First, a few quick things about the game before I get into the grand scheme of it all.
I was pleased with the way the Bears played in the first half against the Jaguars, racking up a 20-3 advantage. Once again, they came out flat in the second half and only managed a field goal. That’s something they can’t do this Thursday against a Saints team that can score a touchdown in the blink of an eye.
Matt Forte only had 69 yards rushing after picking up 52 in the first half. He also had 5 catches for 37 yards. Kyle Orton played much better this week after struggling against the Vikings. He finished with 219 yards passing and two touchdowns with one interception.
One thing that needs to stop are the dropped passes. There were too many of them today. Forte, Devin Hester, Rashied Davis, Greg Olsen. They all had drops. But speaking of Olsen, he made a fantastic catch and reach across the goal line for a touchdown on a perfectly thrown Orton touchdown pass in the first half.
Defensively, Danieal Manning set the tone on the first drive of the game with an interception. Manning also did well returning kickoffs despite the low, bouncing kicks that Josh Scobee was sending downfield.
No. 97 recorded a sack late in the game. Can somebody tell me who that is? I don’t recall.
Seriously, though, Mark Anderson was close to picking up more than one sack all game but just kept missing by an arm length. Adewale Ogunleye and Israel Idonije each added a sack.
Charles Tillman forced yet another fumble, although the Jaguars recovered it. I think the Bears’ secondary did a decent job all game containing the Jaguars’ receivers. But the Bears’ normally stout run defense had difficulty stopping the Jaguars’ Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew all game.
Now, on to the bigger picture. I hope Bears fans keep a level head about this win. First, it was against a team that was out of the playoff race and didn’t have much to compete for. Secondly, the Bears played poorly in the second half and need to step it up with three tough games left on the schedule. And finally, the Vikings regrouped in the second half and came back to beat the Lions, 20-16. Hence, nothing has changed in the division.
While the Bears still have three competitive teams left on their schedule in the Saints, Packers, and Texans — who just beat the Packers this week, effectively all but ending Green Bay’s shot at winning the division — the Vikings have three contending teams to face. They travel to Arizona, then return home to face Atlanta and the New York Giants. Those are tough games and it’s possible Minnesota could lose them all.
But the Bears can’t count on that happening. They have to get ready on a short week and give the Saints’ prolific offense a rude awakening on Thursday at Soldier Field.