It started shaky but the Bears found their bearings and dominated the Colts in a 41-21 victory to kickoff the regular season. Jay Cutler and the much hyped offense delivered in a big way by getting contributions from seemingly everyone. Jay Cutler finished the game by going 21/35 for 333 yard with two touchdowns and one interception. The presence of a #1 wide receiver paid off in a big way as Brandon Marshall caught nine passes for 119 yards and a touchdown. Matt Forte held strong on the ground game by rushing for 80 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries. On the other side of the ball the Bears' defense looked like its old self by terrorizing rookie quarterback Andrew Luck and the Colts' offense by creating turnovers and dishing out big hits. Racking up five turnovers, including three interceptions, the Bears' defense made the #1 overall pick look pedestrian at times by pressuring him to rush passes as well as sacking him three times.
Despite the dominant play on both sides of the ball the game got off to a rough start for the Bears. In the opening offensive drive the Bears were disastrous, giving up a sack on the first play of the game followed by a false start that pushed the Bears to their own 1 yard line and eventually leading to a three and out for the Bears. After forcing the Colts to punt the Bears' offense was on the field for one play in their second series which ended when Colts' linebacker Jerrell Freeman sniffed out a Cutler pass to Matt Forte and returned it for a touchdown to give the Colts the early lead. It was the only time the Colts would hold the lead in the game before the Bears flipped the switch and the much hyped offense showed up.
Jay Cutler hooked up with Brandon Marshall and company by distributing the ball to six different receivers. On the ground game Matt Forte and Michael Bush looked to be a tough tandem for opposing defenses to match up with. Forte got the majority of carries and yards but Bush picked up the tough goal line yards and punched the ball across the goal line twice. On defense it was the ability to pressure and create turnovers that made this defense look as if they haven't missed a beat despite being one year older. Brian Urlacher started and while he didn't have a stand out game the mere fact that he was on the field for 75% of the game was a victory in itself. The only weak spot in the defense's performance was the inability to contain wide receiver Reggie Wayne who was Luck's go to guy all day and racked up 135 yards on nine catches.
Head coach Lovie Smith pulled Urlacher and a few starters when the Bears went up by 20 in the third quarter in order to give the veterans some extra rest and not risk injury before a key showdown against the Green Bay Packers on Thursday. The Bears racked up 428 yards of offense and look to continue that kind of a performance with them all season long. "We wanted to make a statement across the league that we made some improvements in the offseason, depth at a lot of key positions, and we wanted to let them know the Bears are here," Bears cornerback Tim Jennings said. "We're trying to get to the ultimate goal."
The Bears face a tough task in a short turn around week when they take on their NFC North arch rivals, the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night in front of a national audience. It’s a tough test to be sure but the Bears seem to be ready to match offensive firepower with their hated rivals.
QUICK BEARS NOTES
- Next time the Bears play a game in Soldier Field it may be a little quieter when the Bears' offense takes the field; at least Jay Cutler hopes so after a personal request to the fans attending upcoming home games. “Please, please, please let’s tone it down a little bit when we’re down in the 20 you’re more than welcome to yell and scream and do whatever you want to do after we score, but please, let’s go ahead and quiet the stadium down and save it for after we score. Thank you. That’s my PSA,” Cutler said to reporters after the game. Even with all the noise the offense was still able to throw 41 points on the board, if it's quiet then the scoreboard operator might have to get triple digits.
- Bears Pro Bowl cornerback Charles "Peanut" Tillman left the game in the first quarter after suffering a leg injury. Tillman was seen limping off of the field and was evaluated by the trainers before being ruled out the remainder of the game. The injury does not look to be serious and Tillman was held out strictly for precautionary reasons.
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