The Bears had a tough time with the Bengals on Sunday and in particular their superstar receiver AJ Green. Green picked up 162 receiving yards and two scores which put the Bears in a hole early in the game and kept Chicago down for most of it. Andy Dalton was really in sync with the Bulldog and it allowed Cincy to keep the game where they wanted it: on the outside. Dalton – despite having two interceptions on the day – still had his team in contention for the win until the bitter end, but the Bears defense continued to make plays down the stretch and eventually held the ball long enough in the fourth quarter to run the clock out and preserve the win.
With this victory, the Bears started the Marc Trestman era off on a winning note. They also defeated one of the tougher opponents they’ll face this year. Cincinnati is expected to make some noise in the AFC North. Given the way the Steelers opened their season, Marvin will be able to take a lot of positives out of the Bears game to motivate his team to stay competitive. The Bengals found their bread and butter early with passes to their two top weapons, Green and Gresham. Even first-round pick Tyler Eifert got into the mix by hauling in a couple of balls. As draft picks go, Kyle Long’s play makes it tough to say that Phil Emery got it wrong at 20.
While certainly the final score is the only thing that truly matters, the first half did present some concerns. Jay Cutler was constantly making the wrong read, and it was aggravating the amount of check downs he threw that resulted in no gain. Cutler has Marshall and Jeffery, along with Earl Bennett and the newly-acquired Martellus to help become more vertical, yet more often than not he seems to wait until the last possible moment before hitting Forte in the flat or an underneath route that usually isn’t enough for the first down.
Cutler has an amazing god-given ability and now has a offensive-minded coach who’s got a track record of making quarterbacks achieve their potential; so, I wonder if Trestman has the same concerns I have about his newest mentee.
Eventually Cutler found his rhythm and finished with a nice day. But as I watch the Bears, I am forced to reckon that that their best offensive weapon might be Charles Tillman and the opportunistic defense that takes the field every Sunday. The Bears forced three turnovers and finished with a +2 in the turnover department. That’s the well-deserved legacy of Bears football that allows us all to be optimistic for their prospects.