Bears Beat Falcons: The Morning After
Winning cures everything.
Cutler and the offense were firing on all cylinders. The defensive line and linebacking corps showed vast improvement. Special teams play is still terrible, and I am currently waiting for next weeks breaking news: “BEARS FIRE SPECIAL TEAMS COACH JOE DECAMILLIS. FANSIDED WRITER BRENNAN LIPPMAN INCREDIBLY HAPPY” Just let me have this. A man can dream. Anyways, let’s break down how the Bears got their most convincing win of the season.
Oct 12, 2014; Atlanta, GA, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end Willie Young (97) tackles Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) after a short gain in the fourth quarter of their game at the Georgia Dome. The Bears won 27-13. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Things couldn’t have gone much better for the Bears offense. Cutler threw for nearly 400 yards, a touchdown, and no interceptions. The quarterback spread the ball out, hitting Brandon Marshall six times for 113 yards, Alshon Jeffrey five times for 136 yards, and even hit Matt Forte for 10 targets. He finished with a 109.6 passer rating on the day. Forte now leads the NFL in receptions, by the way.
This was all capable due to an excellent performance from the offensive line. Jordan Mills struggled with penalties early in the game, but I have trouble thinking of anything negative to say about the Bears offensive line play (which is still taking some getting used to.) Matt Forte was able to hit his gaps and work upfield with ease. The Bears needed a dominant showing from their offense, and today they got it.
The defensive line came to play yesterday, totaling four sacks on Falcon’s QB Matt Ryan. Willie Young lead the way with two, Jared Allen, and Stephen Paea tallied one each. Falcon’s rookie left tackle Jake Matthews had a “Welcome to the NFL” game yesterday, having to battle it out with one of the best pass rushers in football. The interior of the defensive line was generating solid pressure throughout the entire game, consistently pushing the pocket and forcing Matt Ryan into making rushed decisions.
The Bears were out three starting linebackers yesterday, and they were replaced by Khaseem Greene, Darryl Sharpton (Yes, related to Al Sharpton), and Christian Jones. They played better than the starters. Also, let’s talk about Lance Briggs for a second, How much longer is his leash? We haven’t felt his presence on defense since early last year. I don’t want to admit it, but it’s time the Bears look for his replacement. And I think his replacement may already be on the roster. After seeing such improvement from Greene, Bostic, and now Christian Jones, one of them may be the heir to Lance Briggs. Yesterday’s group of linebackers cleaned up plays, provided help in run support, and flew to the football. Their performance was more than serviceable, and it will be interesting to see who stands out as the season progresses.
Bears rookie Kyle Fuller continues to make his case for Defensive Rookie of the Year, by adding another forced fumble and several pass break-ups on the day.
We’re pretty much guaranteed at least one terrible special teams play per game this year. Whether it’s running into your own blockers on kick return, deciding to take the ball out on a kick return while eight yards deep in the endzone, or my personal favorite: Allowing an extra point to be blocked. No, you’re not reading that wrong. Robbie Gould had a PAT blocked. Joe DeCamillis has shown no improvements in special teams play, and I can’t imagine Phil Emery is going to let this mediocrity slide. However, I’m glad the punt team didn’t allow Devin Hester to return one on the Bears, because that would been awful and our feelings would be hurt.
This weekend, a talented Miami team comes to town. And with both clubs fighting for their lives, I expect this game to be a good one.