The 2010 Chicago Bears are an enigma wrapped inside a riddle. I no longer understand this team. They pretty much dismantled the Vikings even with a missed field goal, a horrible Jay Cutler interception in the red zone, and 11 penalties. I predicted the Vikings to win by four, but I thought I was being optimistic. Instead, the Bears won by 14. Ridiculous. The offense was converting third downs, protecting the quarterback, and even running the football a little bit. Martz called a great game, and the defense was dominant. Wow. I'm stunned. I'm not ready to buy Super Bowl tickets yet, but this game definitely makes me feel more optimistic about the rest of the season. I promised I would let the "gray cloud of pessimism" lift if the Bears won. Well, I'm going to keep my word.
The Bears defense is good enough to take this team deep into the playoffs assuming, of course, the offense can continue its recent improvements. They are flying to the football, jamming up running lanes, and getting hits on the quarterback, even if the sacks aren't coming. The secondary had two awful blown coverages against the Vikings, but they were anomalies in an otherwise great performance. They held Adrian Peterson to three yards per carry, which is an amazing feat. Peppers and Idonije both had great games and the entire linebacking corps did a fantastic job of getting Peterson to the ground. They held the Vikings to 240 yards of total offense. Again, a dominating performance.
When is Dave Toub going to get a head coaching opportunity? His special teams consistently make a positive impact on Bears games. I don't know whose idea it was to put Hester back on kickoff returns, but it was brilliant. Hester averaged 50 yards on his two returns. Plus, Rashied Davis had a huge, heads up return when the Vikings kicked it short. It didn't look like Davis was surprised at all to have the ball in his hands, which is a credit to Toub's coaching. His special teams are always prepared. Hester also averaged 23.5 yards on his punt returns. Anyone else ok with Hester missing some snaps on offense if he keeps doing this on special teams?
Jay Cutler had a great game outside of one horrible, awful, disgusting, puke-inducing interception in the end zone. His throw to Olsen on the first touchdown was so good it hurt. His ability to escape the pocket, roll out, and find an open receiver has really helped take some pressure of the much maligned offensive line. But, what I really liked, is how poised he was in the pocket. The few times the Vikings had pressure, he either stepped up, rolled out, or stood tall and delivered the ball down the field. He didn't look skittish, which is a testament to the improvement the Bears offensive line has shown over the past two weeks. If the line continues to improve or at least play as well down the stretch as it has the past two games, the Bears might make a playoff run. I didn't think I'd be writing those words after the debacles against the Giants, Seahawks, and Redskins.
It's a good day to be a Bears fan, and I'm a little more optimistic about this team.