NOTE: I hear your complaints on the game thread and comments section in general. I'm working to remedy the awfulness. Unfortunately re-launching the site rogue is a time-consuming endeavor. We've begun that process but in the meantime I am working to make the experience below better.
There are many blossoming themes from Sunday's thrilling Bears victory but I'll be using this space to discuss the particulars of the game. I almost went to the notebook during a game for the first time in my life because there was literally something interesting happening every play.
Here are many of them.
- My favorite moment of the game was one of its final moments. As Rey Maualuga was committing an idiotic personal foul on Jordan Mills, Jay Cutler burst in and made sure the rookie right tackle did not retaliate once the flag was in the air. It was the most visible on-field leadership he's shown as a Chicago Bear.
- Tim Jennings played poorly almost all afternoon but his forced fumble/recovery on Mohamed Sanu was the most important play of the game. Weren't we all told the Bears wouldn't be able to force turnovers anymore because Lovie Smith left town?
- Whatever the "game plan" was to defend A.J. Green, it should be thrown in the trash. There are a handful of receivers in this game that require double teams and Green is one of them. Tillman and Jennings are fine corners but there isn't a corner in the game capable of winning a one-on-one battle with this kid.
- Now that he's done it in a real game, I'm preparing to take my Kyle Long bow. Long and Jordan Mills both held their own admirably against one of the best defensive fronts in the sport.
- I am all for Cutler spreading the ball around but the Bears offense is at its best when the central figure is Brandon Marshall.
- Magnificent catch by Martellus Bennett on the touchdown...
- ...but too many penalties and a bad drop by the tight end tainted his afternoon.
- James Anderson might have been the best Bears defender yesterday. He was excellent in coverage - especially early in the game.
- Adam Podlesh was the Bears best player in the first half and you could make an argument his punting kept the team close. Nobody has been more critical of Podlesh than myself and he proved me wrong yesterday.
- Where did all this Robbie Gould leg come from?
- In my pre-game analysis, I thought Devin Hester would make a difference. Instead Mike Nugent sent every kickoff into the third row. The NFL got what they wanted: the end of one of the most potentially exciting plays in sports.
- Outside of one play, a Shea McClellin sack, there were no signs of a pass rush for the Bears yesterday. I thought Andrew Whitworth's injury was going to be significant, Jeff? I was dead wrong and the Bears edge was DOA.
- I thought Lance Briggs played nervous. Bad angles, arm tackles...etc.
- Another big play that gets lost in the splashy finish is Matt Forte's eight-yard, bounce it outside gain on fourth-and-one. Not a great debut for Forte in the Trestman offense but he got the yards when he needed them.
- What was that Cutler interception? I have to assume the contact led to the poor throw otherwise he saw a phantom receiver.
- It's only the first week but I expect Forte to be more involved in the passing game moving forward. Yesterday he seemed entrenched in the check down spot in front of the linebackers.
Overall it was a tale of two distinct halves and the Bears coaching staff should be praised for whatever adjustments they made in the locker room. One thing became very clear. As Cutler gets comfortable in this offense, the Bears are going to have a chance to score a ton of points.