Free Head Exam: Chicago Bears
September, 20, 2010
By Kevin Seifert | ESPN.com
After the Chicago Bears' 27-20 victory Sunday at the Dallas Cowboys, here are three issues that merit further examination:
- Quarterback Jay Cutler hardly flinched at a sluggish start that suggested he might leave Dallas pelted with bruises. Anthony Spencer sacked him on his first dropback. DeMarcus Ware delivered a post-throw wallop on his second. Left tackle Chris Williams departed with a hamstring injury after the second series, and Cutler was hit seven times in the Bears' first three possessions. But Cutler hung in and produced what must be considered a signature game within the Mike Martz offense. He made big plays, finding tight end Greg Olsen for a 39-yard touchdown. He threw beautiful passes -- most notably a 59-yarder to Johnny Knox and a 9-yard touchdown to Devin Hester -- that only a handful of NFL quarterbacks could throw. Those passes more than compensated for the Bears' ungainly 1-for-15 conversion rate on third down. All in all, Cutler completed 77.8 percent of his passes, didn't commit a turnover and wasn't sacked after that first play. That'll get 'er done.
- For the second consecutive week, the Bears handled an opposing offense with a limited number of blitzes. According to ESPN's Stats & Information, the Bears blitzed on only nine of Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo's 51 attempts. On 42 attempts against the Bears' four-man rush, Romo threw two interceptions and had a 71.7 passer rating. The Bears didn't have a sack, and they gave up 410 yards along with 23 receptions. But they created three turnovers and should be more than satisfied after holding the Cowboys to 20 points. This trend bodes well for the Bears' immediate defensive future. They blitzed 30 percent of the time in Week 1 against the Detroit Lions, and 17.6 percent Sunday. If they can maintain those low numbers over time, allowing them to show a balanced front to opponents, it will give them a huge advantage.
- As you might recall, I wasn't a big fan of the Bears' chest-beating after their 19-14 victory against the Detroit Lions in Week 1. But from what I can tell, they were much more humble in Sunday's victorious locker room. "It's one game," said middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, according to Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. Center Olin Kreutz said he was worried only about "being 2-0 and playing Green Bay next." As much fun as it can be for the media and fans, the good teams let their play speak for themselves. It appears the Bears made a sensible shift in that direction.
Kevin SeifertThe Chicago Bears take their turn in the examination room after beating Dallas.
How in the world did Cutler and the Bears survive with Frank Omiyale (!) playing most of the game at left tackle? Omiyale was a bust as a left guard last season and hasn't exactly proved himself at right tackle this year. But when Williams was injured, the Bears eventually decided their best option was to move Omiyale over and insert Kevin Shaffer at right tackle. Credit goes across the board for making this work, starting with Omiyale and Shaffer. Martz adjusted his play-calling to include shorter dropbacks, and offensive line coach Mike Tice patched it together from there. I guess. I mean, really. If someone had told you last month that Frank Omiyale would play left tackle for the Bears in a victory at Dallas, what would you have said?