It’s always fun putting together the Game Ball post after a Bears victory, but this week is a tough one because there are so many worthy nominees after the Bears’ impressive 13-7 win over the Detroit Lions. Let’s get to the candidates:
Charles “Peanut” Tillman
Tillman proved that Calvin Johnson might have a “peanut” allergy because the Bear cornerback completely stymied one of the most dangerous wide receivers in the league, limiting him to just 3 catches and 34 yards. While the Bears fan in me is thrilled by that, the disgruntled owner of my fantasy team LOWER THE BOOM may be looking for a new GM. Tillman not only handled Megatron for most of the night, he also demonstrated his patented ball punch, forcing two fumbles that were knocked out of bounds before they could be recovered.
Briggs continues to shine and is almost assured of another trip to the Pro Bowl. While he and teammate Tillman failed to score (WTF?), Briggs dominated sideline to sideline. Late in the first half, with the Bears protecting a 10-0 lead, Briggs forced a fumble by Mikel LeShoure in the red zone to keep the Lions off the board. He also pitched in on pass defense, knocking a ball intended for Nate Burleson loose to prevent the Lions from converting a key third down.
On a night dominated by the defense, Cutler gets a nod to represent the offense for his gritty performance, coming back after getting Suh-lammed late in the second quarter and injured his ribs. You could tell Cutty was hurting throughout the second half as his throws lacked their usual zip, but he toughed it out and led his team to a victory. Perhaps now we can put the “Jay Cutler isn’t tough enough” discussion that’s loomed over him since the NFC Championship.
Marshall is becoming a mainstay in the game balls posts, mostly because he’s getting a lot of targets and connecting on most of them. He had 6 more catches for another 81 yards in a very pedestrian night for him – because he makes it look so easy. Through his first 6 games with the Bears, Marshall has 41 catches for 577 yards and is on pace for over 1500 yards receiving this season, which will shatter Bears receiving records. He’s made the entire offense better, his fellow receivers better and raised the bar for the position in Chicago hereafter.
The list of honorable mentions is almost too long to mention, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the performances of the young guns defensive linemen like Stephen Paea, Henry Melton, Corey Wootton and Shea McClellin. Also noteworthy is newcomer Chilo Rachal, who was just mauling. Am I out of line to mention J’Marcus Webb? Is looking decent worthy of a mention? Matt Forte also had a solid effort, just missing the century mark on the ground.
What do you think? Who gets your game ball? Vote in our poll.