6.) Devin Hester: Welcome back! It seems like forever ago that Hester was a factor in the return game, but he was huge today. Hester broke the Bears single-game return yard record with 249 yards. In his prime I think he would have taken a few of those to the house, but he seems a step or two slower now. Even so, the Vikings kicked away from Hester after their final field goal and Joe Anderson took the short kick back to the Bears 34 yard line giving them solid field position to work with. I was close to writing Hester off this year, but it’s great to have him back.
7.) Offensive Line: The Bears O-line has given up 1 sack in 8 quarters of football against two of the better D-lines in the NFL. Jared Allen got the one sack and also forced a fumble, but the line kept Cutler clean for most of the game. They did a better job in the run game as well, at least giving Forte a little room to maneuver (4.7 YPC) unlike last week. For the second week in a row, they limited their mistakes as they were only called for 1 holding penalty (Bushrod) and had no false starts.
8.) Christian Ponder: Before today, I was pretty sure Ponder’s best attribute was his wife (ESPN reporter Samantha Ponder) but he changed my opinion a bit after looking like a real NFL QB at times Sunday. He made one crucial mistake (Jennings’ pick-6) but in the 2nd half he made some great throws. Ponder also did a better job knowing when to scramble and when to hang in the pocket. I would have bet the house that Ponder would be looking for a job after this season, but now I’m not so sure.
9.) Tim Jennings: His pro-bowl season last year was such a surprise that it was hard not to worry about it being a fluke. Interception totals tend to vary quite a bit and I was curious to see if Jennings could continue to be a playmaker. So far, he’s doing just that. After forcing two fumbles last week, Jennings read Ponder perfectly and took an interception back to the house turning momentum in the Bears favor shortly after a Cutler pick in the end-zone. Jennings did get burned on a double move (again) but if he keeps forcing turnovers I’m sure the Bears will live with him being overly aggressive and getting burned occasionally as long as he doesn’t turn into Walt “double-move” Harris.
10.) Chemistry: To a man all the offensive players interviewed after the game echoed similar ideas. The Bears are a team that doesn’t quit, that believes in each other, and then genuinely like being in the same huddle together. For a guy that is constantly portrayed as a jerk by the media, his main weapons (Marshall & Bennett) and O-line sure seem to like Jay Cutler. Check Bear Goggles On later today for the exact post-game quotes.