I started Sunday morning glad that I didn’t have my tickets for the game, given the steady rain. As the Minnesota Vikings looked to be driving toward a nail-in-the-coffin touchdown with less than five minutes remaining, I was ready to write it off. Then when Martellus Bennett caught the winning touchdown pass from Jay Cutler in a stirring come from behind, one point victory, I wished I had been there through the game, soaked to the bone. Definitely I would rank this game in the top 5 of this decaude, probably high in the top 10 best games since the Mike Ditka era.
Defense stood tall when it counted
Regardless of how the Bears defense bent way too much at times, they have to be commended for keeping the Vikings out of the end zone when it counted. With Minnesota having first and goal on their final possession, I was quite sure the game was lost. But the Bears defense forced a Viking field goal, giving the Bears a shot to win the game with a final touchdown. Which they did.
Once again this is finally a big-boy offense
Unbelievable. The Vikings may be having their problems, but their defense can still be potent. Yet the Bears coaching staff called the right plays, and the players executed when it counted. Maybe I’m just stunned to see a competent Bears offensive team. Could be, but I’m liking it.
While Hester Couldn’t break one, he did everything but
On three kickoff returns, Devin Hester was just not able to get by the last man he needed to beat for touchdowns. Maybe he has lost a step, but his returns kept the Bears in the game as the defense did. Hester’s 249 total kickoff return yards were his best in an illustrious career, and best in Bears history.
Too many mistakes
Certainly the Bears didn’t plan on giving up a touchdown on the opening kickoff, a touchdown return on a fumble, and critical interceptions. So it would be trite to say they did bad in this area. Obviously they did do bad and have to clean up the mistakes, but NFL teams have days like this. On Sunday, luckily the Bears were good enough to overcome the mistakes. It won’t always be that way.
Defense bent too much
Again, the defense stepped up when it counted, and the Bears made some mistakes (fumbles, penalty for too many men on the field) that didn’t put them in a good position to defend. And they did play admirably against Adrian Peterson, keeping him out of the end zone. But they gave up 351 total yards. Again, luckily the offense was able to save this day.
Pass rush again absent
Contributing to Christian Ponder’s ability to have a better game in week one than week two was again a lack of a strong pass rush by the Bears’ front four. There were several plays on which I saw Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker send blitzers, and I had a bad feeling each time Ponder released and found his receiver. The Bears are going to have to address what could be going wrong with the rush, since it remained strong throughout 2012.
Next up are the always-solid Pittsburgh Steelers on the road. Pittsburgh looks like it has many problems this year, so could the Bears steal a game that looked a lot more difficult a few months ago?