Now that I've come down from the high of the Bears win, some thoughts not completely filled with brimming optimism. The Bears defense only allowed 36 total yards rushing. Good. The same defense also gave up 374 passing yards. Bad. And though
the D held Romo to only 1 TD, how much of that was due to Romo over or under-throwing his target? Consequently, how many of those off-target throws were due to the Bears actually having a consistent pass rush? It's hard to tell which, since Romo can be an erratic QB. Next week it's Aaron Rodgers, who is no slouch. I'm OK with our defense giving up a lot of passing yards as long as they stop the opposition from scoring. If we can hold any team to 1 TD and a few field goals, our offense can and will outscore them.
The offensive line. Ugh. The coaching made up for it though. The adjustments made to the line and passing game knocked the Dallas D off the tracks, and right when they were poised to utterly dominate the line and Cutler. I really like the statement it sends:
"Yes, you might be able to get to our QB more than you should, but if keep coming we'll gash you with quick, short passes that pick up big chunks of YAC because your guys are busy blitzing."
Cutler was damned good in this game. No mental mistakes, and that's amazing for how harassed he was through most of the first quarter. I think he made one bad throw, and was throwing the ball away quickly when nothing amounted or pressure came. It's too early to tell, but I sure as hell hope this side of Cutler is a permanent thing.
The running game was nonexistent again. Forte and Taylor are great receivers, but they need to do something on the ground. Better than 114 yards in two games. I know the blocking is terrible and the passing game is working well so the run hasn't exactly been needed. But even when the Greatest Show on Turf was firing on all cylinders and Kurt Warner was throwing for 4800 yards, Marshall Faulk was able to put up more than 1300 yards. Neither Matt Forte nor Chester Taylor may be equal to Faulk in his prime, but combined they should be able to do something. Right now their averages say they'll end the season with a little over 900 yards rushing. That's not going to cut it if a team wants the playoffs. Defenses will start to respect the Bears passing attack and some will succeed in shutting it down. The run needs to be there.
The true test of where the Bears stand in the NFL comes next Monday night as the Packers are one of the best teams in the league. If we lose but manage to hang and make it a competitive game I'll consider it a win for morale. If we get blown out, it's back to earth we fall. What do you think?