The Bears handled business in usual fashion en route to a 20-10 victory against the punch-less Kansas City Chiefs. The defense and special teams led the way with two turnovers and a punt return TD by Devin Hester on yet another day when the offense struggled to get anything going. This game should have been a blowout statement game but instead it was still in question late in the fourth quarter when Charles Tillman forced a fumble to ice the game. It's probably not too early to worry about the Bears chances for a return super bowl trip with the way the offense is playing and the improved play of the rest of the NFC North. The way they are playing right now will not get the job done so lets hope for some improvement against the Cowboys next week.
Aside from a 79 yard TD drive at the end of the 1st quarter the entire offense looked bad. Rex Grossman led the crap display with a sloppy 20/34 for 160 yards 1TD and 2 INT performance. The TD came on a short pass to OL eligible John St. Clair in a surprising bit of trickery from Ron Turner. He did not look comfortable or confident when dropping back to pass and both interceptions were bad throws on short passes. The pass protection wasn't great but he had plenty of opportunities to make plays and didn't. Teams are going to continue to load the line of scrimmage against the run if Rex doesn't find a way to connect on some deep passes. Bernard Berrian was a non-factor most of the night with the exception of fumbling at the end of a nice play to end the Bears first possession. Moose had a nice dropped pass to put another nail in Grossman's coffin as well.
Ced Benson had a respectable if unexciting performance tallying 101 yards on 24 carries. He ran hard most of the night and showed better patience and vision than he did against the Chargers. Even better, he held on to the ball all night and was visibly protecting it against the strip. Peterson carried the ball twice for 9 yards and recovered his own fumble on one of those carries. If he wants to see the field he is going to have to do a better job at tucking the damn ball away. The OL did a better job opening holes from last week but I still believe they can do much better. The Bears should have been able to run the ball all night at will but it didn't happen. Perhaps Ron Turner should have thought about that before calling 37 pass plays to only 26 rushes?
The run defense was stout for the second week in a row against a very good running back in Larry Johnson. He picked up 55 yards on 16 carries while not being a factor most of the game. The pass rush added four sacks with two going to Tommie Harris and one a piece to Briggs and Urlacher. Tommie Harris continues to be a dominant factor on almost every play while showing no ill effects from that terrible hamstring injury from last year. Briggs also continued to be a tackling machine with 11 tackles in a truly solid performance. Israel Idonijie blocked a field goal to mark the second week in a row for the Bears.
The best part of the defense though might have to be the game Charles Tillman put together. He broke up a key pass in the end-zone with a beautiful deflection that Daniel Manning caught to end a Chiefs drive. Then he iced the game with a sweet strip of Michael Bennett late in the fourth. It was only a few years ago after the playoff loss to the Panthers that Tillman was on the hot seat. Now he and Vasher are looking like one of the best CB tandems in the league.
ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Devin Hester did it again. Almost twice. He returned a punt 73 yards for a TD early in the second quarter to give the bears a 17-0 lead. Then he did it again later returning a kick off 95 yards for a TD that was called back due to a holding penalty. It boggles my mind that teams are still willing to kick to Hester. If he keeps getting the ball, he will score another 4-5 TDs this year. Robbie Gould hit his only two FG attempts of the day and pulled punting duties late in the game after back-up punter Nobody Johnson was injured late in the game after filling in for sore-groin Brad Maynard who should be back next week.
It was a win that should have been over in the second quarter but instead the Bears let the Chiefs make a game of it. Great teams put weak opponents away early. I worry about the mental toughness of this team and hope the coaches are working on the same. The Packer, Lions and Vikings all look better than originally thought and the NFC north may not be the cake walk we all thought. The Bears will get a good test against a strong Cowboy team next Sunday night. I think the Bears offense wakes up and leads the beloved to a 30-24 victory on prime time TV.
P.S. - JoJo, your QB is worse than ours. 50% and 4 INTs is not going to win many games.....