Laurence W. Holmes-
(CBS) Time offers the opportunity for perspective, so I thought it would be a good idea to wait each week to give my thoughts on the Bears game.
The idea being that 24 hours allows for me to watch the game over and talk to a few more people.
WHAT I SAW:
This was a tremendous way to start the Marc Trestman era. For most of the game, the Bears were outplayed. Cincinnati had an 11-point lead halfway through the third quarter and A.J. Green looked unstoppable, but the Bears rallied and played smart, confident football to come back and win.
Jay Cutler played a strong second half. He completed 79% of his passes (11-of-14) and threw for 172 yards, with a touchdown. He did have an interception, but still ending up with a 111.9 passer rating for the half. Toward the end of the game, he made great throws, including the bullet to Brandon Marshall for the win.
Part of the reason that Cutler was so effective was because he was kept “clean.” He wasn’t sacked in the game. Believe it or not, the Bears O-line kept him clean against Seattle last year, but when you add in the fact that on Sunday, there were no pre-snap penalties, it’s an impressive showing for the protection.
The defense had some issues. There were some communication breakdowns in the back-4 that allowed Green to get loose. He was phenomenal. Green was targeted 13 times. He caught nine passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns. He also drew a 34-yard pass interference penalty that set up a touchdown. The Bears struggled to deal with him and it wasn’t all the secondary’s fault.
There was little push from the defensive line. Julius Peppers’ name didn’t appear on the stat sheet. For most of the game, Andy Dalton had a clean pocket. I was impressed with Stephen Paea who had six tackles and beat a double-team, to free up Shea McClellin for the game’s lone sack. James Anderson played very well in pass coverage.
WHAT I HEARD
“He made a great kick and certainly a significant play in the game.” – Trestman on Robbie Gould’s 58-yard FG
The significance of that kick shouldn’t be lost. This game was heading down a bad road for the Bears, and Gould was able to let the team leave for halftime, with some confidence. We all remember the young, free-agent kicker, who came in and had problems kicking from distance, but that’s not Gould’s player profile anymore.
From 50 yards or more, Gould is 14-of-18. He ranks in the top 3 in NFL history with 10 or more FG from 50+. The 58-yarder beats his own record. It’s possible that Gould will have more FGs and points than Kevin Butler when his career is over.
“Unfortunately, we had a lot of guys lose composure today.” – Marvin Lewis
Let’s be real, the Bengals played dumb football yesterday. They gave the Bears an opportunity and they took the game away. Cincinnati had eight penalties for 84 yards. They repeatedly instigated scuffles and were caught retaliating.
If you want to know what Eric Weem’s value is on special teams, it was on display yesterday. The Bengals had control of the game and had the Bears buried on a punt at the end of the second quarter. At the end of the play, Weems baited Dre Kirkpatrick into a personal foul. The penalty flipped position and put the Bears in Bengals territory with 42 seconds left in the half. It gave the Bears a chance at the long field goal.
“How about that role reversal?” – Brandon Marshall
Usually, it’s Tim Jennings getting the interceptions and Charles Tillman with the forced fumbles. On Sunday, they flipped it. Tillman had two interceptions and Jennings got two forced fumbles. Jennings has never gotten two in a game before. He also had a fumble recovery.
“Ballsy play-calling” – Jay Cutler
Trestman didn’t hesitate when the Bears were presented with a fouth-and-1 call with the game on the line. He called a run to the right side. The play-calling was “ballsy”, but Matt Forte’s vision, speed and decision-making made the play. The play was meant to go up the middle, but it was bottled up. He bounced that play outside and gained eight yards. The next play was Cutler hitting Brandon Marshall for a 19-yard touchdown.
WHAT I WAS TOLD:
“…They don’t account for the quarterback.” – Jay Cutler
Last year, teams tried to stop Brandon Marshall with “2-Man” defense. Man defense underneath, with safety help over the top. It bothered Cutler and Marshall. One of the ways to force a team out of that coverage is for the quarterback to take off. He’s unaccounted for. Cutler made some great plays with his feet on Sunday. His 18 yard scramble on second-and-20, was a HUGE play. Part of the reason that he didn’t get sacked Sunday was his athleticism. He stretched plays and showed why his impov skills are so intoxicating.
“(I’m OK), just tired.” – Charles Tillman
TIllman missed some plays because of dehydration. It was muggy on the lakefront Sunday and his return of the first interception (that was called down by contact), didn’t help. You add in chasing A.J. Green around all day and it makes sense. Tillman was seen heaving on the sidelines, getting fluids and oxygen. He still ended the game moving up on the Bears all-time list for interceptions. Tillman owns the record for interception by a Bears cornerback (35). The overall record is owned by Gary Fencik (38).
“Sundays are for players. Sunday is the players’ day to celebrate the privilege of playing in the National Football League “ -Marc Trestman
I wanted to know, what getting his first NFL win meant to him, but he wanted to put the spotlight back on his players. The team gave him a “game-ball” for the win.
For more Bears information, follow Laurence on Twitter @LaurenceWHolmes.