Saturday, November 20, 2010

Bears are 7-3...No, Really

The Bears went down to Miami and shut out the Dolphins in a game that featured physical play that reminded me of the famed Bears teams from the mid-80s (notice I resisted actually comparing them to a specific Bears Super Bowl winning team). While many of us have been howling at moon about the infuriatingly inconsistent play of the offense, the defense has continued to improve over the past month. Some could say the Bears took advantage of a beat-up Miami team that was starting its third-string QB. That's true. But, the key point is that they DID take advantage of these things. Good teams do that.

Peppers played like a man possessed all night long, and Izzy continues to play at a very high level. I was also impressed with the play of Henry Melton, who shows flashes of true ability. Rod Marinelli has done an excellent job of putting his players in positions to be successful, and they are responding. I still worry about the secondary at times, but the Cover-2 can function well without dominating players back there, especially if the front seven continues to play as fast as they did against the Dolphins.

The offense still hasn't found its groove yet. They've shown occasional explosiveness, but on Thursday they played physical, efficient, hard-nosed football. The passing stats weren't pretty, and Cutler made three more bad decisions. But, the running game was good and Cutler was great on third down. Martz continues to dial back the offense in favor of something more important than gaudy stats...winning. Wow. What a novel concept. Maybe old dogs can learn new tricks. Really, though, I think Martz realizes that his career was resurrected by Lovie and company. He may actually be showing some loyalty. Or, Lovie has shown true leadership by putting the screws the Martz and demanding a running game. Either way, I didn't see this coming after the Seahawks and Redskins debacles.

The Bears will be tested next week against an explosive Eagles team. If they can beat them or even hang with them, then the Bears bandwagon will start to fill-up quickly. Sure, this team has its holes, mostly on offense, but their defense is for real and their special teams is top notch. I say grab your seat now. It's going to be a fun ride down the stretch.

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