Another day, another dollar, and another season where if nothing else we can say we are better than the other team that wishes it could call Illinois its home. In a league now built around parity between teams no win is guaranteed, so even against a terrible Rams team we as fans can enjoy the fact that our losing streak is now broken.
If you think any win is guaranteed in the NFL, just have a talk with the Steelers fans about how that guaranteed W against the Raiders went this week. So in a week that saw the undefeated Saints get pushed to the brink against a hapless Redskins team, let us kick back for a few days and bask in the glow of a much needed win.Now that we all have a fresh reminder of what the letter W actually looks like next to the word Bears, we'll sit down and examine the good things that happened on the field.
C Dub appeared to be a definite improvement at LT, even in his first game, and while we're talking about blocking Kellen Davis has stepped his game up.
Don't get my sunny disposition wrong, I sat down and watched this game looking for a reason to bring down a hate storm upon CDub, but I just couldn't find a reason to. The few times I was ready to throw a tomato in his direction, upon re-watching the tape it wasn't really his fault Cutler got nailed. Take the first quarter on the Hester deep ball, Cutler got squished, but the man that pummeled him was actually being blocked by none other than Greg Olsen.
In fact, the only really bad play I think I saw out of CDub was on a Cutler sack blocking Long solo, and just getting absolutely beat. However, if in his first outing at LT the worst that happened was a single bad play and absolutely zero penalties if my memory serves then I'm feeling good about him getting some playing time and seeing what he has.
Also, on at least three runs that I saw Kellen Davis in on he laid a massive block on all three. I've got to say Kellen Davis continues to impress at his improving blocking game and really makes me feel a lot better about the impending loss of Desmond Clark. Keep an eye on this man, he's really answered the call and solidified his position as the number two TE, and number one blocker.
The Chicago Bears WR corps as whole looked like a strength instead of a weakness.
Getting back to that Hester deep ball in the first quarter, it really showed a lot of what I want to see out of Hester as a number one, and it's something he's shown more than a few times this year. He showed awareness of the ball, awareness of the defenders, used his speed and the threat of his speed to create a window of separation, and finally jumped up and made a sure handed catch in traffic. Does he need to work on his blocking during runs, sure why not. Does he need to get a bit more consistent, no argument from me. However, to continue the litany of the never going to be a number one crowd is to set yourself up to look foolish. If he continues to improve at the rate he has in his first two seasons at wide receiver, you could be looking at a pro bowl WR in 2011.
Fort Knox has shown the same thing he has shown all year, absolute flashes of speed/brilliance that you want to see out of a deep threat, and a gameness that you rarely see in rookie wide receivers, let alone later round picks. The pass interference call in the first quarter was yet another example of a player you usually see coming from a veteran coming from this rookie. Knox fights his way down field against the CB, has his man beat, sees that the ball is going to be short, and creates the contact coming back to the ball against the CB looking the wrong way making it a very easy PI call. I'm impressed more and more by the maturity of this rookie every game.
Earl Bennett is really establishing himself this year as what we always wished Rashied Davis could be, a reliable receiver that's not afraid to go over the middle, can make some good catches, and can get a bit of YAC in a pinch. He needs to protect the ball a bit better, but I'm loving the Vandy connection at #3.
Some of our young DB are starting to show real promise.
Both Kevin Payne and Al Afalava looked pretty good today, with Payne finally showing some improvement in coverage which had been his real Achilles heel. Payne of all people was shown a few times wrapping up the runner from behind instead of just going for the big hit. Afalava had lots of extra effort plays including coming real close to the interception on a Jamar Williams tip in the second quarter. Good heads up play from the rookie. Not too long after that there was a great tackle by Bowman who laid a shoulder directly into the ball and once again Afalava keeps that nose for the live ball and makes a good return.
While the Safety position is still on my wish list, if Payne and Afalava continue to play at the level they did today, and improve the rest of this year and in the off season we might just have found a nice little safety combo already on our team.
Jamar Williams took the opportunity given to him to show he has what it takes to be an eventual starter.
Wow, just wow. If you would have told me that Williams would have exploded like this in what I believe is his second start I would have called you crazy. Coverage, run stopping, you name it, Williams was there. It's really a hell of a compliment when your best LB is out for the game and you don't have a huge talent drop off at the position. Tons of great plays for Jamar all game long including TFL, tipped balls, extremely close to interceptions and more. Just an absolutely fantastic game for Jamar Williams, and so good that it overshadowed what was a fairly good game for Nick Roach as well.
If our top 4 LB go into next year as Briggs, Urlacher, Jamar, and Roach, I'll be a damned happy man.
So did anyone else see a player that impressed them today that I didn't mention, or any stand out plays I didn't call out?