3 QB sacks, and 3 takeaways equal another sweet victory for the Bears in NJ last night. Ryan Mundy's game opening pic 6 got things off to a great start. Thereafter the defense bent, but refuse to break. Each time the Jets got into the red-zone, the defense hunkered down by either giving up just 3 points, or forcing a turnover. The Jets only crossed the goal-line once on a 19 yard TD pass from Geno Smith to Jeremy Kerley in the 2nd quarter.
As a matter of fact, it was the defense that played more efficiently then the offense during several points in the game. On-the-other-hand, the Jets front seven did what everybody expected them to do, and that was harass and chase Jay Cutler all night long. In the end, Cutler was sacked 4 times, and the running seemed not to get any traction until late in the game (when it was needed the most).
What impressed me the most was two things. First, I was impressed with yet another great performance by Jay Cutler who achieved a QB rating of 94.7, carved up the Jets secondary for most of the game, and took good care of the football. Second, I was impressed with the defense which not only made NY work for their points, but was able to keep it together despite the loss of practically all of our safeties.
Brock Vereen, Danny McCray, and Ahmad Dixon put in extended duty late in the game when injuries took out our starters and second stringer safeties. Dixon made a huge fumble recovery early in the game, and Vereen made two big plays down the stretch during the final Jet drive. Vereen chased down Greg Salas who almost scored when he eluded one tackler and raced down the sideline.
Vereen also provided tight "smothering" coverage on WR Kerley on the Jets final play, and saved the game. Granted, the pass was thrown a step to far by Geno Smith causing Kerley to make the catch out of bounds, but I believe it was Vereen's coverage that force Smith to throw the ball where he did. As for Geno Smith, he's got a long way to go...
The defense was able to do what I'd hoped by reading Smith like a book (like Mundy did on the first play), and giving him just enough heat to force him into making errant throws. Frankly the game would have been over long before the Salas catch and run if Jonathan Bostic had either held on to an interception that was right in his belly, and/or follow through on a tackle and stopping Jet TE Amaro from getting the first down after catching a pass.
Yes, the game was far from being a work of perfection, but I will point this out. Last week the Bears came from behind from 17 down to beat the 49ers on the west coast. Last night, the Bears never trailed in the game jumping out to a 14 point lead early on. The closest NY got was when the score was 17-13. Granted the Jets should have gone ahead on a scoop and run TD after a Cutler fumble which was blown dead, and ruled Cutler down by contact (being overturned after review).
In closing, from my vantage point, the Bears have 1 more game to win in order to turn me, or even many of us into believers. The two teams we just beat are teams that are in trouble. The Niners appear to be falling apart at the seams with there player conduct issues, and a coach that's rumored to be falling deeper and deeper into disfavor with ownership and the players. The Jets still have coaching problems, and are in desperate need of more players.
Our next game at home against the Packers is not only a MUST-WIN, but a game we SHOULD-WIN. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers are yet another team in trouble after getting bounced by the vastly improved Detroit Lions last week. So this is another game
that should be ripe for taking based on the teams we've just beaten on the road. Should the Bears take out the Cheese-Heads at home, then I will believe. As for Jay Cutler, Rick Flare says it best: "You Gotta Beat The Man (Aaron Rodgers), If You Wanna Be The Man".....