ball from the outstretched arms of Indy receiver Donnie Avery.
Although the Bears may have stumbled out of the Week 1 starting block, their convincing twenty point victory proved to be just what the insatiable Soldier Field fans had been longing for.
Chicago must now pocket this tone setting win and turn their attention towards their NFC North nemesis, the Green Bay Packers. In a rare Week 2 Thursday night matchup, the Bears hope to ride their wave of momentum into Lambeau Field and hand Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers and his high-powered Packers their second consecutive home loss of the early 2012 season.