Ok, I'm going to tell you a little story. Stop me when you have heard this one before.
The Bears come out and play some good football.
The special teams and defense are really playing well.
The Bears get out to a big lead.
The Bears go into half time comfortably in the lead with no signs of letting up.
2nd half rolls around and the other team has made adjustments, but seemingly the Bears did not.
Bears give up huge run of unanswered points.
The defense cannot stop anything.
The offense looks JV like.
Stop! You've heard this before? How about I finish the story?
The Bears offense grows a sack and plays like a real offense. The Bears all the sudden have receivers who can catch anything. They move the ball down the field. They should have won outright, but the refs don't blow the whistle when a Saints player mugs Greg Olsen. The Bears settle for the FG and take it into over time. The Bears win the toss. Orton leads the team down field with the Hester assist and the Bears kick a FG for the win.
Ending was a little bit different wasn't it?
Danieal Manning. Mannings returns in the first half won this game. We all know the Bears cannot be counted on to drive long distances. They need the ball on their own 40 to have a decent scoring chance. Manning ran the opening kickoff back for a TD and took another back to about the 50. His performance forced the Saints to resort to squibs and pooch kicks.
Devin Hester, WR. The Bears still need to address wide receiver this off season. Devin Hester is not and may not ever be as good as Boldin or Burress or TJ, but Hester played much like a #1 receiver. Hester could have had 3 TDs this game. He could have had around 170 yards receiving had all three deep balls connected. The first was overthrown, but the second led to a interference call and forced the Saints to change their defense. That is the job of the #1, to make the other team play a way they don't want to. Make them double team you, so it opens up other guys. And when the game was on the line, Hester came through in spades. This time he beat a double team and forced another interference call that setup the winning FG. Hester ended with 4 catches for 46 yards.
Kyle Orton. Orton could just as easily be in both section, but since we got the win and he did have something to do with it, he will get the benefit since I am in a good mood. Orton ended with 170 yards, one rushing TD and 2 INTs. When it mattered most Orton did step up. Most of the passes were short 10-15 yarders, but he still made them.
Bears defensive line. In the end the tally will only show 1 sack, but the Bears defensive line came up big. The Bears got some good pressure on Brees. They were active and took advantage of the Saints replacement left tackle. Anthony Adams had 6 tackles, Ogunleye had 5 and Idonije had 4 tackles. Brown and Ogunleye both had huge plays. Brown got into the backfield a number of times and Wale picked off Brees in what was looking like a sure TD.
They also did a good job against the run. Pierre Thomas did end with 87 yards, but he did not rip off any big runs that really hurt us. Reggie Bush ended with 30 yards.
Coaches. I can't believe I am saying this, but I think they did a good job. The coaching staff was not at fault for Orton's 2 INTs and they weren't at fault for the receivers dropping the ball. Ron Turner called a good game. Hester proved to have a mismatch and Turner took advantage of it. Babich actually tried some different things. I saw some pressure coming from non Bears traditional places. The fake punt took balls. It should have worked, AP just couldn't hold on to the ball.
Greg Olsen. 8 catches for 46 yards and a key play in getting out of bounds.
One minor game ball to Rashied Davis who had his own Vince Papale moment, when he just jumped the kick off and ran clear to cover Reggie Bush on an early kick.
Brian Urlacher. Could the demise of Urlacher be premature? Urlacher looked revived out there. He ended with 10 tackles. He was in the backfield. He actually was wrapping guys up and could have had an INT in there if he wanted to.
Olin Kruetz. Literally. On the wrong goal line Kruetz doesn't know the snap count and surprises Orton and the rest of the Bears team. This led to a Saints TD.
Other wide receivers. If tonight wasn't enough to spotlight the need for the Bears to bring in an actual receiver I don't know what will.
Run Game. I know the Saints were stacking the line to stop Forte and maybe his toe had something to do with this, but this line and Forte should have been able to rack up more than 34 yards.
Devin Hester, Return man. Hester continues to not know what he is doing back there. He is making bad decisions and what is worse he is losing precious field position in the process.
There was a lot to like and a lot to worry about, but the main thing that I take away from this is the QB play. We are quickly falling into a Good Kyle, Bad Kyle scenario. If Orton is going to start throwing bad interceptions, then lets put Rex back in. At least he will connect on the long ball a couple of times.
Orton needs to regain his pre-injury form. He needs to show he is the guy for this team. If he continues this path, he puts the Bears in a bad spot. They have Orton for one more year, they will have to decide to sign him long term, let it ride and hope for the best or bring in yet another QB. None of those is good for us.With this win the Bears stay alive in the playoff race. With a Minnesota lose they move into a tie for first, though they would lose the tie break. The Saints are all but eliminated.