The Bears rolled in their 41-21 Week 1 win over the Indianapolis Colts and there were plenty of standout performances. Let’s take a look at my candidates for the Week 1 Game Ball.
Cutler went 21 of 35 for 333 yards and 2 TD’s with 1 INT to finish the day with a passer rating of 98.9. He overcame a rough start with a short pick-6 to gift wrap a 7-0 lead to the Bears to a big win. With his 300+ yard effort, Cutler tied Erik Kramer for second on the all-time franchise list with seven. (That’s a half a season for Brady or Brees). Expect Bill Wade’s record of 9 to fall some time in the next month or so.
Marshall and Cutler will go together as well to Bears fans as Ditka and Polish sausage by season’s end. Marshall was targeted a team high 15 times by JC, catching 9 balls for 119 yards and a TD. It wasn’t just the targets or the touchdown, it was what his presence meant to the offense. Everyone else could settle into a more comfortable role with Marshall drawing a lot of the opposition’s attention.
Tim Jennings has played second fiddle to Charles Tillman in the Bears’ secondary for a couple of years now. That wasn’t the case on Sunday, as the former Colts CB had a career game with two interceptions and a tipped ball in the end zone that led directly to Chris Conte’s own interception. In addition, he had 4 tackles and another pass defensed. He may be small in stature at 5’8″, but on Sunday, he played BIG.
In what is becoming an annual event, Bears defensive tackle Henry Melton had one heck of a season opener. Melton was credited with two sacks, five tackles including three tackles for loss and two QB Hits. You might recall that Melton had a similarly impressive Week 1 vs Atlanta last season, and then sort of faded into mediocrity the rest of the way. Let’s hope Sunday was the start of something new for 2012 and not an encore of 2011.
Bears Running Backs Matt Forte and Michael Bush
I’m going to go with the tandem of Forte and Bush for my last game ball candidate of Week 1. The Bears running backs combined for 28 carries for 122 yards and three TD’s on the ground while Forte added three catches for 40 yards in the passing game. The Bears look to have found the right foil to Matt Forte, with the bruising Bush to pound it in on short yardage plays. This tandem could be scary as the season goes on.
So what do you think? Who gets the game ball? Vote in our poll: