One of the most common lessons learned in life is that we must learn from our mistakes. The best way to go forward in life and football is to look back. We all learn from the past to build on the future. From now on, every week I will be giving you a retrospective look at every one of last season’s games until the start of the season.
Let’s face it; all fans look back on games and wish that things would have gone differently. I always look back at the 2010 NFC Championship game and think “Man, if Urlacher just would have made a better move on Rodgers…” That game is just one of the few. There is something to be learned from every game.
Opening Day: A Mostly Solid Beginning
Let’s flashback to Week 1 2012. The Bears and the Colts in a Super Bowl XLI rematch. The Bears had recently acquired wide receiver Brandon Marshall, and all the fans were excited to see a Bears receiver who can actually make plays. The Colts, however, had a bigger storyline. The great Peyton Manning had been replaced with the young ambitious Andrew Luck. In the game, he would show sparks of what the future may hold, but for the most part the Bears shut the rookie down. Here is the box score.
This game started out terribly. Jay Cutler threw an ill-advised screen pass from his own 4 yard line right into the arms of lineman Jerrell Freeman for a Colts touchdown. Things did not look good.
Fortunately, the next drive was better. Jay Cutler completed some passes and Matt Forte had some good runs. The drive culminated in a one yard touchdown dive by Michael Bush. The Bears would score again later after another good drive. This was Brandon Marshall’s first touchdown in a Bears uniform, a three yard catch. The Bears added another 10 and the Colts another 7, so the beloved had a 24-14 lead at halftime.
In the third, the Bears padded their lead on a Matt Forte touchdown and added another field goal to make it 34-14. The Colts made it closer when Luck threw his first professional touchdown early in the fourth, but the Bears put it out of reach on a 42 yard bomb to Alshon Jeffery. The Bears won, 41-21.
Jay Cutler finished the game with 333 yards, two touchdowns and a pick. Matt Forte ran for 80 yards on 16 attempts. My player of the game honors go out to Brandon Marshall and Tim Jennings, who showed snippets of what their seasons would hold with Marshall’s 9 catches for 119 yards and Jennings’ 2 interceptions. Henry Melton also wanted to give Andrew Luck a rude welcome, and he contributed with 2 sacks. The play of the game award goes to Tim Jennings, for his first interception. Here’s the clip.
This game really set the tone for the seasons of two of the teams best players, Brandon Marshall and Tim Jennings. Marshall’s 9 catch performance became somewhat of a weekly thing, and Tim Jennings was a ball hawk for the rest of the year.
The game was great. The Bears won and we saw a lot of what the future could hold. However, it wasn’t perfect. Unfortunately, Jay Cutler can’t afford to make passes like he did from his own end zone. Early in the game, the Bears appeared to be lost. That happened a lot throughout the course of the year. One thing I can take from this game is that the Bears really need to do better early. Jay was sacked on the first play from scrimmage and threw a boneheaded pick on the first play of the second drive. I don’t want to see that this year. However, for the most part, this was a dominant win.