Over the past two games, the Chicago Bears have acquired just 165 yards passing, and thrown 6 interceptions, with no passing touchdowns.
Oh yeah, they're also in sole possession of first place in the NFC North, with a solid looking but scarily attained 4-1 record. Welcome to the 2010 NFL Season.
The Bears were able to get exactly what they needed this week. They were in dangerous territory--coming off a big loss, they were on the road against a hungry team. However, they set the tone early, and this game was over in the first quarter.
I will always take a 62 yard return to open a game. Always. D. Manning beasted on the three kickoff returns he got, averaging 44 yards with a long of 62.
Matt Forte turned it on early. Imagine this: getting the ball outside to him quickly on the little flips and tosses works. Running him up the middle doesn't. Wonder if we might see more of those types of plays.
That said, Collins had 16 passing attempts. 4 were interceptions, and 6 were completed. My question? Why did he have 16 attempts? Carolina had not yet proven they could really stop the run.
There was a lot of calling for Collins being benched before the game even started, and he did nothing to prove those folks wrong. He should not have started the second half. Many teams who got his three first quarter interceptions would have turned them, at least, into field goals. I'd look for Hanie to be the 2nd Quarterback for the rest of the season, with Collins behind him.
I mentioned this on the 4th quarter thread under the table, and someone pointed it out in the post game thread, but seriously, why was Jay Cutler's tshirt so ridiculously huge? Did he borrow it from Julius Peppers?
The new right end of the line seemed to perform alright. Perhaps this is the grouping we can push forward with over the next few weeks, so there's some form of cohesion going into the second half of the season.
There was a time, I dunno if you heard about it, that Julius Peppers played for the Panthers. He played inspired ball today, not hitting the sack column, but he got a quarterback hit, and talk about hitting the INT column. Tips it to himself turns around, dives and catches. I'll take that. Additionally he set the stage for...
IZZY! DaHamsta's, I believe, second favorite player blew up today. 3 sacks for 19 yards, FF. Part of the point of bringing Peppers in was to free up the other end, and that sure worked today.
The Panthers receivers were young, and so was their quarterback. The secondary didn't have too much to contend with today.
However, the ease with which the Panthers ran at first was worrisome. For now, I'm going to pretend the drive was just the Bears "seeing what was up", as it were.
Not to let it go unnoticed--the Panthers punted it nine times. Hester got 3 return attempts. I know you're saying "But Kev, those numbers don't match." To that I say, Hester's influence on punting strategy has obviously returned. The Panthers tried to kick away from him every time, including the one that 23 grabbed from over the sideline and brought back. If he hadn't tried to go cute on the punter, he probably would've had the touchdown.
ROBBIE FREAKIN' GOULD - Yeah, he kicked a career high 53 yard field goal--with a few yards to spare. No big deal, that's just how he rolls.
In short, this was not the prettiest of games, but it was what the Bears needed. A road win that wasn't in danger, and sparks in a few places. Enjoy it today, because tomorrow starts preparation for an up and down Seahawks team that just got a new toy and is coming off the bye week.
Big thing there? Seahawks haven't won a road game. Yet.