The Bears offense has sputtered on and off this season, but they don't need to be a top offense for the Bears to succeed.
One thing the Bears have shown this season is a defense that continues to top the league in ballhawking, limiting the opponent's points and even adding some of their own. You know, something most would say is a "really good defense." One that, you could continue to say, is the reason the Bears have continued the five-game winning streak they currently enjoy, with their six interception returns for touchdowns.
So while I might lead the charge in the post-game Notes, Scribbles and Things Jotted Down when it comes to pointing out errors, mistakes in execution, and just all-around "WTF-ness" of the Bears' offense sometimes, I'm not necessarily panicking either when the Bears fail to throw up thirty points offensively.
Dave Gilbert posted earlier this week that the Bears need to start "winning prettier," that these wins like the team eked out against Carolina (requiring a fourth-quarter interception return for a touchdown, touchdown pass to Kellen Davis, and a game-winning field goal by Robbie Gould), against a better team would almost certainly be a loss with that kind of bad play. While I may have written in the comments (half-jokingly, I might add) that Gilbert is the Davey Downer of our little WCG Writers' Cadre, he certainly does have a point (and one that, as the Notes guy, I can attest) that the team has plenty of problems that would make the offense run a lot smoother.
Of course we'd prefer total domination on both sides of the ball, a shut-out by the defense and a 41-point arse-whipping by the offense (and while we're being greedy, a couple Hester punt return touchdowns for a little spice), but in the NFL, those games are, well, non-existent (although, hell, that would certainly be pretty to watch; plus it might make Les' day not having to do a six-sack Sack Watch).
But it's games like the one against Carolina that make us appreciate those days when things seem to work out, with the defense holding Carolina to field goals instead of touchdowns and even putting up a touchdown themselves. The Bears' offense that day wasn't great, no. But if someone had told you pregame the Bears would have had to score 17 points on offense to win - well, they got exactly that.
Adding Brandon Marshall was supposed to improve the offense from "middlingly-mediocre" to "world-beater." Yet, do the Bears win against Carolina without him? How did you feel about the Lions' Monday-nighter scoring only 13 points in a defense-dominated win? It might be a little "2005-2006 Approach"-ish, but with a defense playing as well as it has been, it reduces the amount that the team depends on the offense.
There's three ways to look at the offense and defense interaction. One, the offense puts up points and the defense has to hold the other team below that mark. Two, the defense holds the other team to points and the offense has to beat that mark. And of course, three, it's an ever-evolving formula as the game goes on (but since that's a little more unpredictable, focus on the first two). The Bears' defense through 7 games has allowed 100 points total (93 without the Indianapolis touchdown back in week 1). That's a defense allowing 13.2 points per game, including three times of single digits. With that kind of defensive production, you can win a game even without the offense clicking on all cylinders. So while the Bears offense isn't hanging 30 points on other teams by themselves, asking 14 points of them should be doable.
The upcoming schedule is certainly a concern, no doubt about it - but those worries are more on the offensive side of the ball for the Bears; there's not too many fierce offenses to worry about in the upcoming games.
The Bears' offense has plenty to fix. But if the defense keeps going, if the offense just keeps up with them, I don't think too many of us would complain. Pretty or not. Get what you need, get the win.