Monday, September 21, 2009

An arm and a leg

Week 2: Bears 17, Steelers 14

The Bears led the Steelers for 15 seconds on Sunday. But they were the right 15 seconds. (Hat tip: Brian Brennan)

They flirted with 0-2, improved to 1-1, and could be 2-0. Robbie Gould gets the shaving cream pie (wait, they don't do that in football) after he battled the wet turf and nailed a 44-yard field goal to send the Bears home with a victory over the reigning Super Bowl champions.

At times, the Bears offense looked stuck in 2008. Check that--it looked like John Shoop put on a Ron Turner mask and took control of the offensive play calling. Run for one yard. Pass short left for two yards. Pass short right for no gain. That was an actual Bears series.

Second-and-14, pass for one yard. Third-and-13, run for five yards. That really happened, too.

But the Bears saved the best for last with 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Jay Cutler and the offense got the ball back at their own 33 yard line with 3:18 left, and they proceeded to orchestrate a game-winning drive as time wound down. The Bears pushing the ball down the field to go ahead with barely any time left on the clock--this is why God created the seventh day. The assist goes to Jeff Reed and his two missed field goals in the final frame.

Cutler had quite the redemptive performance with 236 yards, two touchdowns and nary an interception. And it looks like he may have a new best friend in Johnny Knox. Knox racked up 70 receiving yards after piling up 82 in Week 1, and he pulled in the game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter. It's way too early to write this in pen, but could the Bears have found a #1 receiver in their fifth round draft pick from Division II Abilene Christian?

Solid defense was on display as well, as the Bears held Ben Roethlisberger to an 80.8 QB rating, sacked him twice (both by Alex Brown, who unfortunately left with an injury), and forced two turnovers.

One negative, though, and it's a big one: Forte rushed for just 29 yards on 13 carries. Where oh where has the running game gone? Ron Turner certainly must have sensed that Pittsburgh was scheming against the run, as he had the offense throw the ball on 10 consecutive plays at one point. When was the last time the Bears had a QB drop back 10 straight times?! All in all, Turner called 38 passes compared to only 18 rushes.

While Forte couldn't get the wheels churning, can we give some credit to Adrian "Almost Didn't Make the Team" Peterson? He spelled Forte on the Bears' first half touchdown drive, picking up 16 yards on three carries and 11 more yards on two receptions. Can we PLEASE make him the first option off the bench?

The Packers bungled their way to a loss at home against Ochocinco and the Bengals, while the Vikes took care of business against the hapless and winless Lions. So the Vikings are off to an early lead in the division, but the Bears stayed right on their heels with this huge home victory.

Next up is Seattle on the road, and we'll have to pay attention to the news out of Washington--Matt Hasselbeck left yesterday's game against the Niners with a rib injury, though he says he'll be fine.

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