My thoughts will be brief today because I’m on the road away from a computer and I’m using my BlackBerry to type this. The Bears just barely pulled out a victory against a Lions team with talent but one that is still not as good as the Bears at the end of the day.
The Bears opened the game with a terrific drive, one that should have resulted in a touchdown but Aromashodu dropped a pass in the end zone on a well-placed Cutler throw. The Bears kicked a field goal to take the 3-0 lead, but that was the last lead they saw until the end of the game.
Aside from an interception on a tipped pass that never should have been thrown, Cutler had a great game with 23 completions on 35 attempts for 372 yards and 2 touchdowns. His top target was Matt Forte, who caught 7 passes for 151 yards and 2 touchdowns, including an 89-yard screen pass as well as the game-winning 28-yard touchdown reception on a great Cutler throw.
Aside from Cutler and Forte, who were clearly the offensive players of the game, there wasn’t much else going for the Bears offense due to, yep, a struggling offensive line. However, despite the 81 rushing yards on 31 carries (2.6 average), I liked that Mike Martz went to the run game right off the bat and wasn’t afraid to stay with it throughout the game. One can only imagine how much better the Bears would have been today with better blocking.
What I wasn’t happy with offensively was the turnovers — the only reason the Lions were in the game in the first place. Fumbles by Greg Olsen, Forte, and Cutler were frustrating to watch and can’t happen if the Bears hope to win more games this year. Few teams win many games in which they lose the turnover battle.
A lot of credit has to be given to the defense, who played great today. Julius Peppers had a strip sack at the end of the first half that led to a field goal. Brian Urlacher was all over the field making plays and showing just how valuable he is to this defense while also proving all the naysayers wrong who have claimed his career is done. This guy may not be a Pro Bowler but all we need from him is the same effort he showed in this game throughout the rest of the season. Lance Briggs made perhaps the defensive play of the game when he knifed through the offensive line and stripped Lions quarterback Shaun Hill at the one-yard line. The Bears went for a touchdown on four straight downs instead of kicking the field goal on fourth down to take the lead, a decision by Lovie Smith that I’ll get into more tomorrow.
For more analysis, check out my Monday Morning Quarterback tomorrow.