“Win the games you are supposed to win”.
That’s an age old quote that can be applied to any team in any sport. If you win the games you’re supposed to win, the path for your championship run becomes a whole lot easier. On Sunday, the Bears did what they were supposed to do. They beat a Colts team that finished 2-15 last season, and came into the game with a rookie quarterback.
While it began as a rough start, the Bears led by Jay Cutler, turned it around and cruised to a 41-21 victory over the Colts. The Bears flashed an offense that fans have been waiting years for, showing off their prized off-season pick-up Brandon Marshall who Cutler targeted 15 times. The Bears offense flowed on all cylinders, and even the offensive line didn’t look bad.
Here’s the week 1 grades for the Chicago Bears
Cutler started off shaky with a early pick-six. After a bad first quarter, the quarterback flashed his strong arm hitting former Bronco teammate Brandon Marshall for a early touchdown. He also connected with rookie Alshon Jeffery on a deep pass over the middle for a touchdown that all but put the game away. Cutler settled down and looked great.
Running backs: A
The Bears might have one of the best running back handcuffs in the NFL. Matt Forte set up the Bears first scoring drive early on which led to Michael Bush’s first of two touchdowns in game. Forte finished with 80 yards rushing and added 40 receiving yards on four receptions.
Enjoy this Chicago, because you finally have a solid receiving core at your helm. Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler gained some of the magic back they had with Denver connecting on a second quarter touchdown as Marshall finished with 9 receptions for 119 yards on the game. Rookie Alshon Jeffery made a impact late in the game hauling in a 42 yard touchdown pass from Cutler. Marshall and Jeffery both give Cutler a big physical target, something that could be scary for opposing defenses. While Earl Bennett didn’t have a standout game, 3 receptions for 50 yards, he continues to make an impact.
Offensive line: B-
This is easily the biggest question mark for the Bears offense this season. We’ve seen Cutler get pounded over the years by this offensive line, and starting the game Sunday it looked to be the same old song and dance for Chicago. A sack on the first play followed by a false start had Bears fans worried early on. The offensive line righted the ship and only allowed one more sack the rest of the game. It still remains a question mark leading up to a huge test in Green Bay.
Defensive line: B
The defensive line could be a huge key to the Bears success this season. Although Julius Peppers didn’t light up the stat sheet, his presence was still felt against the Colts. Henry Melton showed up and recorded 2 sacks on Andrew Luck, and Corey Wooten finished with one sack and a forced fumble. Can they continue their strong play into week 2?
Brian Urlachers health remains a concern in Chicago as the linebacker rested in the second half. Losing him would be a big blow to the Bears defense this season. None of the linebackers had stand out games, but it wasn’t a bad game for either of them. If Urlacher can’t produce at 100%, the Bears will look to Lance Briggs to be a leader on defense.
Tim Jennings had an outstanding game for the Bears as he recorded 2 interceptions and a tipped pass that led to a Chris Conte interception. As Tillman left the game in the first quarter, Jennings stepped up. Veteran Kelvin Hayden also played a key role as he recovered a fumble on special teams and had the games biggest hit on defense. Chris Conte also contributed with a solid game, recording an interception.
Special Teams: A
The Bears special teams was excellent again yesterday. They didn’t record any touchdowns, but a forced fumble that led to Bears points was good enough. Robbie Gould was solid again, connecting on both of his field goal attempts and all of his extra points.
The Bears coaching staff put together a solid game plan, and it was executed well. A debatable challenge from Lovie in the fourth quarter was the only question mark.