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Friday, September 24

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Bears Mon Nov 02 2009

Footballic Ramblings: Defense Leads the Way in Bears Win

On a day when the Bears were sporting their "Halloween" jerseys, with the spirit and memories of "Sweetness" buzzing throughout Soldier Field, the Bears defense took charge of the game and brutalized an awful Cleveland offense, forcing five turnovers on the day and scoring one touchdown. Granted, the Browns are not an NFL-caliber team this season [I'm thinking middle-of-pack Big Ten team --Ed.] still, the win still counts and for the Bears it was a step in the right direction after dropping two rather resounding decisions to the Falcons and Bengals.

If only the Bears could play a team like the Browns every Sunday. The Bears defense was forcing turnovers and pressuring Derek Anderson all game long (though they only managed one sack). On the other side of the ball, Jay Cutler found five different receivers against the hapless Browns secondary, while Matt Forte and Garret Wolfe, whilst channeling their inner-Walter Payton, got serious about this "run game" against one of the league's most rush friendly defenses.

However even in the win one of the underlying problems with the Bears all season long was still there. Namely, the Jay-Bot 5000 was sacked four times and hit another seven times and once again the offensive line is too blame. Protection has been a huge issue all season long and it's a disturbing sign that the Bears could not create more time for Cutler against a very average Browns pass rush. On the plus side, the usually flammable secondary was sporting asbestos cleats or just playing against the ghastly QB duo of Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn who were a combined 7/20 with an average of 3.7 yards per pass, and yes, that's less than the Browns' average yards per rush of 4.0. Wow. That's bad. In any case, the secondary was at its opportunistic best, ripping two dying quail lobs from the lakeshore skies and returning one for a touchdown.

The only bright spot for the Browns was their dynamo/bottled lightning wideout and return specialist, Joshua Cribbs, taking six kickoffs back for a total of 137 yards against a usually decent Bears special teams.

For the Bears the win was a step in the right direction, but the issues are still there. The o-line is not performing, the running game though decent, should've been shredding the Browns like an enraged water buffalo. Cutler, for the first time all season, did not throw a single touchdown and the Bears had to settle for three first half field goals after three drives stalled in the Browns' red zone. Next week the Bears are facing a very dangerous Arizona Cardinals team and that game will be much more of a measuring stick than this "second bye week" against Cleveland. Problems still abound, but Chicago is back in the win column.

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