Regardless of what the media, Lovie Haters and Lions fans say about Sunday’s nail-biting Bears victory – a win is a win. Let the record show the Bears are 1 and O, tied with the Packers for first place in the NFC North.
While it wasn’t pretty, Sunday’s 19-14 win gave Bears fans a reason to hope for (moderate) success in 2010. Here are 7 things Grabowski’s across the nation should feel good about this week:
1. An offense in attack mode. Think Ron Turner would’ve called the RB fly route on third and short that ended up being the game-winner? The Bears racked up 463 yards in Martz’s play-calling debut. The last time the Bears O was that prolific? 1997 in an overtime game vs. the Dolphins.
2. Julius Peppers. Peppers had a sack and a forced turnover in his first game as a Bear. That means in the 4 games he’s suited up in the orange and blue, he’s had a sack in all but one. If he’s not careful, Bears fans will expect #90 to make a run at the NFL sack record…
3. Rejuvenated Matt Forte. Number 22 matched his 89-yard TD run in the preseason vs. the Raiders with a momentum-changing 89-yard screen pass for a TD late in the 1sthalf. While his running numbers were pedestrian (17 carries for 50 yards), Martz took full advantage of Forte’s receiving skills in the passing game.
4. ‘Old man’ Urlacher still has some gas in the tank. The Captain made a few open field tackles we haven’t seen around here since 2008 – the last time he played at home. With Urlacher manning the middle and running mate Briggs loose on the outside, the defense looked dangerous once again.
5. Devin Aromashodu will be Jay Cutler’s lifeline. DA’s stats weren’t eye-popping (5 catches, 71 yards), but he kept drives alive and was targeted by Cutler 10 times. While Knox and Hester are bigger big-play threats, Aromashodu looked like he could be Cutler’s go-to guy in crunch time. Speaking of Cutler…
6. Assuming he can remain upright, Jay will put up huge numbers in this offense. Cutlers 372 yards, 2 TDs and 108 QB rating have to be tempered because he was playing the Lions, who gave up the most yards in the league last year. But Cutler was sharp on touch passes, short throws and deep balls (i.e. the bomb to DA on the first drive that should’ve been a TD). And instead of forcing throws that weren’t there, he used his feet to bail himself out of trouble.
7. A stout run defense. Dangerous rookie runner Javhid Best was stifled (20 yards on 14 carries). The Lions never got their ground game going. If the Bears can keep teams one dimensional, Peppers, Anderson and Harris can pin their ears back and get after the opposing QB.