Chicago Sun-Times

Impressive rout of Vikings a small step for 3-3 Bears

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Julius Peppers, a steady voice of reason in the Bears' locker room, said it best:

''It's something to build it. We're not there yet,'' Peppers said after the Bears' 39-10 victory over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night at Soldier Field.

An impressive rout of a 1-4 team at home was nothing more than that, and nothing less. This is exactly who the Bears are this season -- good enough, well-rounded enough and well-coached enough to take full advantage of a favorable situation. But change the dynamic at all -- like on the road, in a dome, against a quarterback in his prime -- and the Bears are a hit-or-miss proposition at best. It's hard to knock five sacks and a safety, but until they do that against the Lions in Ford Field -- like the 49ers did Sunday -- all you've really done is held serve.

The Bears are 3-1 at home this season. And 0-2 on the road. Facing the good-but-not-great Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a neutral site at Wembley Stadium in London will be an interesting test for the Bears this week.

With the way the schedule is shaping up, the Bears appear destined for the playoff bubble, like they were in 2008 when they were also 3-3 after three games and had a chance to make the postseason by winning at Houston on the final day of the regular season, but lost to the Texans 31-24.

This team is better than that one. But not that much better. So with three of the final four games on the road -- at Denver, Green Bay and Minnesota -- all bets are off until the Bears show they're more than a team that can win only with the wind at its back.

And now, 10 other observations from the Bears' victory over the Vikings:

1. Though Major Wright and Chris Conte handled the safety position without incident, the Chris Harris situation does not reflect well on Lovie Smith. That a player of Harris' ability can fall from Smith's good graces that precipitously is totally inconsistent with Smith's M.O. in his eight seasons with the Bears.

2. Lovie's explanation that Harris was inactive because he doesn't play special teams doesn't hold water. Brandon Meriweather was active on Sunday and he didn't play special teams. In fact, he didn't play at all. What's the difference?

3. Jay Cutler looks great when he's well protected. But Rex Grossman was an MVP candidate at this point in 2006 when he was equally well-protected. The issue is still whether the Bears will maximize Cutler's abilities when things break down like they did in Detroit.

4. Cutler was 21-of-31 for 267 yards, two TDs and no INTs -- only the third time in the last four seasons he's gone back-to-back games without throwing a pick.

5. Matt Spaeth should be starting at tight end ahead of Kellen Davis. Spaeth is by far the better blocker -- his block on Jared Allen helped give Cutler time to throw a 48-yard TD pass to Devin Hester. And the Bears need blocking more than a pass-catching TE.

6. This just in from Detroit -- Jahvid Best's long rush against the 49ers on Sunday was 13 yards. He gained 37 yards on 12 carries -- 3.1 yards per carry.

7. The most surprising development on an eventful night of roster flux was Stephen Paea's sack of Donovan McNabb for a safety in the first quarter. Paea hadn't even been active the first five games. But he showed quickness we never saw in the preseason.

8. The only way the Bears can make the Chris Harris situation worse is by trading him. Harris reportedly wants out, but a team that has used five different safety combinations in six games, it only figures the Bears are going to need their best safety before the season it out.

9. It looked like Devin Hester did most of the heavy lifting on his 98-yard kickoff return -- though it usually does -- but Dave Toub deserves a little of the credit. Several rookies played key roles on special teams Sunday night.

10. If the Bears can beat the Chiefs and Seahawks at home and the Broncos and Vikings on the road, their path to 10-6 isn't that implausible: three wins out of these six opponents -- the Lions and Chargers at home and the Bucs, Eagles, Raiders and Packers on the road.

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Raiders lost their QB for the season Mark. One thing to consider is 10 wins may not do it.

Your list should read like this.

1. Cutler F bombing Martz

2. McNabbs mom leaving

3. Grossman was a what in 2006 Mark? In game six of the 2006 season Grossman threw for 144 yards and 4 picks. The only people who had him as an MVP pick are Grossman, his family, Lovie, Angelo, and people who hate good QB's. Hint about Max protection, it only works when the other team can't cover.

4. Conte and Wright, were playing half a mile of the line, deepest I have ever seen the Bears safeties. Will have to wait to see them against a real QB and recievers that don;t drop everything.

5. Agreed, but the Bears said Davis was the starter and for some reason whenever they do that either injury or death are the only thing that will change it. Or if they can't play special teams.

6.49ers are legit.

7. I would hold off on Peae until he does it against a good line, much like I said the same thing about Melton after the Falcons game. Well before it as well.

8. What if you can get something for Harris, Knox and a pick?

9. Yes that hole Hester ran through was created by his telepathic powers, thanks Toub for doing next to nothing.

10. Seattle and Denver are givens. Although the Denver defense is tough. Oakland lost their QB for the season, That's 3 wins, KC is 4 although they are playing better, Min should be 5. That gets them to 8. The rest are competative, well maybe not the GB game, but I said they would split with Detroit this year, and I think I will stick with that.

Creighton | October 12, 2011 3:57 PM | Reply
Ahh Stephen Paea, the Josh Beekman of defense. He doesn't dress for games, but when the Bears are desperate they will let him start and Angelo will proclaim him a draft sucess while certain people on the board go "see Angelo is great, Paea is starting that makes him good, and the Bears told me Omiyale was good so he is good to."

Wow Crap-ton uhh, I mean Creighton. I think Paea looked pretty decent last night getting that safety in his FIRST. GAME. EVER! Even your idol Hub Arkush was praising him. What else is there to say Creighton? You were wrong, wrong, wrong once again! Aww, poor baby want his green and yellow pacifier?

Yes he showed up for one whole game against one of the worst 4 teams in the nfl. Wow, what happened to Melton after the Atlanta game. Then again a fool like you can't even use his name cause he knows I will eventually be right.

I am gonna go ahead and say it's you tripper, but your eating to much of that crow you love so much. We will see at the end of the year and at the end of the year you will vanish again in shame. Besides you just insisted everyone be fired from the staff and that all the players suck. Not sure what leg you have to stand on.

By the way you see thisquote '"see Angelo is great, Paea is starting that makes him good, and the Bears told me Omiyale was good so he is good to."' Your doing exactly what I said you would do. Like I said "certain people" are idiots.

Swear to god you people never learn. You have no idea what you talk about and are so desperate to try and find anything on me or get one up on me. Obbsessed retards following my posts like junkies after crack, and all you do is whine and complain and then get dumped on your collective heads every year.

Just like Jerry you live one one game and try to point it out as greatness, while work on the collective body of their work. So for the season Peae has 2 tackles and a Safety on a QB who laid on the ground for him.

Hub has always liked him, me and Hub don't always agree. I usually come out on top.

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on October 17, 2011 9:56 AM.

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