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redeyechicago.com

Welcome to the Bears' buffet of big-boy offense

Steve Rosenbloom

The RosenBlog

4:46 PM CDT, September 9, 2012

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Mr. Negative would focus on Jay Cutler’s pick-6 and the offensive line’s ineptitude on the first two series against a bad team’s new 3-4 defense.

Mr. Negative might point out the bad tackling -- non-existent, really -- on a couple 18-yard runs by Indianapolis’ Donald Brown on first downs, the second of which reached the end zone one drive after the Bears offense moved out to a 10-point lead.

Mr. Negative could grouse about the inconsistent pass rush that gave Andrew Luck too much time too often.

But Stevie Sunshine is here, and he’s here to talk about the Bears piling up almost 300 yards in the first half. The Bears, the first half, do you hear me? This, mind you, came even after two miserable drives to open the game.

Stevie Sunshine is here to talk about the Bears offense hitting 30 points one drive into the second half, a series that featured a 20-yard blast of pain from Michael Bush and two six-yard dancing, spinning runs by Matt Forte.

What’s more, the Bears ran a three-minute offense to close the first half that featured something else that big-boy offenses are known for: yards after the catch.

Cutler hit Marshall for 12, half of which seemed to come after Marshall caught the ball. Then Earl Bennett did even better on a 25-yarder, running for about 10 yards down to the 1 after grabbing a pass in the middle of the field. Alshon Jeffery spun for more yards that led to that first score of the second half.

Here’s another thing: The Bears’ first four touchdowns came in the red zone, another facet of legitimate big-boy offenses. In fact, each of the first six scoring drives reached the red zone, and when they didn’t, Cutler hit Jeffery with a 42-yard bomb to finish the Bears’ 41-21 strafing of the Indianapolis Colts.

Oh, wait, don’t forget this: back-shoulder throws. Cutler has been looking for a big receiver to give him that option, and certainly the 6-foot-5 Marshall does that.

And he did that.

Heck, Marshall did just about everything, catching nine passes for 119 yards and a score, not to mention drawing attention and pass interference penalties. Marshall was dangerous. He made almost everybody else dangerous, too. That was the plan all along.

Wait, before I forget, here’s something else: 80-yard drives. The Bears mounted three of them in the opener after managing only eight in 16 games last season.

Led by Cutler’s 333 yards and two touchdowns on 21-of-35 passing, the Bears offense showed just about every dangerous weapon we expected. It unveiled the kind of attack that Super Bowl contenders must have.

I realize this was the plan all along. I know the Bears loaded up the offensive skill positions. But to see the explosion was impressive, and no little relief after a wonky exhibition season that again exposes the fraud of the exhibition season.

Sure, Mr. Negative might complain about the Bears’ getting only two field goals off four turnovers, and he should gripe about a lack of production on first down. Third down, too.

On the other side of the ball, Mr. Negative could crab about some bad coverage of Reggie Wayne, and he would scream about an inconsistent pass rush and yelp about the defense getting shredded on 77- and 80-yard drives.

Yeah, Mr. Negative could find things to carp about in a game against the league’s worst team last season that started a rookie quarterback. But it’s likely there will be time enough for that.

Perhaps as soon as Thursday night in Green Bay.