Bears a contender after win over Eagles
By S.C. Zuba
Respect can never be handed out—it must be earned.
Earlier this season, I wrote a column calling out the 2010 Chicago Bears. I said their two best players were smoke and mirrors and their 5-3 record didn’t reflect the type of football displayed by the Bears to that point.
Two games later, the Bears have earned my respect.
I stand by what I wrote—the Bears had not yet earned my respect, nor should they have earned yours. But today is a different story.
After shutting out the Dolphins in Miami and convincingly defeating one of the NFC’s best teams, the Eagles, the Bears went from pretender to contender.
I’m not quite sure what changed, but all facets of the Bears’ play have improved. It’s as if the Bears reviewed game tapes from early in the season and actually made adjustments.
Shocking, I know.
The Bears’ most recent strides came against the Eagles Sunday, Nov. 28. The Eagles came in boasting a 7-3 record with one of the NFL’s hottest quarterbacks under center in Michael Vick.
Neither their opponent’s quarterback nor their record seemed to faze the Bears as they defeated the Eagles 31-26. Don’t let the score fool you, though; this game was not nearly that close.
Simply put, the Bears dominated all three phases of the game. The defense found a way to contain Vick, the offense put points on the board, and the special teams set up the offense with excellent field position on nearly every drive.
What I think has been most interesting in the Bears’ transformation over the past few weeks is the way they are using Jay Cutler.
Cutler is no longer slinging the ball downfield or trying to do too much. He is playing efficient—making smart, shorter throws. And usually, those throws have gone to players wearing Bears jerseys.
It’s as if the Bears have realized that if they force Cutler to play conservatively, he will be successful. In Sunday’s win over the Eagles, Cutler was 21-for-28 for 247 yards, with four touchdowns and no interceptions.
Cutler never took a shot downfield and was completely successful.
The Bears’ schedule will continue to get more and more difficult with road games against New England and Green Bay, while hosting the Jets.
If the Bears team that we’ve seen these past three weeks shows up for those games, the Bears will win the NFC North. There’s no way they can’t. Mark my words.
Share your thoughts with S.C. Zuba via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the Dec. 1-7, 2010 issue
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