Oh, so THOSE are the Bears we thought we were getting this year. It was awesome of them to show up.
That was fantastic. It's hard to think of a Bears game in recent memory that was more complete, against a talented opponent, in a hostile environment. The Bears played good defense, they played smartly on offense, and they set up the Cowboys early in order to open up the playbook later. It was exactly who we thought they'd be before this year, and I'm really glad to see them put it all together.
This was a big win. The Bears now sit atop the NFC North (with the Vikings. We'll see how that works out) and are set up pretty well. They get Jacksonville, a bye, and a porous Lions secondary at home in the next three weeks. Things are looking up.
On with the details:
Jay Cutler: Man. You know, as frustrating as it is to watch Jay struggle like he did against Green Bay, the criticism is sometimes more understandable when he has nights like tonight. When you see him pick apart what had been the #1 pass defense in the NFL and make it look so easy, you can't help but wonder why he can't do this every night. Jay was absolutely phenomenal tonight, completing 18 of 24 passes for 275 yards and 2 TDs, with zero interceptions. He averaged over 11 yards per attempt and a whopping 15 yards per completion. He evaded the rush most of the night and made plays inside and outside the pocket. He was, frankly, as perfect as he's ever been.
The Offensive Line: Yes, there were 2 sacks (one of which was totally on Jay, and I'll admit that), but for the most part they kept Jay clean and they kept the run game going. It wasn't easy, and it wasn't entirely effective, but they kept the team out of 2nd and 3rd and long and gave them a chance to function. I'll take it. I'm especially proud of J'Marcus Webb, who got beat only once by Ware and didn't false start or hold for the first time since seemingly ever.
The Secondary: They were where they were supposed to be all night, and the result was four interceptions, one each for Tillman,and DJ Moore, and two for Major Wright, who is really developing into the playmaker the Bears told us he was going to be. The usual meatballs may make some fuss over Romo having over 300 yards passing, but the secondary made the plays they had to make on a night when the defensive line was struggling to get home.
Lance Briggs: Oh, that was just fucking awesome.
Brandon Marshall: 7 receptions, 138 yards, 1 TD. The question before the game was whether Marshall could beat the Cowboys vaunted new secondary. He destroyed them, and it wasn't even close. Real receivers are incredible.
Kellen Davis: Woah. Who pissed in his Wheaties? Davis had 3 catches for 62 yards, all of them nice grabs. This is important. If he can develop as a viable outlet for Cutler, this offense will take a huge step forward.
Devin Hester: He finally did what he should be able to do with Marshall drawing all of that attention: he burned a defender in single coverage and caught a beautiful TD. Awesome.
The Defensive Line: This was hardly a bad effort. They only got one sack, but they hurried Romo all night and played a huge role in the 5 picks, but, hey, someone's gotta be on this side of the ledger, and 1 sack is low by their already high standards.
Tony Romo: His protection was actually decent for most of the night. He made some great throws outside the pocket, he was hurt by drops, but, holy shit. Those were just awful, awful interceptions.
That's all for now. It's always hard to close the book on a big Bears win like this. Sunday can't get here fast enough. Go Bears.