This week the Chicago Bears hosted the Indianapolis Colts. They weren't very hospitable, handing out a 41-21 butt-kicking. It was a terrific way to start the season as a Bear fan!
Unfortunately this game also has a lot of "but"s to it.
We were playing the Indianapolis Colts. Yes, we lost in the Superbowl to them 6 years ago, but that was an entirely different team. The team we played this week was a rebuilding team that only won 2 games last year. In fact, it's why they have the number one draft pick, Andrew Luck as their quarterback. They were the worst team in the entire league last year. The Colts also lost one of their best pass rushers to an injury early in the first quarter. The final thing was that our defense looked amazing, BUT they were playing against a rookie quarterback.
So, keeping all of that in mind, here's my take.
Andrew Luck isn't Peyton Manning, but he is a great quarterback. Or at least he will be. Right now he's not bad, but he's going to take a while to get used to the speed of playing in the NFL. He made some great throws, but he also made a lot of mistakes and our defense capitalized on them. Not to short them at all. We still had to make those plays and we did. My favorite was the tipped interception in the end-zone with about a 25 yard return.
Brian Urlacher didn't make any huge plays on his own, but his presence on the field makes the defense better. When he was in, we were repeatedly forcing the Colts to go 3 and out. When coach Lovie Smith took him out early into the 3rd quarter, our defense became noticeably softer. I'm glad he did it so that Brian could rest his knee a bit with the Thursday game looming, but it was a stark reminder that Nick Roach, passable as he may be, is no true replacement for number 54.
The offense was...fun to watch this game, but I'm not sold that that's how all games are going to go. They started off very rocky. Cutler started 1 for 9 with a pick 6 against him. That's not the way this new explosive offense was supposed to look. They got much better and eventually put 41 points on the board, but that rough start has me a little worried. I'm not sure exactly when Dwight Freeney (their primary pass-rusher) went down, but I really wish hadn't. I would have preferred a good test for our offensive line the entire game instead of a weakened one. Other writers have praised J'Marcus Webb for his play for the majority of that game, but he was facing second string players. It will be a different story Thursday against Clay Matthews. Now, that's not at all saying that the offense was all due to that one injury. Jay Cutler has once again shown that when he has time to throw, he is one hell of a quarterback. He spread the ball around well even with sending 15 passes towards Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery continues to show us that he was a steal as a second round pick, and Michael Bush and Matt Forte showed us how great having two starting caliber running backs can be.
All in all, it was a terrific way to start the season and I'm very much looking forward to Thursday's game in Green Bay. If (or dare I say when) we beat Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on their home turf, not only will the questions surrounding both the offense and defense will be answered, not only will we be in first place in our division with a 2-0 record, but we will have forced our biggest rivals to start 0-2 AT HOME. That would be a HUGE step toward a great season. I'm looking forward to what should be a very exciting game.