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Bears Mon Oct 08 2012

Tillman, Briggs Score Again as Bears Dominate

Thumbnail image for GB bears icon.pngIf you weren't able to catch the 41-3 shellacking of the Jaguars, but happened to have the Cowboys game from last week still on your DVR, just watch from the second quarter on, and it will pretty much mimic the second half of yesterday's game.

Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs became the first teammates in NFL history to record interception returns for touchdowns in consecutive games, and Brandon Marshall caught another touchdown pass amid his 12 snags to lead the Bears. The postgame was filled with sentences that started with "This is the first time since..." They did what they were supposed to against a less talented team.

The first half was a different story altogether though. Stalled drives, questionable play calling, and lack of pressure by the defensive line were the reasons why the word "upset" was being whispered. If you let an inferior team hang around at home like the Bears did, there is a good chance the game could get stolen away at the end. But the offense didn't let that happen (along with the suffocating defense), scoring all four times they touched the ball after the break.

Mike Tice was under the microscope this week to see if he could follow-up his brilliant performance in Dallas six days prior. The first drive proved that he still has issues to iron out. After running with Forte the first two plays to set up a 3rd-and-1, Cutler was, for reasons unknown, lined up in the shotgun. The Bears ran the football effectively on first and second down, and also gave Michael Bush a $12 million dollar contract during the offseason for these situations specifically. Instead, the snap was rolled back to Cutler, and with a defender honing in, he tried to force a ball to Marshall that was intercepted. Thankfully, the defense was there to bail them out and force a punt.

Despite putting up 14 points defensively, the unit wasn't perfect. The line got little pressure in the first half (but turned it around with three sacks in the second half, two from Corey Wooten), and a few miscues by the corners and safeties luckily didn't amount to points for Jacksonville. Brian Urlacher still doesn't look like his normal self, but they've been just fine without him. He said it best last week when asked if he liked playing the Cover-2. He said he doesn't because it limits what he gets to do, and he's right. His main responsibility is the deep middle, and to filter run plays to the other backers. They haven't needed him playing his best, but that will change when the schedule tightens up in November.

The biggest issue continues to be the offensive line. J'Marcus Webb played his second consecutive solid game (and when I say solid for Webb, I mean he gave up less than two sacks and committed less than two penalties), but the problem stems from Gabe Carimi on the opposite side. A holding penalty, two false starts (that turned a touchdown chance into a field goal), and a sack allowed would probably land him on the bench for a number of teams. But he's a first round pick, and the Bears are incredibly thin at tackle, so they can't afford to punish him. The offense can't afford to put a tight end on both sides to help each tackle, so one of them has to figure things out.

The Bears head into the Bye with a 4-1 record to tie for the division lead with the Vikings, but it's not time to book playoff tickets quite yet. The combined record of the Bears' opponents thus far is 10-13, and only one of them owns an above-.500 record (Rams, shockingly). Could what we've seen from the Bears so far be a testament to how easy the schedule has been? Perhaps, but as the saying goes, you can't do anything but beat the teams you're scheduled to play.

 
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