If each game was decided by the offense’s opening drive, the Bears would be the best team in football. They come out with a great gameplan for their opening drive, they execute, they get on the board, and they give us all a false sense of hope that we should know better than to fall for by now as Chicago fans. The big difference after their first drive Sunday against Green Bay was that the guy coming back to answer was Aaron Rogers. And Rogers made the Bears pay. In truth, the Bears had no answer for Aaron Rogers from the first snap. The defense put no pressure on him, and apparently didn’t assign ANYONE to cover the middle of the field. Rogers showed us what an elite quarterback really looks like, and ate them alive.
For one half, the Bears kept up. It looked to be a shootout, waiting to see which defense would step up first and make that big stop. And in the final drive of the first half with 9 seconds left, the Packers stopped the Bears at the goal line as time expired. This wound up being the turning point of the game. The Packers came out in the second half and outscored the Bears 17-0. There are a lot of places to put blame – Trestman, Cutler, the defense – none of them deserve all of it. It was a team loss. To put it bluntly, they got their asses kicked in the second half. Yes, the defense got picked apart, but we never expected this defense to be great. At best, we hoped for them to be mediocre. And you know what? They have been! And that was okay because last season we put together an explosive offense ready to take the next step. This, to me, is the big issue. This has not happened. Where is this explosive offense we’ve all been expecting? The one that was supposed to allow the defense to just be serviceable to win games? This offense was supposed to be high powered and high scoring and so far the Bears have failed to score more than 28 points. That cannot happen if they want to have any chance of winning in today’s NFL. The defense is not as bad as last year, but lets not fool ourselves here, they’re still not good. But they are good enough to win games as long as the offense carries the load, which it has yet to do. Did they take their offensive dominance for granted? Are teams just figuring out Trestman’s schemes? Hard to say at this point, but so far they have not been able to get the job done consistently.
We also need to find out what happens to Jay Cutler when he goes from a cool, collected quarterback to one who gets behind and starts pressing. He becomes a different player. That more than anything needs to be corrected, and Marc Trestman needs to figure out how to correct it mid-game to avoid things getting out of hand fast the way they did on Sunday. The offense needs to control games in order for them to win, and they did not control this game, Aaron Rogers did. There was nothing they could do to stop him. Rogers did whatever he wanted the entire game. A lot of attention has been focused on mistakes the Bears made, but I think they did a lot well too. Forte was great. Bennett was great. And in the first half, Cutler was great. The issue was they played a team where the margin for error is non-existent and there was way too much error in too many areas.
All of that said, I actually think the Bears can win at least three of the next four against struggling teams. I really do. They are capable of playing the way they did on that opening drive, but they are also capable of playing the way they did in the second half of this game. That is the issue. We still don’t know which team to expect from week to week, or even from drive to drive. The pieces are there, the talent is there and the potential is there. The frustrating thing so far is their inability to put it all together at the same time. Now is the time for Marc Trestman to prove he belongs as an NFL coach and not just a glorified coordinator the way Lovie Smith was for so many years on the other end.