The Chicago Bears are known for many things, great defense, gritty running, and flashy special teams. For today, the Bears took on an unusual role as participant in a shoot out, running up the score to 48-41 against the Minnesota Vikings. At one point the Bears were up by 17 points in the 4th quarter and appeared ready to give up another lead and lose the game, but were able to hold on a stay in a tie for first place with the Green Bay Packers.
Adrian Peterson had another big day against the Bears with 121 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns. Those numbers are great if you have him on your fantasy team, but in real football it wasn’t enough to help the Vikings get past the Bears. Meanwhile, the Bears continued to struggle to establish the run, led by 56 yards rushing by Matt Forte. Almost every rushing play was over before it started for the Bears, but luckily scoring came from a lot of different sources.
Kyle Orton put together another great game with 283 yards on 21 of 32 passing and 2 touchdowns. If Orton can continue to keep up this level of play fans will begin to wonder why the Bears even bothered with Rex Grossman. What Orton lacks in throwing the deep ball he makes up for with great accuracy and a wonderful ability to call audibles at the line. I don’t know where this sudden knack for audibles came from and why it wasn’t used in previous seasons but I hope it continues. Orton has shown a leadership ability on the field by looking at the defense and deciding whether to change the play. Just as exciting is the success those audible plays have had for the team to get first downs and keep the chains moving.
If the Bears don’t win this game, the storyline for the Bears are the dropped touchdown passes by Marty Booker. He finished with 3 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown, but what you don’t see on the stat sheet are the two touchdown catches he blatantly dropped. There are always difficult catches and miscues on the field, but twice Orton put the ball right on Booker number in the end zone and he dropped it. The Bears seem to be showing a growing confidence in Booker and he needs to respond with better consistency.
The irony is before the game the biggest concern was the Bears secondary that was depleted from injuries and could have given Gus Frerotte a big day. Instead, Frerotte threw 4 interceptions, all of them to young Bears defenders getting playing time because of injuries. Safety Kevin Payne, and corners Corey Graham, Trumaine McBride, and Zachary Bowman all came down with interceptions. The Bears defense also finally remembered that sacking the quarterback is a good thing, getting one from Kevin Payne and Tommie Harris.
Kevin Payne is an interesting player that I’m going to spend more time researching. He’s been nothing but criticized in Chicago for his poor coverage skills and allowing receivers to get behind him for big plays. But if you look at him on paper he came away with 7 tackles, a sack, and an interception that he brought back 50 yards. How exactly can a kid so productive be dogged as a liability? Only in Chicago…….
The Bears are far from the strongest team in the league but they sure are playing like a team that believes they can hang in with everyone else. They manage to screw up plenty of games, but they are a few plays away from being 7-0. It seems crazy but if you take away the improbable Falcons comeback, the blown lead against the Panthers, and the blown lead against the Bucs, this is an undefeated team. It was always the Bears who had to come up with points late in the game to try to win. This season the Bears are having no trouble scoring points but they are having trouble hanging on to leads. It got scary for a few moments today, but perhaps this team is finally figuring out how to secure a lead late.
The Bears tried to run the ball late and run down the clock but the Vikings had Forte’s number all day. The Vikings had their chance for heroics, but the Bears came down with an interception and breathed a sigh of relief.
I should probably be happier that the Bears came away with a win, but I’m a bit troubled how they won. The defense broke down and allowed the Vikings to keep scoring and stay in the game. This should have been a blown out like the Lions game. The Bears have always had good defense and run the ball well. They won today, but they did it by losing their identity as a ball club. Now the question becomes, do they try to regain their old identity or do they embrace this new identity as a way to win?
Tags: Adrian Peterson Chicago Bears Corey Graham Green Bay Packers Gus Frerotte Kevin Payne Kyle Orton Marty Booker Matt Forte Minnesota Vikings Rex Grossman Tommie Harris Trumaine McBride Zachary Bowman