Tests Passed Against the Lightweights..

I, along with a lot of you, suffered through the long Wannstedt and Jauron years. Hell, I even endured three of the four Neill Armstrong seasons. Having been through that, it’s wonderful to say that it’s great to be a fan of the Chicago Bears again.

However, not to bring up anything bad while basking in the 51-20 beating of the Titans, but the Bears did fail their first test against a contender in the Green Bay debacle. This week the Bears host the 7-1 Houston Texans (whom the Bears have never beat in their two meetings), and the road remains tough for the remainder of the season. I’m still very disappointed that the Bears offense squandered a brilliant defensive performance at Lambeau, and even against poorer competition the unit has looked overmatched this season.

It will be very interesting to see the Bears take on the high-powered Texans offense at Soldier Field, and their own offensive unit will have a tough matchup against J.J. Watt’s long arms. But I’m reminded of the Packers taking Houston apart in Texas, and hope the Bears’ offense will rise to the occasion. Not only does the offensive line need to block better, but Jay Cutler needs to make better decisions and get rid of the ball more decisively.

Some history…

The Bears’ 51 points were the most by the team since they beat Green Bay 61-7 on December 7th, 1980. Prior to that, they also hung 61 on the San Francisco 49ers at Wrigley Field on rookie Gale Sayers’ historic six-touchdown day. They also scored 57 in a game in 1962 and 58 in 1956. Goes to show how infrequently the Bears have done this.

Conversely, the Bears gave up 55 to the Lions on Thanksgiving Day 1997 (who else remembers Barry Sanders running wild and wishing Dave Wannstedt were gone on that day?) They also gave up 52 to the 49ers in December 1991 while Wayne Fontes smoked a stogie at the Silverdome celebrating the Bears’ defeat.

The Bears have started 7-1 for the first time since their Super Bowl season in 2006, but that year they were the dominant team in the NFC. Unlike 2012 when the 49ers, Falcons, Packers and Giants will rival Chicago for control of the conference.

Lightning starts were normal for Mike Ditka’s Bears. Of course the Bears famously started 12-0 in 1985. But in other seasons Ditka’s teams started:

7-1 in 1986, finishing 7-1
7-1 in 1987, finishing 5-3
7-1 in 1988, finishing 5-3
9-1 in 1990, finishing 2-4
9-2 in 1991, finishing 2-4

But Ditka’s teams started to fizzle down the stretch, which the 2012 Bears will need to avoid, especially considering the brutal schedule remaining. But it’s certainly good to see the team only 3-4 wins away from a playoff berth. I don’t want to start thinking about Green Bay six weeks in advance, but Lovie Smith must find a way to beat his rival for only the second time since 2008!

Lastly, this Sunday night’s game will feature a duel between our beloved Charles Tillman and perennial All-Pro receiver Andre Johnson of the Texans. In the 2003 draft, Houston selected Johnson third overall after the Lions laughably selected bustout receiver Charles Rogers. With the fourth pick in the second round, 35th overall, the Bears chose Tillman. I dare say that despite Johnson’s Pro Bowls, I wouldn’t go back and rather have Johnson.

What a treat it was to see Peanut’s four forced fumble performance, and 51 points by the Bears.

4 Responses to “Tests Passed Against the Lightweights..”

  1. Fun game to watch! Hopefully the offense becomes more consistent playing aginst tougher competition.

  2. While the Bears have been playing lowly teams, they have been crushing them. Football Outsiders (great site) did some research awhile back that showed that crushing weak opponents is a good indicator of future success, better than beating strong opponents close. So, the Bears are showing that they can have a good season–including postseason.

    That’s what I’ve liked about the team this year. In previous years they would win their games, but just barely. This year, despite the problems with the offense every game they’ve won (except Carolina and Detroit) they’ve won by 14 or more. They are dominating teams.

  3. If Peanut has another fumble-producing, shut-down performance against Johnson in the premier game of the week, he could garner some serious traction for Defensive Player of the Year. How great would that be? He has been a reliable, underrated, unsung warrior here his whole career. It would be great to see him get that recognition at this stage of his career!

  4. What do you guys think of the rookie Shea McClellin play thus far in our system?

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