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Bears Vs. Bengals: Notes, Scribbles, and Things Jotted Down

We're going over some of our thoughts and notes from yesterday's victory against the Bengals.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
  • First off, so, A.J. Green is pretty damn good. I don't think he's quite the athlete Calvin Johnson is, which makes Johnson so dangerous, but Green's a savvy receiver that knows how to play some football. He was doing some dangerous things to the Bears in the first half, and I'm glad the Bengals stopped going to him when they did. The Bears just didn't have much of an answer for Green and Charles Tillman had a hard time keeping up with him.
  • Speaking of, if there was ever a bad two-interception game, Charles Tillman had one. His first interception was a good one, but he was badly beat on the second and only picked it up because Green couldn't hold on. Green walled him off on his forty-yard catch down to the four yard line, then just slapped him to the side to get open on his touchdown catch.
  • Charles Tillman getting interceptions and Tim Jennings forcing fumbles? What is this, role reversal day?
  • The offensive line had some good things happen today, especially in the second half, but however bad things looked in the first half (and at times they looked bad), keep in mind the vaunted pass rush of the Bengals, for all their pressures, couldn't bring down Jay Cutler for a sack. Geno Atkins was held without a tackle, even.
  • And speaking of pass rush, it's amazing how good an offensive line looks when the ball's out of the quarterback's hand in two seconds.
  • Questions asked in my living room: "Is Julius Peppers playing today?" "Allegedly."
  • As rough as the offense looked in the first half, they looked that good in the second half aside from the interception. The offense was pretty conservative in the first half and didn't look good on the stat sheet, but the Bears had some plays open up downfield and took advantage later.
  • The play that seemed to break things wide open for the Bears was Cutler's escape on third and seven. The Bengals broke a rare moment of containment and Cutler sneaked through it before lobbing the ball to a wide-open Martellus Bennett, who rumbled for thirty yards. Overpursuit in pass-rush might have worked in the past, but that play backfired on the Bengals completely.
  • Good to see the first quarter timeouts are still here, eh?
  • Leave it to the Bears defense to wake up when they have to, and Tim Jennings turned in his second forced fumble, one that was actually recovered instead of kicked out of bounds. Shades of forcing a fumble in the waning moments against the Packers in 2010, perhaps?
  • Stephen Paea was the one guy in the Bears' defensive line rotation that got any penetration consistently. Yet, Shea McClellin picked up the game's lone sack. On that play, Paea was rumbling with the ball for a touchdown before the play was whistled dead for stopped forward progress. Solid game by Paea.
  • Martellus Bennett had two bad holding calls on run plays in the middle - yet of course he makes a key reception for a first down to compensate, as well as catching the first touchdown of the season for the Bears.
  • Matt Slauson had the offensive line's first penalty. Did anybody else immediately have a gut check at that time?
  • Forte had four receptions for 41 yards - if you listened to the pregame stream (/plug), Sam and I were both over in our predictions. Forte had 6 targets, though.
  • Brandon Marshall had eight receptions on ten targets for 104 yards. Nobody else on the team broke 50 (Alshon Jeffery had 42 yards, Martellus Bennett had 49).
  • On Jay Cutler's interception: Someone may have missed an assignment. Jay also could have realized nobody around, period, means nobody in a Bears uniform is going to catch that ball. Cutler said he was meaning to throw it to Bennett, but because of the pressure he had to get rid of it. So, he made a bad throw.
  • But as easily as Cutler hit Vontaze Burfict in stride, man it looks pretty when he hits Brandon Marshall in stride down the field.
  • The Bengals had 8 penalties for 84 yards. There's a certain penalty that went for 15 yards and a guaranteed first down. I think the Bengals' coaches are going to be pretty livid for a couple days on that particular penalty. There's never an excuse for committing a personal foul, unnecessary roughness penalty that can give the other team the game. Especially when they had just held the Bears to a fourth down and would get the ball back otherwise. Thanks, Ray Maualuga. The Bears may well have gone on to win the game anyway, but that penalty completely took away any chance of the Bengals coming back.
  • Going back to the offensive line really quickly, Kyle Long and Jordan Mills impressed me. They had their early hiccups, but they still kept a decent pocket for Cutler.
  • But I'm not sure Michael Bush should try to handle Carlos Dunlap anymore. Just a hunch. Dunlap had himself a high-pressure game.
  • I really don't want to see Jennings try to cover Green again. Just sayin'.
  • I'm not sure how to feel about the Mel Tucker defense. 21 points is quite a bit; on the other hand, the defense was only really gashed by Green. And either way, it only goes to show a defense can only be as good as the defensive line that drives it.
  • First down plays will set the tempo for a drive. Without Shea McClellin's sack, the Bears might not force second and long to get to third and long, to get the ball back to run down the clock
  • The Bengals' three touchdown drives went for 97 yards, 91 yards and 80 yards. The next two longest drives ended in turnovers (42 and 21 yards).
  • Prior to the Bears' 9 play 80 yard drive for a touchdown, the Bears went 10 plays for 11 yards, two punts and a field goal.
  • Robbie Gould set a Bears' franchise and Soldier Field field goal record. In other words, just another NFL Sunday. 58 yards that might have been good from 62 or so. I did get a little worried when the right side of the formation crumbled.
  • It was funny watching another team have massive timeout problems in the second half - no timeouts left really hurt the Bengals' ability to control the clock in the end of the game. It was also funny to watch the Bengals get caught with 10 men and call a timeout, then have twelve men on the next play. The Bengals aren't a bad team, but they have to get that discipline under control. They could do some damage once they get that down.
  • The Bears' offense had a 2.9 yards-per-carry on the game. Yet the biggest rushing play on the game was an 8-yard bounce to the outside on fourth and one. Cutler actually had the longest run of the game, an 18-yard run on second and 22.

All in all, a pretty fun win, especially because now we know what it feels like to actually have a semblance of an offense. Now, to just do better next week against Minnesota.