The Bears got back in the win column Sunday with their usual formula; stifling defense, turnovers, special teams and short fields. However, they also used a simple game plan to get it done.
I had a photography professor in college who taught the K.I.S.S. method for photography: Keep It Simple Stupid.
Now the K.I.S.S. method can be applied to just about anything, not just advanced photography lighting and illustration. That includes its application to the Chicago Bears' offense. After last Monday's meltdown in San Francisco, it was nice to see the Bears coaches, especially Mike Tice, use it so effectively yesterday.
I listened to the game on the radio as I drove back to Indiana from northern Wisconsin, so I can't speak to the "eye test" but I liked what I heard on the radio.
The offense got back to its basics; running the ball and shorter, quick passes and setting up their shots logically.
In total the Bears threw the ball 31 times and ran it 38 times (taking out Cutler's kneel in the 4th). What's more, is that it was that balanced beginning to end.
The game started sloppily enough, with the Bears fumbling on their first offensive play and then Cutler being "sacked" after losing a round of footsie with Roberto Garza.
Things appeared to get worse as the team's bad offensive line got hit with injuries. After Lance Louis went down, I thought Chilo Rachal was going to come out in street clothes and starting throwing blocks.
The line managed to hold it together and they put together two drives over 10 plays without the aid of a turnover to jump out to a 18-3 lead.
The first drive, starting at 5:45 of the first quarter: four run plays, four pass plays. That is assuming that the one Jay Cutler scramble was a called pass play.
That drive lasted 10 plays and 5:13 on the game clock and ended with a Robbie Gould field goal.
The second drive began at their own 20 yard line with 12:00 on the clock. It consisted of nine runs and six pass plays.
Tice and Co. got back to the bread and butter: using a power run game and a short pass game. Despite Brandon Marshall receiving 17 of the team's targets (according to the ESPN box score) and getting 12 receptions, the Bears got plenty of their other guys involved in the game.
Earl Bennett had four targets (and four receptions) the tight ends got targets; one each for Evan Rodriguez (and his first career reception) and Matt Spaeth and four targets (but only one catch) from Kellen Davis. Eric Weems got his first catch of the year.
The running backs only had three catches total but they didn't need to be checked down to constantly.
Overall the numbers were pretty pedestrian: Cutler had 188 yards, Bush and Forte combined for 102 yards and a 2.9 yards per carry average and Brandon Marshall averaged only 7.7 yards per catch. The longest play of the game for the team was 20 yards. The longest run of the day was eight yards. But the Bears won the game, which is all that matters.
They owned the time of possession: 37:10 to 22:30.
Despite the lackluster numbers, this is a very encouraging game for the Bears' offense. They did not abandon the run, they did not force it down field. They used short passes to keep Cutler accurate (have we ever seen him that accurate?! 74.2% completion) and rode long drives and their usual defensive output to a big win.
The Bears offense is still frustrating but this was an encouraging game for them and they beat the Vikings using the Vikings' own method.
Keeping it simple. Who would have thought it'd be that easy?