Any time the offense wants to play a first half, fine by me

Chicago Tribune sports columnist Steve Rosenbloom discusses the Bears lackluster offense in the first half during Sunday's win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. (Posted on: Oct. 8, 2012)

Who figured it would be this painful to watch the Bears' offense after the season-opener against the Colts?

They looked like they could pass. They always could run the ball. All the toys worked.

Then they couldn’t pass with any rhythm and couldn’t run enough to dominate a game, or wouldn’t commit to it. Who has more D-cell batteries?

I don’t know what the offense was trying to do in the first half against Jacksonville on Sunday. I do know it was aggravating.

A delay-of-game penalty. A string of third downs that weren’t converted. An interception. An odd call call on third-and-short. Geez, how were the Bears tied at 3 at halftime?

I don’t care if it’s on the road. Answer me.

Charles Tillman changed the game with another pick-6. The interception return for the second straight game was a terrific testament to his career, but he’s not supposed to have more touchdowns than his offense.

Mercifully, the Bears showed some life in the second half again, mounting a long drive that was sabotaged by Gabe Carimi’s false-starts and finally getting into the end zone on a slant to Alshon Jeffery.

But it shouldn’t take a half to figure this out the way it has the last two weeks. It shouldn’t look this clunky. We shouldn’t feel this frustrated.

The win might get the players some extra days off heading into the off week, but that’s not what the offense needs. The offense needs practice.

In fact, this game should’ve looked like a practice. The Jags have a bad defense, ranking in the bottom five against the pass and the run. They came in with two sacks. They had allowed six rushing touchdowns. They gave up an average of more than 250 yards in the air and 150 on the ground. It should’ve been all you can eat out of the playbook.

Matt Forte averaged 5.7 yards a carry in the first half, but the Bears only ran him 10 times. Weren’t the Bears talking about committing to the run last week?

I know Cutler loves Brandon Marshall -- and he loved the big wideout for 12 catches, 144 yards and a score -- but other guys can play. Other guys need to play better, starting with Cutler.

Cutler didn’t look sharp early again. He played like a stud late again.

In the first two quarters, Cutler was 10-for-20 for 110 yards and an interception. Third down was a toxic waste dump.

But in the first 22 minutes that mattered in the second half, Cutler was 13-for-19 for 189 yards and two touchdowns. On third and fourth downs, he was 7-for-8 for more than 100 yards and a touchdown.

Here’s the deal: A good team will make you pay for such early erratic play.

You can’t always depend on a second-half rally, even if you’re a streak shooter.

You won’t always get two defensive touchdowns, even if that’s the norm the last two games.

Start sooner, OK? Is that too much to ask?

CHICAGO

More

Five on Five