So far, there are no big surprises as the Bears and Titans head to halftime tied at 7. I am a little bit surprised at how well the Bears have stopped the Titans’ run game, holding them to -5 yards rushing. But leading up to this game, we knew the Bears’ run defense would contain Tennessee’s running backs and that Kerry Collins would connect on passes here and there. So far, the Bears’ pass defense has continued its bend-but-don’t-break philosophy and they’ve certainly bent but have not broke yet.
Rex Grossman had one ill-advised pass and it turned out to be a tipped interception. But aside from that, he’s played with what he has been given. It’s the special teams that aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. It’s been a battle of field position in the first half and the Titans have won that handily. Four of the Titans’ seven drives have started in Bears territory, and as a result, half of the Bears’ six drives have started inside their own 10-yard line. That’s a major factor as to why the Bears’ offense hasn’t been able to move the ball. Essentially, they’ve gone into “give-up mode” just trying to create room for Brad Maynard to punt.
Fortunately, the Bears won the coin toss and they’ll be getting the second half kickoff. That should help them establish field position and try to get some momentum going.
This game is definitely within reach. These 8-0 Titans certainly aren’t on the same level as the 8-0 Patriots a year ago, or any other undefeated teams in recent memory, for that matter. They’ve gotten to where they are this year by playing sound, fundamental football, and that’s what they’re doing so far this game.
The Bears need to generate a pass rush, which they haven’t been able to do in this or any other game this year. If they don’t, they’ll need a little bit of luck to help push them over the edge. But if they can break the Titans’ concentration, there’s a good chance they can pull off the victory.
UPDATE: So much for establishing field position. On the second half kickoff, the Bears were called for holding, putting themselves into yet another hole.