Monday, September 24, 2012

Bears win, but work needs to be done

Source: AP/Pantagraph
Yep, the Bears managed to pull out the 23-6 win over the Rams Sunday at Soldier Field. Obvious to anyone who watched the game, it was ugly in spots, pretty good in others. Let's examine:

The good: That defense, left for dead after the debacle in Green Bay last week, came out in style, holding Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson and the rest of that St. Louis offense to two field goals and only 160 total yards on offense. There was also that brilliant pick-six in the fourth quarter by safety Major Wright off the deflection by teammate Tim Jennings that pretty much sealed the game, and Bradford spent much of the game running for his life, getting sacked four times. Yes, it had what in any other circumstance could be deemed a stupid personal foul penalty on Julius Peppers, but it could be deemed a questionable call by the replacement refs who seem to be getting worse every week (more on them in a moment).

We also had RB Michael Bush, who picked up 55 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries as he filled in for Matt Forte, who sat out with an ankle sprain. No, he's not Forte, but he did the job much more admirably than last year's backup, Marion Barber, whose performance against Denver in December stills haunts this writer. He's a keeper, to say the least.

The bad: That offense. Yes, QB Jay Cutler put up a decent performance, putting up 183 yards passing with only one INT. And yes, he was sacked only twice. But, as Comcast Chicago Kip Lewis put it, it appears that Mike Martz is back coaching the offense. WR Brandon Marshall, who was so dangerous in Week One against the Colts, had five catches, but it looked like he was hardly an option for Cutler most of the game.

The ugly: The officiating by the replacement refs seems to be getting worse every week. The worst example was, outside of that personal foul penalty on Peppers, which hardly looked like anything (despite Fox announcers Jim Nantz's and John Lynch's agreement with them), was after Cutler threw what turned into his lone INT to Rams CB Cortland Finnegan in the first quarter. With some question as to whether Finnegan fumbled at the end of his return, the Bears could have snapped the ball and let play resume. But the refs dawdled on making any call whatsoever before finally allowing Rams coach Jeff Fisher to throw the challenge flag. Granted, the replay allowed the refs to make the correct call, but it took way too much time. We can't get the regular officials back soon enough.

The Bears get an extra day before they travel to Arlington to take on the Cowboys on Monday Night Football. That offensive line will have to be at the top of its game against a Dallas defense that held Josh Freeman and the Buccaneers to only 166 yards of offense Sunday.

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