The Bears came, saw and conquered the NFC North. Crown them the 2010 NFC North Division Champs. Take that Trent Dilfer, Adam Schein and all the other national media skeptics that lead the Bears-still-suck parade.
Say what you will about the Bears. They've executed when they had to, adjusted on the fly and most importantly stayed healthy throughout the season. Now they are guaranteed a home game in the playoffs and control their destiny from here on out.
If we take a step back on how the Bears became NFC North Champs, we have to first look at the moves made in the offseason and how it's paid off in the regular season.
Decision to keep Angelo and Smith
Despite the pressure from fans, the Bears management allowed Lovie Smith
and Jerry Angelo to return for the 2010 season. From there, they hired
Mike Tice to help improve the technique of the offensive line. They
hired a proven offensive-minded genius, Mike Martz. Rod Marinelli was
also promoted to defensive coordinator.
If management would've brought in new coaches, you never know how this team would have shaped up and if they were going to make a splash in free agency. There was too much uncertainty around a new philosophy and system. Bringing Smith back for Cutler was the continuity he needed to progress.
Filled holes through free agency
When the free agent market opened, Angelo and Smith wasted no time in
signing Julius Peppers, Chester Taylor, Brandon Manumaleuna. By signing
these players, the Bears immediately filled holes in their roster. They
weren't done there as management traded for Chris Harris to solidify the
The Bears still had a need at offensive line. The offensive line has a mix of young and old pieces and Tice was brought in to coach them up.
Adjustments made during the season
The start of the Cowboys couldn't have gone any worse as the Jay Cutler
was hit 9 consecutive times. Martz and Tice made playcalling adjustments
to get the ball out of Cutler's hands quicker and offensive line
adjustments were made to protect Cutler.
After the bye, the offense has
been more balanced with a nice blend of running and passing plays. This change in offensive philosophy have enable the Bears to be more effective on third down, keep drives alive and control the clock, giving their defense a rest.
The Bears still have a lot of work to do because they still need to lock up the number 2 seed, When the Bears brought in Lovie Smith 6 years ago, he highlighted 3 goals for the team.
The first goal was to beat the Packers and the Bears accomplished that goal early in the season. Now they have a chance to sweep them for the season. The second goal, Smith hightlighted, was to win the NFC North. Check that off the list. The last and final goal is to win the Super Bowl and the Bears have much work to do.