They say that there are a couple ways to win a football game. You need to be able to:
1. Run the ball
2. Stop the run
3. Control the clock
4. Don't turn the ball over
5. Let a defender catch a ball in the endzone during the final moments of a game so that the receiver can catch an apparent game-winning pass, then let said receiver get off the ground so he can lose the ball as he tries to get up.
6. And don't turn the ball over
But, of course, you knew that. The Bears got 2, 3, and 5. The tiebreaker was the new look endzone paint. I forgot...that was supposed to be #7. New endzone paint changes everything.
Well, I know you waited all day to hear my thoughts...here goes:
1. Matt Forte's body was taken over by Marshall Faulk.
I'm not sure what happened, but somehow, somewhere, Matt Forte looks like a completely different person.
2. How does Fox not have specific sideline/end zone cameras?
It's 2010. Seriously. The NFL and its hundreds of millions of dollars can drop a couple dimes on getting endzone/goalline/sideline cameras for both sides? We couldn't get a camera to clearly show if Forte was inbounds/out-of-bounds on a 90 yard pass reception? This is unacceptable. For a league that is so fan-friendly from a PR perspective, and through its media relations, you would think they could get this done. Which makes me wonder if the cameras are an NFL issue, or a Fox/CBS/NBC/ESPN issue....?
3. Layoff the offensive line
The offensive line wasn't that bad...they certainly exceeded my expectations. In the Martz offense you need tight ends that can stay back and block. The entire squad from center-tight end was solid today for the first half. The second half, though, things got kind of tight.
Against a somewhat superior defensive line for Detroit, the subpar Bears line managed 101 rushing yards and gave Cutler enough time for over 300 yards passing. It wasn't a great performance, but it got the job done.
My only blocking beef of the day was Kellen Davis' weak, and I mean weak, block on the fourth and 1. Maybe one of the laziest blocks I've seen in quite some time.
4. The Cutler feel
Rex Grossman could never feel pressure...hence, the fumbling. Jay Cutler doesn't seem to have that sixth sense of a pocket collapsing like the true greats: Marino, Favre, Elway, etc.
Not that this is too big of a deal. Hardly any quarterback, except the great ones, can finagle their footwork to get out of tough situations on blindside rushes...but it seems that Cutler just doesn't have that sense...that lack of sense led to a turnover.
5. Passing game
Overall, a good day for the wide receivers. It was also a good day for Cutler. The only problems were the turnovers, obviously. Inexcusable. Cutler only forced one pass (which, for him, is an improvement).
Aromashodu dropped three passes. That was honestly the only down part of the passing game.
Forte was amazing with seven catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns. Cutler passed for 372 yards. Not much more you can say.
6. Could anybody tell me why the Lions couldn't run?
I could. But, if you missed a portion of the game, you probably couldn't.
Going up against one of the weaker pass defenses in the entire NFL, it was kind of mind boggling that the Lions couldn't gain ground yardage.
I say that because the Bears dropped 7-8 back the entire game, and the Lions still couldn't win.
They ran 21 times for 20 yards. Is Tommie Harris back? Is Urlacher reading the run like he's 10 years younger?
I'll tell you this much...if the Lions can't run without Stafford...then...this could get ugly quick for Detroit.
7. Why didn't the Lions throw the ball downfield more?
You got me...I have absolutely no clue what to say. You've got one of the worst defensive backfields in the NFL...THROW THE BALL!
8. When was the last time the Bears ran the screen this well?
You would have to go back to the 1985 Bears offensive line. Not to be a typical meatball that brings up the '85 Bears all the time, but there was a reason they were so effective in the passing game.
You had Walter Payton, one of the best receiving running backs of the pre-1990 NFL. Plus, you had an entire offensive line that could move well downfield.
Ta-da! That's all you need. Matt Forte/Chester Taylor plus agile line = yards.
Plus, if defenses have to plan for the screen, it opens up more running between the tackles due to the necessity of keeping outside backers on the periferay. If backers and safeties are weary of outlets, it opens up more single coverage for the tight end, as well.
9. Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher
Okay, meatballs. Brian Urlacher is healthy. When he is healthy, he covers a wide area in the Cover 2. Lance Briggs is healthy. When he is healthy, he can beat you in the backfield and over the middle.
If these two men are healthy for all 16 games, the Bears cannot be horrible.
I didn't say 'bad'. I just said 'horrible'.
For me, that means that if they stay healthy, we lock up six wins...if not, it could be three or four.
10. Yes, you kick the field goal. (Bad penalties/play calling)
This isn't being a Monday morning quarterback...everybody knew before the play that Lovie Smith should've elected to kick the go-ahead field goal. It's the fourth quarter. You take the lead when it is given to you. You don't need to know how to operate for a triple bypass to know this.
Plus, one more thing...nine penalties for 100 yards. Inexcusable.
Given, it's the first game. These things happen. However, Urlacher's penalty for a late hit may have cost the Bears six points. Pushing a guy in the back that far after the play is bush league. The Bears would've gotten the ball at the 22...more than enough time to plan for a touchdown...instead, they only got three points.
Best of luck to the Lions who may have another 0-16 season awaiting them.
Now, it's time for Dallas. America's Team. The Bears have to make sure that the Pokes don't win the ground war. See if Romo can beat you downfield...but don't give him the chance. The pass rush has to be better against Dallas if they want to win.
I know...I'm Captain Obvious.
Hey, the Bears are 1-0. Celebrate.