11:12 PM CDT, October 16, 2011
First minute of the game, and it was the Bears’ defense calling a timeout. That’s one fewer timeout the offense can waste, at least.
No, wait, remarkably, they weren’t needed.
Jay Cutler used play-action to hit Devin Hester for a 48-yard touchdown. Bears, 7-0 less than three minutes into the game. Great call. Great protection. Great execution. No headphone issues. Whoever stole the Bears offense can keep it.
Not only did Roy Williams catch some big passes, but Marion Barber scored untouched on first-and-goal. Yeah, those guys. Can the Bears play the Vikings the rest of the season?
But you know what? This was the Bears offensive line doing business.
Offensive coordinator Mike Martz altered his game plan somewhat, giving Cutler max protection more, and Cutler turned that time into two touchdowns.
Matt Forte needed holes, and he got them, too. It was Forte off the edge, Forte up the middle, Forte getting paid.
The line allowed the Bears offense to play quicker, smarter and better. The new-yet-again offensive line.
Lance Louis started at right tackle, while Chris Spencer, broken hand and all, took over right guard. Not a false-start from those guys. In fact, the Bears false-started only once, and by then it was just about over, much like Frank Omiyale’s Bears career.
You didn’t hear Brian Robison’s name much, which tells you what kind of game Louis had playing out of position.
You did hear Jared Allen’s name when he sacked Cutler, stripped the ball and recovered the fumble to start the second half. That would’ve been the time for the Bears to end things. They had the ball, a 23-point lead, and momentum.
Instead they gave a bad team delusions.
But after the touchdown, Hester abused the Vikings the way he has his entire career. That’s what the Vikings get for scoring.
Hester was the dazzle. The offensive line was where it was won. Yeah the backs and tight ends provided help, but against a fierce defensive line, the Bears’ offensive line had a game.
For one week, anyway.
Adrian Peterson had 16 yards on eight carries in the first half. The Bears called Donovan McNabb’s bluff.
The Bears sacked McNabb five times, two by Julius Peppers. Playing on a bad knee beats playing on a bad team.
And with that kind of pressure, the new kids starting at safety don’t matter much.
Chris Harris went from starting safety to goat to second string to inactive, all in less than a week. That’s about as athletic as Bears safeties get.
The defense was so good that you didn’t notice it smothered the Vikings without taking away the ball. Lovie Smith’s defense is built on takeaways, but winning a game where it lost that battle is a tribute to the Bears’ tackling -- gang-tackling again -- and trusting that the next guy would be in his gap and do his job.
Of course, if the Vikings hadn’t dropped two third-down passes on their first two possessions, it might’ve been different -- the game would’ve been over in the third quarter instead of halftime.
Marcus Sherels fair-caught a punt at his 5, and two plays later, Brian Urlacher and Stephen Paea sacked McNabb for a safety. Dumb and bad is how you came in losing our of your first five games.
Wait, Stephen Paea? If he could play, why wasn’t he playing before this?
The Vikings came out of the two-minute timeout in the first half and lined up for a field goal. Then they called timeout to go for it on fourth-and-3 at the Bears’ 15. Then they false-started. Back to the field-goal try. Ryan Longwell missed badly. Dumn and bad is how you go out losing five of your first six games.
Can the Bears play the Vikings the rest of the season?
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