The Bears lost yesterday without their two best players on the field...and that's okay.
Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall.
For only the second time this season the Bears defense was the problem. For the first time this year, the offense seemingly wasn't.
The defense couldn't get off the field on third downs, especially late in the game. They were getting torched by a rookie quarterback (albeit, a darn good one) and two mediocre wide receivers. Marshawn Lynch looked like "Beast Mode" and not the guy who had only 86 total rushing yards and a 2.82 YPC in his previous two games against Chicago.
At one point in the third or fourth quarter, a graphic flashed on the screen that said Seattle had only converted 35% of their third downs in the game. They went on to finish with 53% of them converted.
By the beginning of overtime, the defense was gassed. That isn't what was so upsetting about the loss, at least to me. I understand it, I get that in overtime we were just flat out beat. That happens in the NFL. The defense couldn't keep up anymore.
Seattle had back-to-back 12-play 80-plus yard drives. That kills a defense. The Bears had the ball for 24 seconds at the end of the fourth quarter and were able to get 58 yards and a field goal to force the extra period.
Which brings me to the crux of this article.
The hardest part for me to take from the loss was that we got robbed of a chance to see Cutler and Marshall on the field one last time.
They are the most dynamic duo in the league. Marshall is averaging 7.6 catches and 98.5 yards per game. He and Cutler clearly have a rapport that ranks among the greats; Rice and Young, Manning and Harrison, Brady and Welker. They feed off one another, they know what each is thinking, they just click. It's special to watch.
Cutler even said after the game, that on that last desperation drive in the fourth quarter, he didn't even call a specific route for Marshall.
With the Bears trailing 17-14 on their own 14-yard line and 20 seconds remaining, Bears quarterback Jay Cutler turned to his star receiver and delivered a quick message.
"I told Brandon to run as far as he could down there, and I’ll throw it to you and you make a play," Cutler said.
That's trust. And what's more, is it wasn't even stupid.
There have been times where Cutler has been questioned if he is forcing the ball too much to Marshall. The answer Sunday was "certainly not." Not when the next three receivers on the depth chart were all out, not when Marshall was helping his QB by taking penalties to assure that Cutler didn't throw a pick.
There is no question that the Bears are a better team with Cutler than without. The record shows it. But with both Cutler and Marshall, I feel a certain confidence comes to me, as a fan. It feels like no matter what's happening there are always going to be big plays from those two.
it happened continually yesterday and I honestly felt like if the defense could have held Seattle to a field goal in overtime, we would have seen it again.
Seattle's best strategy yesterday, in overtime, was not letting Cutler and Marshall see the field again.