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Monday, November 7, 2011

Bears 30, Eagles 24- Dangerous

Dangerous. That's what the Bears are if they play the kind of football on both sides of the ball that they played tonight for the rest of the season. The final score is misleading, even, as two incredibly rare fumbles by Matt Forte spotted the Eagles 14 points they'd have had a hard time coming by otherwise. The offensive line finally gave Cutler his first game without a sack since the first half of 2009. Matt Forte, despite his uncharacteristic turnovers, dominated once again with 133 yards rushing. Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Julius Peppers did what you expect them to do by containing Michael Vick, who has failed to win a single start against this team despite four tries. This is just an awesome win, perhaps the best played game we've seen from this the Cutler era, at least. Next week's another big one with Detroit at home, a rematch I'm Really looking forward to. For now, though, let's enjoy this one. Bear down.

The Good:

-Jay Cutler: I love stats, but they can be misleading. Anyone looking at Jay Cutler's 208 yds in this game might think he was merely "good," but they'd be wrong. Against an amazing secondary (and with his own batch of mediocre receivers looking less than stellar outside of the BBE), Jay played like an elite quarterback, and when everything was put on his shoulders in the fourth quarter he simply went out and won the ball game. Also, if you didn't absolutely love his improvising on the near-sack toss to Barber and the option pitch to Hester, you, sir, have no soul.

-Matt Forte: I love the guy. My inner meathead screamed after fumble number two, but the man never fumbles. It was a fluke. He did exactly what you want someone to do in that situation, meaning he went out and played like the MVP he's been. 133 rushing on 24 carries, with another 17 yards receiving, giving him 150 total yards from scrimmage. You know what's awesome? That was BELOW his season average. He's a beast. This offense is starting to come together like we haven't seen...maybe ever.

-Earl Bennett: Man, was it ever obvious how much Jay missed the BBE? The disparity between what Earl can do and what the rest of Jay's receivers can do was never more obvious than it was tonight. You have to give Asomugah and Asante Samuel credit, but Hester, Williams, and Sanzenbacher all dropped what would have been huge catches, and while Earl racked up 5 catches for 95 yds and a TD, the other four guys combined for 5 catches for 72 yards. Earl's back, bitches, and may hell take the corners attempting to stop him on third down.

-The offensive line: There are no words. Against an absolutely stacked defensive line and a team famous for blitzing, they allowed no sacks for the first time in two years. They paved the way for 164 yards rushing at 5 yards a clip. I have no idea how they can work Gabe Carimi back into the lineup with the way Lance Louis, J'Marcus Webb, and Chris Spencer are playing right now. Isn't that awesome? Three weeks ago this team was absolutely harassed in Detroit thanks to the injury to Spencer and the mere presence of Frank Omiyale, and now they can't get a guy who may technically be their most promising offensive linemen into the lineup because the rest of em are playing so well. Amazing.

-Julius Peppers: Like all of you, I let the incredibly lame Darth-Vader-at-the-end-of-Revenge-of-the-Sith* NOOOOOO escape my lungs when Julius went down. Being the man that he is, he came back in and sacked Michael Vick to end an Eagles drive on his first play back. Several times he got in Vick's way and forced throws on what normally are 20-25 yard runs for him. He also had another of his trademark jumping pass deflections. I love him. I don't care who knows it.

-Israel Idonije: Sadly two tackles are the only things that will show up on the stat sheet for Izzy, but man, he was an animal tonight. He seemingly found his way into the Eagles backfield on every play, and he forced a number of poor throws and bad decisions out of Vick. Good on ya, ya big lug.

-Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs: Honestly, I wish these two played Michael Vick every week, because he seems to get an extra level out of two guys who already have a combined 13 Pro Bowls. They combined tonight for 16 tackles and 3 pass deflections, and they once more chased Vick from sideline to sideline, limiting him to just 34 yards rushing. Stay healthy, guys. I'll always go back to Paul Allen, the Vikings' radio guy, and what he said last year: "When these two are healthy, the Chicago Bears win a lot of ball games. It's as simple as that."

-Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman: The oft and unfairly-maligned duo really got it done tonight. The Bears scoffed at the notion that they can't play man and decided to beat the shit out of Philly's receivers, daring them to break a big one. They couldn't do it because Tillman and Jennings absolutely balled tonight. When you limit the Philadelphia Eagles to 5.6 ypa and hold Maclin and Jackson to 79 yards Total, damn. That's good football.

-Lovie Smith: I've liked everything I've heard from Lovie before and after this game. He called out underperforming guys like Melton and he deactivated Anthony Adams in favor of Paea and Toeiana (it worked, considering they shutdown the run game for Philly outside of one 33 yard McCoy run). He also made the bold move of cutting Chris Harris. He took a shot at the guys in Vegas after the game when he said "the Chicago Bears should never be 8 point underdogs." I still like Lovie, no matter how often I'm told by some illogical people that I shouldn't. He had his guys prepared tonight, and it showed.

The Bad:

-Roy Williams: He dropped two passes that he had absolutely no excuse for dropping, one of which would probably have been a TD. His 3 catches all went for first downs, which is nice, but he's still frustrating as hell.

-Nothing else. This game was perfect. Absolutely perfect. It's one of those nights that leaves you absolutely dying to see them take the field next Sunday. Go Bears.

*-This reference to the Star Wars prequels was put into this recap in order to appease CT, who I'm sure was yet again disappointed that I was a no-show for the SKOscast.

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