NFC North: 2013 Week 1 CIN at CHI
September, 8, 2013
By Michael C. Wright | ESPN.com
CHICAGO -- Here are a few quick thoughts on the Chicago Bears’ 24-21 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
What it means: With the Bears behind 21-17, Jay Cutler engineered an eight-play, 81-yard drive and hit Brandon Marshall for the go-ahead 19-yard touchdown. Cutler completed 3 of 4 passes for 63 yards, and scrambled for an 18-yard gain. That drive should give Cutler’s teammates confidence in his ability to lead in crunch time, while giving the quarterback belief in Marc Trestman’s offense.
Record-setting Gould: Robbie Gould blasted a team-record 58-yard field goal with 13 seconds remaining in the first half, which is precisely what a kicker should be doing in a contract year. Gould’s previous best kick was a 57-yarder hit in 2011.
Dating back to 2010, Gould has made 11 consecutive field-goal attempts from 50-plus yards. Gould is now 14-of-18 on field goals of 50-plus yards.
In the final year of his contract, Gould expressed disappointment at training camp about the team’s decision to not sign players to extensions during the season.
Pressure please? The Bengals converted 70 percent of third downs through the first three quarters, as Andy Dalton tossed a pair of touchdown passes. The one missing stat came from Chicago’s side, and it showed exactly why the Bengals experienced so much success on offense.
The Bears simply failed to pressure Dalton, who despite throwing two interceptions, finished the first three quarters with a passer rating of 97.2. Chicago didn’t register a single hit on the quarterback in the first three quarters, as Dalton carved up the secondary for 257 yards on 23-of-29 passing.
But the Bears delivered with the game on the line, holding on to a 24-21 lead over the final eight minutes.
Shea McClellin dropped Dalton for a 5-yard loss, which basically short-circuited Cincinnati’s potential comeback drive in the fourth quarter.
Gutsy effort by Tillman: Cornerback Charles Tillman picked off two passes, but he had an up-and-down day against A.J. Green, who finished the game with a pair of touchdown receptions. Not only did Tillman struggle at times against Green; the cornerback also suffered from dehydration.
Tillman vomited at least twice on the sideline prior to leaving the game late in the second quarter. Tillman re-entered after halftime, and played the rest of the way.
What’s next: The Bears will take a couple of days off before returning to Halas Hall to begin preparations Wednesday for the matchup against NFC North foe Minnesota.