The 2010 Chicago Bears announced their presence to the NFL yesterday afternoon by soundly defeating the overhyped and overmatched Philadelphia Eagles. Here are my thoughts.
- Nobody has been more critical of the man than me but Lovie Smith is my NFL Coach of the Year right now. His turning around this team coming off the bye week is the masterstroke of a wonderful football coach. And it's borderline shocking. Lovie now embarks on the hardest stretch of his career and I'm damn rooting hard for him.
- Jay Cutler didn't just play a brilliant football game yesterday. He also looked like a leader of men and he rightfully went to the mattress for Matt Forte after Forte was shoved to the ground on a throw that would have basically ended the game. His smiling on the bench afterwards was pretty terrific too.
- Just because it wasn't intercepted doesn't excuse Cutler's crazy slant toss late to Hester.
- The better running quarterback yesterday was Cutler.
- And Matt Forte was the old Matt Forte.
- My only Lovie knock. I still don't understand the rotating players thing. As soon as Forte got hot, Chester Taylor came in. Devin Hester looks ready to break one and Danieal Manning comes in. It just seems like a prearranged plan that takes for granted the flow of the game. These guys can be productive but it just doesn't add up. That's the definition of a nitpick.
- I can't think of a better performance by the defensive line as a hole and it is now apparent that Israel Idonije has fully developed into one hell of a defensive end. The Julius Peppers signing alone might keep Jerry Angelo running the show. (Pepper is the best free agent signing in Bears history.)
- So what did Corey Graham do? I still don't get it.
- My God is Devin Hester something with the ball in his hands.
- The offensive line still needs work but it may be time for the Bears to take the seven-step drop pages from the playbook and toss them into the fire. Cutler got sacked on the occasional missed blitz pickup but he was a dead duck on the deep drops. We have the receiving corps for the short crosses and quick outs. Stick with them.
- Brad Maynard punted much better but our punt coverage looked a bit lost. I realized why. Maynard has been dribbling crappy punts up the field for weeks and they forgot how to do it.
- When Tommie Harris contributes, the Bears are simply a better team. It was good to see him contribute yesterday.
- Earl Bennett. Johnny Knox. Impressive.
- I'm getting eerily close to the conclusion that Chris Williams just stinks.
- I came to that conclusion with Frank Omiyale weeks ago.
- And yet the Bears are still scoring points, moving the ball and winning with the worst left-side of an offensive line in the NFL. Coaches. Has to be the coaches.
- I wonder how good this offense will be if we get Martz a couple perimeter blockers.
- Terrific defensive gameplan from Rod Marinelli and wonderful discipline from our safeties...again. These guys have been the most surprising unit on the team and I was sure they'd get beaten deep a few times yesterday. The coaches and players did not allow it.
First place. All by our lonesome. In December. And a contender. Bring on the Lions.