Plain and simple, the Chicago Bears went to London and outplayed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 24-18. Not even arriving in England four days before the Bears did, was enough to overcome penalties and turnovers. It wasn’t the prettiest of victories, but the Bears are now 4-3 and sit primed for a playoff run over the last nine games of the season.
Matt Forte did what he does, racking up 145 yards on the ground, his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. The defense finally forced some turnovers with four interceptions, including D.J. Moore’s pick with under a minute to go, stopping a late Buccaneers’ rally. There was even a Roy Williams sighting in the end zone.
So, grab yourself a cup of tea and let’s pass out some grades after the Bears bloody good showing in London in Week 7.
QB Jay Cutler: They can’t all be humdingers, but Cutler played well enough to win. He was 17-32 for 226 yards with one TD and two INTs. One of the picks was tipped into the defender’s hands and the other one was the result of pressure by the D. I’m not saying Cutler wasn’t partly at fault, but he’s human and these things happen. I wish he didn’t throw the ball so much in the fourth when they had the lead, but that’s more on Mike Martz. Overall, he got them off to a good start and held onto the lead.
WR Roy Williams: I think I went back and forth between cursing Roy’s name to wishing we had more receivers like him about 10 times throughout the game. He made a terrible drop on his first target and bobbled a few other balls, but in the end, he came away with four catches for 59 yards and one touchdown. If the Bears can learn to use him in the red zone more often, he’s going to be an asset to the team. If they hope he can catch crossing routes at mid-field, it’s going to be a long year. He hears footsteps and doesn’t look the ball into his hands often. However, Cutler said that he’s gaining some chemistry with Roy. So there’s that.
Lovie Smith: Lovie won a challenge! Lovie won a challenge! Lovie won a challenge! And the Bears didn’t even have to use one timeout all game. Was that stoic figure on the sidelines actually Lovie or was he replaced this week by one of the royal guards who never move? I’m not going to say Lovie made tons of great decisions during the game, but rather, he didn’t make any bad decisions. And for that, he should be rewarded. Baby steps, my bloaks.
CB Tim Jennings: Briggs…might…go…all…the…way. Illegal block in the back, Chicago Bears No. 26. Then the Bears go three-and-out. Tim Jennings’ penalty after Lance Briggs’ interception in the third quarter cost the Bears 49 yards and a sure touchdown. If you saw the play, Jennings plowed into the back of Bucs TE Kellen Winslow, who was five yards behind Briggs and back-peddling away from him. There was no need for it, and it could have been the score the Bears needed to pull away in the game. The rest of the game Jennings played adequate. He needs to play smarter if he wants to remain in the starting lineup.
Offensive Line: Only one false start penalty and only two sacks. At least, they are getting better on pass-blocking. However, their run-blocking continues to be phenomenal. They helped the Bears to 177 rushing yards on Sunday. I know they are big men, but once again…baby steps.
K Robbie Gould: He made one field goal and had four of five kickoffs taken for touchbacks. However, he missed a 41-yard field goal that would have loomed large if the Bears lost by one point. He also would have moved into first place as the most accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, if he made it. Oh well, what happens in England, stays in England. Let’s get him back in U.S. soil where no one else is “as good as Gould.”
S Craig Steltz: He had his only chance for a tackle when a shirtless streaker ran right at him and he let him run right by and into the end zone. That’s why you’re not the starting safety, ya wanker.
So the trip to London was a success. The Bears move into their bye week in sixth place in the NFC and will get some much needed rest. Rookie OL Gabe Carimi and WR Earl Bennett should be returning in Week 9 against the Philadelphia Eagles, but for now, let’s all take a breather and enjoy the week off. The Bears are firmly planted in the upper echelon of the NFC after their win against Tampa Bay, and we won’t have to hear any more talk about Parliament, quids or Big Ben. However, I wouldn’t mind hearing about Big Ben if the Bears are playing against him in the Super Bowl. Cheerio, you cheeky monkeys!
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