Not everything was bad for the Chicago Bears as Jay Cutler continued to struggle running the new offense bestowed upon him, their defense harassed Philip Rivers while Jon Bostic showed some big hitting potential, but the bottom line was that despite the win, there’s plenty to work on if their playoffs drought is about to end this season.
Cutler was in the center of the post-game analysis, as he five passes, completed four of them, including one touchdown, but also got intercepted once. The numbers aren’t the problem. Cutler only targeted Brandon Marshall in the one quarter he played, with the talented wide receiver finishing with four catches, 38 interceptions and a touchdown.
The Marc Trestman offense should be about spreading the ball and quick release, but so far we aren’t seeing all of that from Cutler, who insists that learning a new offensive system usually takes a lot more than the short amount of time he and the Bears’ offense have had to adjust.
The interception came when Cutler tried to force a pass into double coverage, once again at Marshall. Maybe it has a lot to do with the field position and not wanting to reveal to much of their new playbook, but despite the 33-28 win, there wasn’t too much to be impressed with from the Bears when it came to their passing game.
Some have been indicating that this is going to be a big season for Matt Forte. With the offensive line looking a lot better than last season, especially thanks to a rookie like Kyle Long impressing for a second consecutive postseason game. Forte finished with 74 yards on 8 runs with one touchdown, including a 58-yard run that setup the five-yard touchdown pass from Cutler to Marshall.
Defense? That’s the area with the least amount of worries for the Bears, as their defensive line did an excellent job on Philip Rivers, sacking the Chargers’ quarterbacks three times. One of those sacks, by Corey Wooton, resulted in Rivers fumbling the ball (Showing the Chargers have plenty of offensive line problems of their own), and led to Matt Forte scoring a touchdown on a three-yard run.
Another thing that’s becoming more and more clear is Jon Bostic becoming the player for the Bears at middle linebacker. It wasn’t just his huge hit on Mike Willie, but it’s the confidence and maturity that Bostic seems to be playing in. With D.J. Williams currently injured, there’s a good chance Bostic ends up being the man who inherits Brian Ulracher a lot sooner than expected.
The offensive line is another thing to be happy about. While the Chargers aren’t the best pass-rushing team in the NFL, Jay Cutler didn’t touch the ground once, which was something that happened quite regularly last season, with rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills cementing their place in the stating lineup, probably pushing more experienced players to the bench when opening day comes knocking.
This isn’t the complete package yet, but the Bears looked very good in the first quarter on both ends of the field. If Jay Cutler and the rest of the offense start playing at the pace Trestman expects, which includes looking at other players not named Brandon Marshall, they just might be the best in the NFC North.