Week 6 is in the books and the Bears have returned to the win column, at least for one week. In a game we expected to be a shootout, the Bears defense – led by 3 mostly unknown linebackers – held the high powered Falcons offense, who had been averaging 46 points per game at home, to 13 points.
I’m happy to say that a win is a win, but, we wouldn’t be giving this game a fair look if we didn’t look at one important factor – the Atlanta Falcons defense stinks. Worse than the Bears. They really should have scored more, but, that said, the offense looked the best it has looked this year. Cutler didn’t make mistakes, Jeffrey and Marshall looked at full strength, and Matt Forte finally found the endzone – twice. This is as close as we’ve seen to the offense we’ve been expecting all year.
The defense should get a lot of credit here though. The young linebacker group was fast and all over the field – something we’re not used to seeing. Kyle Fuller was all over Julius Jones, holding him to only 4 catches. The defensive line was solid all game, and Jared Allen finally found an opposing quarterback. As I’ve said all year, this is what we need from the defense – to get the ball back to the offense and to keep them in the game.
In the world of sports, its easy to jump to extremes. Cutler plays well and he’s the pro-bowl quarterback we have been waiting for. He plays poorly, we lust for the “manage-the-game-and-don’t-lose” Kyle Orton era. And this was definitely one of Cutler’s best games as a Bear. He went 26-38 for 381 years, one touchdown and no interceptions. He doesn’t have to put up those kinds of numbers every single game, but we’ve seen a pretty obvious pattern so far – Cutler takes care of the ball, the Bears win. He turns it over, they lose. Take a look at Cutler’s stats in wins versus losses.
In the Bears’ 3 wins: 7 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
In the Bears’ 3 losses: 6 touchdowns, 6 interceptions
He needs to find a way to continue to be as effective as he’s been, without making those game-changing mistakes that take them out of games.
One other stat I think is worth noting: When the Bears score 27 points or more, they are 3-0. When they score less than 27, they are 0-3.
The defense will not always look this good – although I hope it is a sign that they can be better than we expected at time. But this offense needs to score and not turn the ball over if they want to find their way back into the playoff picture in the NFC.
Next week could/should be a win, and if they can follow those two positive trends, they can get themselves back over .500 and get their first win at home.