You all saw it as I did: the Bears took apart the Atlanta Falcons, the top-seeded team in the NFC from last season, 20-10 (by the way Pompei, nice ‘stache, what’s up with that?)
Also by the way, the Falcons were profootballtalk’s fourth-best ranked team in the NFL last week. Pretty impressive team to take apart.
I’m the first one to honestly write that I’m not blithely drinking the Kool-Aid, as I did Friday. So I will honestly admit again that on Saturday I asked myself “how are Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings going to handle Roddy White and Julio Jones, while the rest of the defense still has to account for Matt Ryan and Michael Turner? The Bears answered my questions today in a strong way.
The last time I felt good to some degree about the Bears was after their playoff victory over the Seahawks last January. And I have to tell you, today I feel better about the Bears than I have in a long, long time. Probably better than I did at any point in 2010, most likely better than I have at any point since the 2006 season.
Why? Two reasons, both equal. First, the Bears played bona fide offense against a legitimate defense…at least I think Atlanta’s defense is legitimate. At lease we know that’s what the “experts” were all telling us when they told us the Bears had no chance against Atlanta. Second-the pass rush seems to be back. Back like it hasn’t been back since 2006. And the best part about the pass rush? It was coming primarily from the tackles, both Henry Melton and Amobi Okoye. If Okoye and Melton, the three-technique tackles, can keep up this pressure, it will only allow Julius Peppers to continue to be his dominant self. And that’s good.
I still don’t know how the defense completely shut down an offense that was electric in 2010 and was allegedly improved from that. But it did-completely.
After seeing the Bears’ next two opponents (Green Bay and New Orleans) completely light each other up Thursday night I didn’t know how the Bears stood a chance in either game. But if the Bear defense performs at 60% of today’s level, the sky is the limit.