The Bears and Bengals kicked off the 2013 season in fine fashion with an exciting first half of football, but the Bears are on the short end of the action, trailing the Bengals 14-10. Let’s look at some first half highlights and lowlights.
The Bears got the ball to open the game and went three and out. Matt Forte had a nice run, but the Bears couldn’t capitalize. After an Adam Podlesh punt, Charles Tillman picked up right where he left off, intercepting Andy Dalton’s second pass of the day, intended for AJ Green. I told you that would be a matchup to watch.
Starting just outside the red zone, Cutler had a huge 3rd and 17 completion to Brandon Marshall. The Bears cashed in a couple of plays later, as Jay Cutler hit Martellus Bennett on an 8-yard TD strike in the back of the end zone. Great concentration by Bennett, who had a costly drop on the first drive.
Things were looking up for the Bears after Adam Podlesh dropped a lob wedge inside the three yard line, but the Bengals marched the ball 97 yards for a touchdown. Even though Peanut Tillman won the first battle between the two Pro Bowlers, AJ Green hit a big one with a 42 yard catch and capped off the touchdown drive by shaking free of Tillman at the goal line for a short TD catch.
Charles Tillman struck again as the Bengals were marching, but Peanut not only had his second pick of the day, but made a nifty return to flip the field for the Bears. The Bears were unable to capitalize on great field position and were forced to punt again. Adam Podlesh dropped another beauty of a punt inside the 10 yard line.
With Peanut Tillman on the sidelines suffering from dehydration, Andy Dalton and AJ Green went to work yet again, torching Tim Jennings for a 45 yard touchdown pass, Green’s second TD of the day.
After the Bengals failed to capitalize on a late drive inside of 2 minutes, a dumb penalty on a short punt set the Bears up. The offense wasn’t able to move the ball, but Robbie Gould hit a career long 58-yard BOMB to bring the Bears to within four points, trailing 14-10 at the half.
Some additional first half observations:
- The Bears defensive line was dominated for much of the first half. Andy Dalton’s uniform is far too clean.
- I thought the Bears came out running the ball well, but wore down as the half went on. I’d like to see Forte get a rest and see more Bush to keep everyone fresh.
- Jay Cutler finished up the half 10-19 for 70 yards and a TD. That needs to improve.
- Brandon Marshall had 5 catches for 41 yards. He easily led all Bears receivers in catches.
- Matt Forte had 11 carries for 27 yards. That needs to improve as well.
- It was nice to see Jay Cutler able to stand tall in the pocket. I can’t remember the last time he made it through a half of football without getting sacked.
- It was really weird watching the Bears defense without #54 in the middle.
- Kudos to Peanut Tillman who was seen throwing up on the sidelines multiple times before he came out of the game suffering from dehydration. Two picks and a great return sounds a little like the Jordan game to me.
- If the Bears want to win this game, they need to start winning at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.
- The Bears burned two time outs in the first quarter. Somewhere, Lovie Smith was smiling.