I don't think any of us would have been surprised if we were told before the game that this would be the final. But the way the Bears went about getting there was interesting to say the least. In the first half they gained 191 yards of total offense but bumbled their way to to a 3-3 tie thanks to a dumb interception, several dumb penalties, and failures on third down. On defense, we all fell for the stupid trap of ranting against the Bears defensive line when they failed to get pressure on Gabbert after the Jaguars starting in the quick passing game, but they, of course, kept the Jaguars from threatening to score any TDs and eventually forced Jacksonville to take chances, which, of course, led to Gabbert turnovers.
In the second half, however, just like last week, the Bears started with a long drive on offense, got two defensive scores, and then simply dominated on offense the rest of the way. In the end they finished with over 500 yards of offense, a 100 yard rusher, a 100 yard receiver, 41 points, two defensive touchdowns, 3 sacks, and just 189 yards allowed on defense. Those are the kinds of numbers you want to take into a bye week, where the Bears will sit tied atop the standings with Minnesota. Oh, and Green Bay blew a 21-3 halftime lead to lose to the Colts. Eat shit, Cheeseheads.
To the breakdown:
Offensive Linemen not Named Gabe Carimi: Webb, Rachal, Garza, and Louis allowed no sacks, had just 1 penalty, and paved the way for 500 yards of offense and 214 yards rushing. Good job, guys. Amazing what this offense can do when these guys keep Jay clean.
Brandon Marshall: 12 receptions, 144 yards, 1 TD. He's got 496 yards receiving and is currently on pace for over 1500 yards and 10 TDs. We've never seen anything close to this guy.
Matt Forte and Michael Bush: the thunder and lightning combo combined for 133 yards rushing (107 by Forte) and averaged over 5 yards per carry. They also had 46 combined receiving yards, including one awesome first down by Bush where he hurtled a defender. Props to Armando Allen (c'mon, you thought that was Garrett Wolfe, too) for his touchdown run as well.
Charles Tillman: The all time leader in defensive touchdowns for the oldest franchise in NFL history. Nothing more needs to be said.
Lance Briggs: a sack, an interception, a TD for the straight week. He's kind of good at this.
Corey Wootton: Another couple of sacks for Corey, who has 3.5 this year. His development has really helped this team. If you can take out Peppers and Idonije and still throw Wootton and McClellin at teams, that's tough to stop.
Jay Cutler: After a brutal interception on the first pass of the game, Jay settled down nicely. He struggled with communication with his receivers in the first half, but in the second half, for the second straight week, he was dominant, completing 13 of 19 for 182 yards and 2 TDs. Nice way to go into the bye. Hopefully he can start out hot in two weeks against Detroit.
Gabe Carimi: After all of the grief we've given Webb this year, it's time to acknowledge that Carimi hasn't exactly been stellar in pass protection. He gave up the only sack today and killed a drive with back to back penalties. Have to be better than that, Gabe.
Blaine Gabbert: I've been railing about how bad Gabbert is since before he even came out of college, but man, he's even worse up close. He's scared, he hurries throws for no reason, never seems to step correctly into throws, and looked lost anytime they asked him to throw more than 5 yards downfield. He finished 17/33 (51.5%) for 142 yards (4.3 YPA), 0 TDs, 2 INTs, and a 37.7 rating. Woof.
That's all for now. Hopefully Alshon Jeffery is okay since he had to leave the game with a hand injury (nice job hanging on for the TD anyway, Alshon), but all in all the Bears enter the bye in generally good health, off of three big wins (by the way, those blowouts of the Rams and Colts are looking a bit more impressive now, aren't they?) with all of the momentum in the world and a spot at the top of the standings. Things don't get much better than this.