Opponent: New Orleans Saints
Record: 3-2 (1-1)
2-2 (1-0) Green Bay Packers
1-3 (0-2) Minnesota Vikings (Bye Week)
3-2 (2-1) Detroit Lions
I may have mentioned this before, but now that the bye weeks have started, I'm not really going to talk about the division standings. The whole "half game" thing just gets too convoluted for my taste. Besides, by week 9, we'll have a better overall idea of how teams are actually doing.
This week the Bears again lost by 8 points, but this one wasn't as painful to watch as last week. The team looked much better than they did against the Lions despite some early bumps.
This would be where the early bumps were. On the offense's first play Matt Forte dropped the ball...literally. Cutler pitched it to him and it just slipped through his fingers. Starting out 2nd and 20 on your own 10 yard line is no way to start the game. 3 and out. The next possession started with a fumble causing sack where the offense failed to adjust properly for a blitz. Cutler is included and possibly most at fault for this. Long story short, the Bears started out way too slow against a very good Saints team and were behind the rest of the game. The offense really started to click after about the first 22 minutes of play, but you can't come to play 2/3 of a game and expect to win against a good team. One particularly bright spot though, was Alshon Jeffery. He set a new Bears' receiving record with 218 yards on 10 receptions. Let other teams be warned, if you continue to double cover Brandon Marshall, we have a #2 receiver who is more than capable of stepping up.
The defense looked much better this week. Their tackling was much improved, they held the Saints to a season low 347 yards (yes, that's their low), and did not give up nearly as many big plays as they have been the last couple of games. The one big slip that I noticed was Lance Briggs falling for a hard count on 4th and 1 where the Saints probably weren't actually going for it. He's a veteran player and knows better than that. The other thing that was less than ideal is that the Bears did not generate any takeaways, but Drew Brees is one of the more accurate QBs in the league so it's not so worrisome.
The Saints did a good job of not letting Hester do much in the return game. He had very few opportunities and he played smart by not trying to force anything. Adam Podlesh was much better today and we never gave up field position due to special teams play.
Overall the team looked better than they did in week 4, but the offense needs to do more to get rolling sooner. Punting from your own 20 yard line to start the game just sets a bad tone and forces you to play from behind all day. One other thing I have noticed is that Cutler seems to play better when he's in a hurry. I almost wonder if trying to play a no-huddle type of offense would benefit him. Next week (tomorrow) the Giants come to town. They are 0-5 and even though they have some great players and coaches, the Bears should be able to get back on the right track and make them 0-6. BEAR DOWN!