I spewed enough venom during halftime about the first half performance of the defense, so I’ll reserve judgment on them for now. I will say this much, though: If they intend on keeping pace with the Vikings and Packers, against whom they play a combined three more games, in the NFC North division race, they’ll need to play more like they did in the second half than the first half.
What else can you say about an eventually convincing victory over the Lions to move to 3-1 heading into the bye week? Winning is the most important thing and the Bears dominated the second half to get the victory.
The run game is still having problems. Matt Forte had two runs in which he broke free, a 61-yard scamper on his first carry of the game, and a 37-yard touchdown run in fourth quarter. Take away those two runs, and not only did he not have a good game, but he had a very bad performance with 10 carries for 23 yards.
Two things of concern not related to performance were the injuries to Devin Hester, who left the game with a shoulder injury in the first half and did not return, and Johnny Knox. But that wasn’t until after Knox took the second half kickoff 102 yards for a touchdown and had 5 catches for 31 yards.
Hopefully these injuries don’t hold these guys out for too long. Zack Bowman also got banged up near the end of the game, but he appeared to walk off the field fine.
The statistics at the end of the game didn’t look so terrible for the Bears and were a bit misleading. But Tommie Harris got an interception, Adewale Ogunleye had 2.5 sacks, Nick Roach and Israel Idonije each chipped in with a sack, and Danieal Manning was credited with 9 tackles to lead the team.
The return game was good all day. Knox had the touchdown return but also finished with a 49 yard average. Danieal Manning, whom I think is the team’s best kick returner, even filled in for Knox after he got hurt and had a 43-yard kickoff return. Hester had one punt return for 24 yards before exiting with an injury. Earl Bennett, who filled in for Hester, returned four punts for a 15 yard average.
Cutler had a solid game with 141 yards and two passing touchdowns, and he also showed his toughness by leaping over the goal line and taking hits in the process. His leadership and poise were instrumental all game.
It’s good that the Bears now have two weeks to rest players who are hurt. They’ll also have time to figure out what is going wrong with their defense, specifically against the pass. Because in two weeks when they get back into action, they face Matt Ryan and the Falcons in a Sunday night prime time game.
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