Monday, October 5, 2009

Not half bad

Week 4: Bears 48, Lions 24

The 2009 Chicago Bears: Better Late Than Never.

Perhaps Lovie Smith will adopt that slogan after yet another slow start and fast finish by the Bears. At halftime, Lovie found himself in the locker room locked in a 21-21 tie with a team that appeared to believe in itself after finally breaking a ridiculous losing streak last week.

But the Bears must have a patent pending on second half domination--they've outscored their opponent in the second half of every game so far this season. 13-11 in Green Bay, albeit in a losing effort. 10-7 against Pittsburgh to eke out a victory. 18-6 in Seattle to flip the script on the Seahawks. And 27-3 against the Lions to turn a close game into a "Hey, flip over to the RedZone channel" game.

The 48 points they scored were the most since last October when they beat Minnesota 48-41. It was a sneaky 48 points, if there is such a thing. Cutler ran for one TD--check that, went spinning through the air a la John Elway for a TD--and threw for two more, both to tight ends. Forte had a long TD run and Garrett Wolfe had a short one. And Johnny Knox showed off his lightning speed with a one-move-and-gone kickoff return for another score. Gould added two field goals, and that was that, nearly a half Benjamin worth of points.

You would certainly expect Cutler to have had more than 141 yards through the air, but it was Forte putting up the numbers: 121 yards on just 12 carries, finally breaking into triple digits on the ground. And though the defense did allow 24 points, they forced two turnovers and put Stafford on the ground so many times, the Soldier Field grounds crew probably approached him after the game to get his thoughts on the new grass. Five sacks in all for the Bears, with half of those coming from Adewale Ogunleye.

While the second half is the sole property of the Chicago Bears Football Club, Inc., the team does still have a strained relationship with the first quarter. Though they managed to put up points in the opening period for the first time all season, they let the Lions put together two long touchdown drives to open the game, sandwiched around Cutler's impressive all-out leap into the end zone. Zack Bowman got owned multiple times in the first quarter, and the Bears' blitzes were getting picked up faster than Lindsay Lohan at a night club.

But if you're going to pick a half to excel, pick the second one. That's just what the Bears have done through the first quarter of the season, and a solid 3-1 start has them feeling good heading into the bye week. They could pull into a tie with the Vikings (and Packers) if Green Bay ends up on the winning end tonight. Tonight will likely be the most I'll ever root for the Packers. I'd like to see them win for the aforementioned reason that it will help the Bears, and though I'm of course no Packer backer, I really wouldn't mind seeing them put a whoopin' on Brett Favre and make him wish he'd stayed retired.

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