Bears Outlast Chargers in Costly 31-20 Win
Every silver lining has a dark cloud. The Bears’ silver lining is a 31-20 win over the San Diego Chargers to extend their winning streak to 5 games and improve their record to 7-3. The dark cloud? You mean besides long snapper Patrick Mannelly’s knee injury? Jay Cutler broke the thumb on his throwing hand and is rumored to miss the rest of the regular season. No official word from the Bears yet on the extent of the injury. (This is when I wish I had finished my post-game writeup before I heard this news, because it’s a major buzz kill and will taint my view of another exciting Bears win. But the show must go on.)
Let’s go bullets since I’m not in the mood to recap the game. If you want highlights, go here. If you want a good writeup of the Bears’ win, go here.
- Bears came out flat. Really flat. Offense struggled early with a couple of 3-and-outs while the Chargers were picking up large chunks of yardage.
- Roy Williams bounced back after a rough start. Early on he missed connecting on a long Cutler throw that he had to adjust to, but should have been able to haul in. He ended up having his best day in a Bears uniform, ending up with 5 catches for 62 yards.
- Matt Forte has come firmly back down to Earth. He ended the day with 20 rushes for 57 yards and 4 catches for 26 yards. He still had a few nice plays including a nifty couple of moves late to try to run out the clock. If he misses out on the Pro Bowl, it will be because of his lack of touchdowns.
- With that, Marion Barber is quietly coming on. He’s scored touchdowns in 4 of his last 5 games. He added 25 yards and a touchdown on 7 carries.
- Nice to see the tight ends get into the action a little bit. Matt Spaeth had a nice catch and Kellen Davis pulled down a TD pass.
- Johnny Knox had a nice game. Besides doing some nice work in the return game, Knox hauled in a touchdown pass and ended up about a foot short on another long reception. Look for him to have a little more rapport with Caleb Hanie in the coming weeks.
- Why in the world does anyone kick the ball to Devin Hester. (Believe me, I’m not complaining!) Hester helped flip the field and if not for a couple of dumb penalties Hester would have had a lot more return yardage than the 100+ that he finished the day with.
- Losing Patrick Mannelly is a big deal. Kudos to Tyler Clutts for filling in admirably. If Mannelly is gone for the season (as some reports indicate), look for the Bears to grab someone off the street. They won’t go into another game with Clutts handling the snapping duties.
- It’s amazing to me that Adam Podlesh could kick the ball 50+ yards away and put it within a few feet yet he can’t throw it 10 yards. What the heck was that fake punt? Corey Graham’s interception in the next series might have bailed out a questionable call.
- Not the best game by Peanut Tillman. He stood tall last week against Megtron, but let VJax take him out to the woodshed to the tune of 165 yards and a TD.
- Once and for all, could the Bears please cover a tight end in the red zone? Antonio Gates is pretty good and needs to be accounted for. How do they let him get free?
- Give the Bears run defense some big props. After Ryan Matthews tore off 23 yards on his first carry, he had 12 carries for 14 yards thereafter. That’s ballin’.
- Phillip Rivers was gunning it all over the field. For a while it looked it the last team with the ball would win the game. Then the Bears decided not to let the Chargers have the ball. They had 4 offensive snaps in the 4th quarter. 4 snaps.
- Bears D-line had some pressure, but failed to get to Rivers. In fact, both QB’s made it through the day without getting sacked. Isn’t it ironic that after all of the beatings Cutler took over the last couple of seasons, he gets seriously injured in a game when he doesn’t get sacked.
Next up for the Bears is a trip to the Black Hole to face the AFC West leading Oakland Raiders. Geez, could we find a worse game to have Hanie make his 2011 debut?
Stay tuned for any updates or official word on the Patrick Mannelly injury and… oh yeah, that Cutler guy too.