Bears Advance to 11-4, Win Shoot Out Over the Jets 34-38

Knox catches one of two TD's over Antonio Cromartie

The New York Jets faced off against the Chicago Bears Sunday at Soldier Field for what many thought would be a defensive struggle. A game in which the elements would ground both of the offenses.

A combined 72 points later, the Bears emerged victorious winning 38-34, keeping their hopes for a first-round playoff bye alive.

While the defense struggled, the offense sizzled.  Jay Cutler completed 13 passes for 215 yards with three touchdowns.  Receivers Johnny Knox and Devin Hester continue to show improvement with Knox  snagging two touchdowns, including one for 40 yards and Hester taking a third to the end zone.

Matt Forte had a great game churning out 113 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown.  The offensive line created running lanes and gave Jay Cutler ample time to fire the ball down field. An impressive note while watching the game was Forte’s ability to get past the first line of defense by the Jets. Several plays should have resulted in a loss of yardage yet Forte was able to get positive yardage.

The Bears struggled on the other side of the ball.  Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has struggled as of late, went 24/37 for 269 yards and a touchdown.  Running backs Greene and Tomlinson combined for 98 yards with each scoring a touchdown. The only thing we heard about all week leading up to the game was Sanchez’s injured throwing shoulder, it didn’t appear to limit him at all.

The ease at which the Jets moved the ball may serve as a cause for alarm.  Rex Ryan employed the same strategy the Patriots used against the Bears, and it works.  By using quick slants and hitting zones in the middle of the field, the Jets at one point led the game by a score of 21-10. 7 of those points attributed to an interception returned for a touchdown thrown by Jay Cutler.

Despite a great day, that was Cutler’s glaring mistake. The early 10 to nothing lead quickly evaporated to a 14-10 deficit.

To the Bears’ credit, they made adjustments at halftime on both offense and defense that seemed to remedy the problem.

Perhaps the most important play of the game came in the second quarter when the Jets lined up to punt.  Mark Sanchez remained on the field and the Bears quickly recognized a fake.  Rashied Davis broke up the play, which was a huge swing in momentum.

The Jets turned the ball over on downs giving the Bears possession at the Jets’ 40-yard line.  The next play, Jay Cutler fired a 40-yard pass to Johnny Knox.

Next week, the Bears wrap up the regular season in Lambeau Field against a desperate Green Bay Packer team.  The Packers are a dangerous team and the Bears have a chance to send the Packers, well… packing.

If the Bears fail to to achieve victory, it is likely the Bears will face them in the first round of the playoffs.  The Bears must take this opportunity to knock the Pack out.

-Brian Marchetti

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