Sunday was my first time going to a Bears game and I couldn’t ask for a better experience personally. My friend and I left Dekalb around 9:15 and surprisingly got to Solider Field shortly after 10:00 so the traffic was smooth all the way. The weather was great as the sun was right on top of us for the most of the game. It wasn’t too cold or too hot. The picture below was from my camera phone as the seats we had were not bad at all.
If you look at the stats of the game (Cue Irish Yeti), you can see that the Bears did not have the ball that often (23:38) although they scored 48 points against the Lions. Due to the defense stepping up in the 2nd half and the special teams, the Bears offense had great field position using very little time possession. I enjoy the loyal readers here because they are knowledgeable and know that stats don’t tell the whole story regardless of what sport is being discussed.
Offense: When Cutler scored the touchdown, the crowd went absolutely nuts when they saw the replay of Jay flying in the air when he got hit. He contributed for three touchdowns and passed the ball to nine different players. Johnny Knox (More on this stud later) led the way with five catches. Five different receivers each had two catches. Once again. Jay Cutler finds a way to get many players involved on offense creating a balance and making anyone he throws to a threat.
Matt Forte had two big runs and he totaled 12 rushes on 121 yards with a touchdown. I said before the game that I think he would be pretty good. I think this is just the start. He was hurt in the preseason and it seems with next week off that he will be ready to go against Atlanta. Fellow NIU man Garrett Wolfe contributed with his first career touchdown late in the 4th quarter.
Defense: The defense was awful the first half. Once again, receivers were open the whole half without a defender in sight. Reader Dave mentioned in the previous thread a couple stupid penalties including a face mask once again happened. On the first field goal the Lions attempted, a special teams offside penalty ended up leading to the first touchdown. Overall though, three penalties for 36 yards total for the team isn’t too bad but it could have been a lot worse.
Tommie Harris finally did something productive and intercepted a pass that set up the offense for a touchdown. Big props to Alex Brown for a sack and Adewale Ogunleye with 2.5. Both of these guys have played well so far. The line as a whole has been great. Lovie Smith has received a lot of criticism over the last couple years. Some has been deserved and some hasn’t but hiring Rod Marinelli as the line coach is so far paying off.
Israel Idonije caused a fumble and it turned into another turnover for this defense. Mark Anderson is proving to be a big part of the line and Lance Briggs continues to dominate and step up as he had nine tackles in the game. Al Afalava played well having six tackles.
Special Teams: I saved the best for last. The special teams were the key to this game in my opinion. All four of Brad Maynard’s punts were inside the 20. Robbie Gould hit two field goals. Johnny Knox had the opening 2nd half kickoff for the touchdown. I didn’t notice from watching it in the stands but I heard after the game that he let go of the ball at the one yard line. I am praying that won’t happen again. But this guy came out of nowhere and has proven to not only be a threat on offense but a threat on special teams too. He is becoming a big part of this team.
Overall, I am enjoying the win. I am not trying to get down on this defense but they need to be able to put together a full game of good defense. For the second week in a row, they sucked in the first half but stepped up in the second half. If they can find a way to put together four quarters of good defense, they can get more rest and not wear down as fast throughout the game and season. No NFL team shouldn’t ever be taken too easily. I actually think the Lions will be a much better team in the next couple years.
The injury bug is getting to this team. Devin Hester, Adrian Peterson and Johnny Knox all were injured Sunday and the length of the time out for them is uncertain at this time. A bye week for this team couldn’t come at a better time.