Sure, Sunday’s season-opening victory over the Cincinnati Bengals only counts as one win, but new Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman showed a lot in a slim win over a good team.
Yes; the defense showed the same ability to get burned. The Bears allowed a touchdown, capping-off a nine-play 97-yard Cincinnati drive over four minutes and seventeen seconds in the first quarter. In the third, the Bengals ate-up over seven minutes of game time during a 12-play, 80-yard drive also ending in a touchdown. This is rather alarming, even considering the explosive A.J. Green.
Likewise, the use of timeouts at the line of scrimmage were disconcerting, and all-too familiar. The offense started rather slow, and the Benglas penalty-inducing antics near the end of of the game certainly helped the Bears, but the positives surely out-weighed the negatives on Sunday.
Trestman did things different with the offense, and those adjustments equated to a victory.
Matt Forte was thrown to and was allowed goal-line and short-yardage opportunities. The Bears, for the first time in recent memory, looked disciplined on the offensive line, and Jay Cutler was hardly touched when compared to games passed. Cutler was also allowed, and seemingly encouraged, to audible at the line of scrimmage. Martellus Bennett scored a touchdown, cathching a pass that no Bears tight end since… maybe ever (save for the glorious Ditka, of course), would have caught.
The team as a whole did a spectacular job minimizing penalties, which by itself should be an extremely encouraging and refreshing sign for fans. Trestman made halftime adjustments- something also oft-missed throughout the Lovie-era- and opened up the playbook in the second half. Even the defense, which tackled poorly while appearing a step slow, showed the same ability to force timely turnovers.
These details added up to a second-half comeback, and a season-opening victory for the Bears. There is work to be done, but when facing a strong opponent with a rookie headcoach on opening-Sunday, walking away with a victory is always a good thing.
The key is that some of the issues Trestman was brought here to fix already look to be improved. In game one, for a new coaching staff, that is a good sign. The offense does not yet look amazing, and the defense will need to be stronger, but in Marc Trestman’s first game as head coach of the Chicago Bears, the offense came back and won a game. Considering the drastic absence of such things in Bears history, Sunday’s win is not insignificant.
The team has provided itself and fans with a fun, exciting start to the season. A long season lies ahead, but fifteen more games like Sunday’s would be just fine with me.