What the hell was that? That’s the only thing I am left to ask myself after the Bears took down the Packers 20-17 at Soldier Field in one of the strangest games I have ever watched. Jay Cutler was picked just once, though I swear I saw four or five. Did anyone run the ball besides the quarterbacks? How do you judge how bad an offensive line is? Is it by the number of QB hits they allow or the number of times they are flagged for holding? Do we need to see another 4th and goal from the one this season? Is Julius Peppers all by himself on the defensive line?
Didn’t it seem like the Packers were on pace to score 30-40 points after that first drive? Do you heart Jermichael Finley as much as I do? Didn’t it seem like the Bears were never going to get the ball in the second half? I thought the Packers were the ones who were supposed to ready for prime time?
These are some of the questions I have this morning, a morning on which the Chicago Bears are the last of the NFC’s unbeaten teams. One more: Who would’ve thunk it? The Bears appear to be a team that when they give Jay Cutler time, can do some serious work on offense. They appear to be a team that can improvise when they don’t give him time. They appear to be a team that might once again be dangerous on special teams; a team that plays a maddening style of defense that has fans screaming for relief from the Cover-2, until it fails to give up points; a team that has a stud defensive end that may not show up in the box score, but has a biggest of effects on the game.
This is your 2010 Chicago Bears.
I’m sure there are many Packer faithful waking up this morning feeling slighted. Feeling as if the referees took a win from them. The reality of the situation is that Packers had every chance to win this game, but the Bears, the fans and the Packers themselves took it away. The Packers 18 penalties were a franchise record, and they came in all forms, from holding to pass interference to roughing the passer to unnecessary roughness, if the NFL has a penalty in the books, they were flagged for it.
Julius Peppers wreaked havoc in this game. The Packers made some attempts to single cover him, but it only resulted in holding penalties, one that negated a touchdown. The fans created so much noise in the end zone prior to the Devin Hester punt return that Packers were flagged multiple times for false starts inside their own one. On the final pass play of the game, Cutler did his best Brett Favre impersonation and heaved it into the air down field; the result was a pass interference penalty on rookie Morgan Burnett that eventually led to the game winning field goal.
Monday Night games have to be tough, especially when they are between such heated rivals (Bears fans we are still not Minnesota to Packer fans) who are both undefeated and fighting for a division lead. Last night’s game came down to who was more composed, and clearly that was the Bears. I don’t know if they are the better team, because from what I saw last night, the Packers have the ability to move the ball at will and their defense can bring the pressure as good as anyone.
The Bears on the other hand needed all of Peppers in this one. While Mark Anderson was able to get some push, it often looked like the Bears were playing with one defensive lineman. On offense the Bears showed once again that they can move the ball. Cutler became the first quarterback in the Packers first three games to top the 200-yard passing mark. Clay Matthews didn’t get to him once and the line held up as good as they could be expected to.
This offense will get better as the weeks go on, as timing develops between Cutler and his receivers, and the Bears are set with four very winnable games on the upcoming schedule. If the defense continues to make teams go on extended drives like they did with the Packers last night, opponents will make make mistakes, even if guys like Rodgers won’t. That is the defensive philosophy of this team, and as hard as it can be to watch sometimes, it works when all the right parts are healthy.
Up next is the New York Giants on Sunday night, followed by Carolina, Seattle at home and Washington at home. Dare I say, we could quite easily be looking at a 6-1 team come the bye week.