Chicago Sun-Times

Some thoughts on Bears 30-12 victory over the Atlanta Falcons

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I picked the Bears to win, but I only projected them to win by a touchdown.

Instead, the Bears throttled the Atlanta Falcons 30-12. It was a somewhat surprising outcome, since the Falcons were one of the trendy picks do fare well in the NFC this season. Certainly, they were far more popular than the Bears, a team that I could hardly recall any analyst picking to win the NFC North, let alone even make the playoffs.

It is only one game, but the Bears made a strong statement against a talented team.

You can see my two keys and two concerns here

But, here are four other things that stood out to me:

1) The Bears key defensive unit has some depth. The defensive line really stood out, beyond the obvious reasons (five sacks, most notably). They waved seven different players into a game in which field temperatures were in the 80s. In the fourth quarter, they still looked fresh. Matt Toeaina and Henry Melton are young players they were excited about, and they both delivered. Meanwhile, older veterans like Anthony Adams, Israel Idonije and Julius Peppers made plays. But the Bears also got meaningful contributions from newcomer Amobi Okoye and Nick Reed. The latter, in fact, ensures that they don't have to rush Corey Wootton back from his minor knee surgery.

2) The Bears offensive line still concerns me. No, this unit wasn't responsible for all five of Jay Cutler's sacks. Without the benefit of a proper review, I do think Cutler held the ball too long in a couple of instances. But left tackle J'Marcus Webb had two holding penalties in the fourth quarter, and he had his hands full with John Abraham. The Falcons Pro Bowl defensive end is a handful for anyone. But Webb has to become more consistent, so Cutler can make it through the entire season. In addition, the Bears didn't do a great job of running the ball. The Falcons were 10th in rushing defense a year ago, so that can't be discounted. But the Bears need to do better than 3.3 yards per carry.

3) Matt Forte is a special player. Much has been made about where Forte fits among the NFL's elite running backs. But he made some game-changing plays against the Falcons. He bounced off linebacker Sean Weatherspoon at the 36-yard line, en route to a 56-yard touchdown in the first quarter. Then, in the third quarter, he juked Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson around the 23-yard line. So he turned what should have been a four-yard gain into a 27-yarder that helped set up another touchdown.

4) The Bears new players can be contributors. For a club that reached the NFC title game, the Bears have a lot of new faces. They have 19 new players on the 53-man roster, and several of the newcomers contributed on Sunday. Undrafted rookie Dane Sanzenbacher had a catch for six yards. Roy Williams had five catches for 55 yards, including several third-down conversions. Chris Spencer stepped in nicely for an injured Lance Louis at right guard. Tight end Matt Spaeth scored a touchdown. Fullback Tyler Clutts had some nice blocks. Punter Adam Podlesh had a very strong debut. Okoye had a sack, Reed had a defended pass. And rookies Winston Venable and Dom DeCicco had specail teams tackles.

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I think the D deserves an A for the way they played today. But I need to see the front 4 against a good line before I know how good they are. A rookie center with a week of practice, a guy playing RG who should be playing RG in the CFL and Baker sucks. Which I stated twice this week, and Armstead also mentioned the suck that is there line. Even so if Melton put's up half the pressure he did today he will have a amazing year. Peppers was an Animal, and Urlacher has really returned to form from 3 years ago. Tillman an a great game I don't here him getting the credit he deserves, woulf love to see him get an All Pro nod this year.

I agree about the O-line and Webb got abused all day and that was with help. I am wondering how bad Louis is hurt, cause they played better without him. I don't think Davis is the best TE on the team, I think he is the best reciever of the bunch but he is clearly not the best blocker. I thought Cutler had a good game but not a great game, I think he could have had a great game but the offense got out of rythem late. My biggest concern is the red zone offense, they really struggle there. Still they just dominated Atlanta, which thrills me Ryan is so over hyped, he has no deep ball, and is a dink and dunk QB and look at all his weapons. He is Orton 2.0, and I loved watching him get slapped around.

The next two weeks should be a good test for the D-Line and the O-Line will get all the blitz work they need the next two weeks. Is it me or does the North look like the toughest division in the NFC? Just crushed the south today and even the dream Queens lloked decent.

I'll take 15 more of those, please. Great game all around. Game balls to Tillman and Forte. That was a pro bowl performance by Tillman. I've said it before, Tillman has been a very good, but not necessarily great corner throughout his career, except in one category: forcing fumbles with a straight left or uppercut. In that category he belongs in the Hall of Fame. If Forte has another game like today against New Orleans, he'll have his extension by week three. And what's up with NIck Reed and "Clutts his name" (if that catches on I want full credit)? Nice finds by Angelo.

Things to work on: O-line (Webb!), Cutler getting rid of the ball sooner, Cutler's accuracy, defense gave up a lot of yards and third downs. Some of those are nitt-picky, but we can't get too carried away.

Its nice to see the Bears using a fullback this season, I don't think they even had one on the roster last year. You gotta be impressed with fullback Tyler Clutts, not just because of the nice blocks be threw, but because of the fact this guy was just signed last week, and he's already starting and making a contribution to the team. I'm sure Forte will appreciate a #44 battering ram in front of him also this season.

Tackle J'Marcus Webb wasn't flawless by any means, but was solid, especially going against one of the leagues premiere pass rushers in John Abraham. I think the heat got to Webb, literally. If you notice he got the two holding penalties late in the game, thats why I think the heat was really getting to Webb. I remember Webb getting carted off the practice field last summer because of fatigue due to the heat. What Webb needs to improve is his stamina. I think he'll be fine though, and the weather is only gonna get cooler.

And yes, Matt Forte is a special player. This guys a playmaker, theres no other way to put it. He almost had a 100 yards receiving, and that screen pass, thats one for the highlights! I'd like to see more rushing yards myself, although Forte had 68 yards on the ground with a 4.2 yard average, thats actually not that bad. You gotta take what the defense gives you, and Atlanta was out to stop the run first. The fact Chicago only had a 3.3 yard average rushing isn't great, but, part of that is because of the Sanzenbacher play that got stuffed, that hurt the numbers, and like I said, Atlanta was playing the run, and you gotta wonder, how would Marion Barber have done if he would have been healthy? Bell is solid but I think the "Barbarian" could have mustered up a few more yards. Love the win now bring on the Saints GO BEARS!!

Although the fact that this is only one game is true, I think there is definite cause for optimism. The Bears beat a solid team that was the number one seed last year. Of course there is still a lot of work to do with New Orleans and the Packers coming up, and the Packers can kind of catch their breaths at Tampa, while the Bears have to contend with Brees and the Saints. Victories against both the Saints and Packers would get the media people talking Super Bowl. Still, one game at a time is the best approach.
By the way, I was happy to see Rex Grossman have a solid game . Washington is nobody's pushover, and Rex is a good part of that. One wonders what the guy has to do to garner some respect. He is already under pressure from the washington fans.

Dude your the only one who think Webb was solid, and yeah it was JA and that is a handful, but he only played 35 snaps, and he beat Webb for two sacks and a pressure, not to mention he was probably the biggest reason the Bears had a problem with the run game, that's on Webb and Williams. I am still trying to figure out what happened to Williams when he ran into Forte, does he get credit or an assist for that Tackle for loss. I think play calling helped Webb more than Webb helped Webb but it was JA he was going aganst and that is not an easy task for a player like Webb. Yeah it was a step forward for Webb but he still needed to much help and a lot of short drops, and you can't go pass heavy with him protecting the blindside. The tackles struggled this game, and the Bears used a ton of extra protection, to help them too. Webb will not always have to face JA, next week he gets a backup, Packers game he will see Walden, Car he gets Johnson who is actually really good, then KVB, then Allen, Cole and Babin. I am worried more about guys like Dummervil, Wimbley, and Hali. But that is his job, he is suppose to face the elite pass rushers and stop them, he is the blindside protector, that's why good LT's get paid huge money. A good LT dominates lesser ends, and holds his own aginst the good ones. I have never seen Webb do either. Oh well he was going against JA so it's ok. He is going to go against a lot of really good ends.

Intresting note Melton only had to play the run 12 times and he did ok but not even close to how he played as a pass rusher. I am kinda mad I didn't see his first sack.

Normally you won't here me say this but you need to take your hats off to the coaches, the Falcons were playing checkers and the Bears were playing chess. They got way out coached this game.

The next couple of games Webb does not have to face an elite player and that should help him. but he needs to take some big steps. They have to face better D-Lines than they faced today, that Oakland line is really good and we all know about detroit, don't look apst that Vinkings line they are solid, and those thinking the Packers have no D better think twice, they have a good defense and we all know how tought division game are played. Detroit managed to hang with the Bears twice last year and they were not that great.

gaurded optimism but I have hope.. need to block better on line and camiri still needs work...

martz needs ro stop being cute when there is a big lead.. if the bears win the next two games ill be convinced...

tough road ahead but we will see. bear down fans!!

While I would have cautioned against this kind of thinking prior to the game, Lance Briggs looked awful. The natural tendency is to gravitate towards a player who is complaining about his contract, and to see any shortcomings in his game as pouting. But he is obviously not ready to play after his knee issue earlier this preseason. He was slow to the ball, he was out of position, and he did not serve as the bottom of the funnel like he is supposed to as the weak side linebacker in this defense.

Hopefully he is just rounding into shape, but if we have to rely on Urlacher to have this kind of game every week to cover for Briggs, he is going to wear down.

Chris Harris was way out of position on a number of occasions, and so was Major Wright. Safety play, while they did prevent the deep ball, (which Ryan probably wouldn't have had time to throw anyway), they were not good in supporting the run, and took horrible angles when they had to come up and tackle. This does not bode well.

Webb and Carimi struggled, which is not good. But on the flip side, Spencer I thought did a really good job for not having played guard so far this year.

The D line was all over the place, and Urlacher was a beast. I also thought Cutler looked great. 2 or 3 bad throws, but at least one of them was because the receiver (Hester in that case) was in the wrong spot. 5 sacks concerns me against Atlanta. Green Bay would have gotten 9 on a day like that.

Great win, as I thought they wouldn't be able to score enough, but it gets tougher from here. Lots of work to do, but if nothing else, we started the season on a positive note, something that doesn't happen often with Lovie..... .500 on opening weekend after this win, which sounds like the team has not been ready to start the year under Lovie.

Bring on the Saints (or at least, all of them except for Colston, Moore, and Will Smith)...

I made a mistake above, stating that the Pack plays Tampa. They play Carolina next. Darn! That's the second mistake I made in the last 77 years.

Anyone watch monday night Football? I don't like Brady but my god(he reminds me of over hyped and over produced music), Jaws wasn't the only one saying ####.

However my nfl week was complete while watching the Denver/Oakland game. First I enjoyed watching Denver fans cry, second I enjoyed watching Denver fans fight with eachother, third "TEBOW TEBOW TEBOW". It was everything I dreamed it could be. But mnost important was Trent Dilfer, he was there, live, watching the love of his life Kelly Orton stink up the joint. Oh and the comments he was making, everytime Orton threw a ball short to a wide open reciever it was "A safe smart throw" When Orton dropped the ball for no reason "Wet ball not his fault" holding onto the ball to long "look at him trying to make a play, what a QB". I could here Dilfer almost crying by the end of the game, Orton missing wide open recievers " what were those recievers thinking". Just the fact that the Dilfer who I believe posts on this board as a regular Cutler basher, so... had karma kick him in the face last night.

Now I am not bashing Orton he had a bad game, could have been worse if not for all the unsportsmanlike penalties the Raiders had but Dilfer is a tool, and so got what he deserved last night. Also everytime the Raiders did commit a UCP that basically helped keep 5-7 drives alive for Orton Dilfer was like "look at Orton keeping the drive alive" "Or way to sustain the drive Kyle" He made an a## of himself and Orton got whooped up on. Can't wait for the Raiders game, they want to be the bullies of the league, Bears got a couple bullies of their own though, that's gonna be a hard hitting game.

Now to the important stuff, the power rankings are out. And yes they mean little, when yor sucks and is ranked low, however when your team is ranked in the top 6 they are accurate and correct. Number 6 on, King has them at number 4(this worries me), Fox has them ranked 10th(behind the Saints, Steelers Fox biased againstthe Bears, Bears need to whoop on the Saints) 7th at ESPN behind the Saints again. Ain't nation needs a beating, Bushrod is getting owned this week.

Trent Dilfer is a freaking tool. I think he is a worse analyst than he was a pro quarterback. I love that networks are bringing in a lot of former players to work as analysts because they do have a lifetime of practical experience and credibility to add to broadcasts.

Seriously though, some of them are horrible journalists and even worse analysts - and most of it is ESPN. The NFL network guys, with a couple exceptions, do a great job.

Mark Schlereth also comes to mind as a collosol tool. He is such a Denver homer and has no objectivity. He hates Cutler like an ex-girlfriend, only proving he buys into Jay as a quarterback and can't get over the fallout with the Broncos - which Denver is clearly to blame for repeatedly trying to trade Jay behind his back and then lying to him when it broke in the media.

I think Orton is a good quarterback, but has limitations. I do wish him well. He isn't mobile and has difficulty with accuracy on long throws and broken plays. All that was on display for MNF. Tebow clearly doesn't get the offense, but the boy can make plays. It will be interesting to see how the train rolls for Kyle in Denver.

Orton actually had a very good game. No quarterback can perform well when running for his life on every play. Oakland should have had three players kicked out of the game for punches thrown, one even causing a bloody nose. In addition, there were several pass interference calls that should have been made, committed by Oakland, that were ignored or missed by the officials. I'm all for letting the players play the game, but the officials did not do their jobs this game. Granted that they were more concerned with keeping the chippy game from turning into a full-scale riot with bench players and fans storming the field, but even so, they should not ignore the rules when faced with serious infractions.

You know what is funny about Dilfer? He is always talking about attitude and leadership where Cutler is concerned. But I remember when Dilfer played and he was hated and considered a jerk. I swear to god he and Schlereth are projecting everytime they talk about Cutler. I agree I like some of the players working in broadcasting, but it's like the turn into complete tards when the camera is on.

Look at Sapp he seems like the biggest goof whenever he is on camera, but I have heard him on the radio and it's like a different guy. It seems like to many of them are worried about their image and less about what they are doing.

As for Orton, it's funny cause he and Cutler are opposite types of players. Cutler has as much ability as anyone, Orton is limited in just about every aspect. When things are going against Orton he plays it safe, too safe, when things are going against Cutler he gambles and takes risks. And I guess that's why I like Cutler, whatching a decade of Favre take gambles that paid off against the Bears made me want to seethat in Bear QB, after all the Bears QB's by and large were always playing it safe. When Orton is on he is solid check down QB who loves to sit in the shotgun. When Cutler is on, it's like my god can you do that all the time?

I thnk the media sees them like this as well, if Orton does something good it's like OMG what a great play, usually because nobody expects that from him, and when he does not make a great play it's like oh well it's Orton he is doing his best. But with Jay it's like if he does not make great play after great play, or he makes mistakes that most QB's make a lot of the media is like "what the hell? Your suppose to be the next Elway" even though he is being a lot more like Elway than most will admit. I don't think anyone is waiting for a breakout year from Orton, but everyone is waiting to see Cutler breakout and become a top five QB, like it's that easy and like Cutler can control the people around him like his line or recievers.

Now days with Brady and Manning everyone want's Cutler to be like them, even though those two guys are as rare a breed that has ever played the game. Just look at the Colts without Manning, do they look like a playoff team? It's a copy cat league and that applies to fans including myself we all want what the other guy has and the grass is always greener.

Just on a side note, when the Bears signed Meriweather, I went th the Boston globe to see what was being blogged about it. And you know what they were all talking about? How much Bill B sucks as a coach, how Brady is done, and how bad their team was, and how they all hated the defensive scheme. Not a joke that is what was being said, and there were a ton of posts about this on every article reguarding the Pats. All I could think was "you spoiled little b######, you should all try being Bills fans or any other of the decades long mediocre teams (like the 49ers, no offense Sean)"

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Jensen published on September 11, 2011 7:47 PM.

Barber, Hurd, Wootton, Paea inactive vs. Falcons was the previous entry in this blog.

Bears' rout: a harbinger of things to come? is the next entry in this blog.

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