The Bears head to Atlanta for a rematch of last season’s most heartbreaking loss. In case you forgot the painful last play to set up the game winning field goal, click here. The Falcons are coming off an impressive road beat down of the 49ers last weekend while the Bears head in well-rested coming off their Bye.
I’ve heard a lot made this week about revenge, but I’m not into that idea. I remember that when Return of the Jedi first came out, it was supposed to be called Revenge of the Jedi, but they changed the title because a Jedi doesn’t seek revenge or at least that was the marketing spin they put on the title change. Being a Star Wars fan didn’t used to carry such a stigma, but that new Trilogy ruined it. OK, that’s my geeky Star Wars reference for the day. Let’s get back to football and the keys to a Bears win.
Jay needs to play under the bright lights
When we last saw Jay Cutler in prime time under the bright lights, it didn’t go so well. Since the first half of the Packers game, he’s been pretty spot on, completing 70% of his passes and posted three straight 100+ passer ratings. I have a feeling that this game is going to be a shootout, so the offense had better come to play. Jay needs to show the nation what we’ve seen the last few weeks – a calm, cool and collected QB that can control a game. Last season, Cutler’s Broncos were the only team to deal the Falcons a home loss with a 24-20 win.
Disrupt the “Matty Ice” and Roddy White connection
Rod Marinelli’s crew, which has gotten high marks in the early going for bringing pressure and energizing the defense, needs to turn it up another notch on Sunday night. Ryan hasn’t been sacked in three games this season. I’d love to see how this kid performs under pressure, since the Bears didn’t sack him in last season’s loss either.
And while defenders are stepping up, somebody put a hat on Roddy White. He went off for over 200 and 2 TD’s last week. We have struggled with top-end receivers – Calvin Johnson and Santonio Holmes. Lovie and company need to put out a scheme to keep him in check.
Special Teams need to keep being special
The Bears special teams have been fantastic this season. Kick and punt returns have been great, while Maynard and Gould have been nothing short of awesome. The Bears will need to get an edge somewhere and this could be the phase of the game that could make the difference. The Falcons kick coverage unit has been tops in the league this season, limiting opponents starting field position inside the 20. Pretty damn tough, but they haven’t faced the Bears yet.
PLAY THE FULL 60 MINUTES!!!
Play until there are nothing but zeroes left on the clock, not 59 minutes and 49 seconds. That last eleven seconds killed us last year. The Bears were too busy celebrating to finish the game last season.
If you can’t beat em, you’d better outscore em. Bears 34 – 31.
Through the month of October, my usual BEAR DOWN signoff will be in pink to raise awareness for National Breast Cancer Awareness month.