The game certainly had it’s momentum swings. For those who missed it — or just as a refresher — the Bears scored early to open the game, and then the Bengals went on a 21-3 run to take a 21-10 lead midway through the third quarter. Usually, this is the time where Chicago fans start to pray for miracles, meaning a defensive score or perhaps a Devin Hester punt return. But not this time.
No, instead it was the Bears’ offense stepping up and delivering over the final quarter and a half. They put up two touchdown drives, one of 80 yards and another of 81, to take the lead 24-21 — which would be the final. What’s even more impressive is that they were not only able to come back and take the lead, but they were even able to move the ball and close out the game on offense, running out the last six minutes and 38 seconds.
To top all of that second-half success off is the fact that the Bears were playing against the Bengals’ vaunted defensive line which boasts star Geno Atkins, as well as stud pass rushers Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap. Despite this, Jay Cutler was not sacked even once, and had clean pockets to throw from on some of the most critical plays down the stretch, including two big passes — one for the game-winning touchdown — to Brandon Marshall on their final TD drive. It goes to show that the four new starters on the line, including Pro-Bowler Jermon Bushrod and rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills, are gelling quickly and can only improve from a solid Week 1 performance against one of the best D-Lines in the NFL.
Marc Trestman‘s gameplan took a little while to kick in and produce, but once everyone settled down, the offense looked like… Well, an offense, something Chicagoans haven’t been able to say in a while.
The beauty of this revelation is that the Bears were able to come from down two scores and win the game. Before this season, fans were praying for some miracle whenever they were in a situation where they’re down late, whether it was a big return by Hester or a Brian Urlacher fumble recovery or a pick-six by Charles Tillman. Sometimes, they got their wish, but a lot of the time, and especially in big games, this was definitely not the case.
However, there is serious potential that the offense will be able to win many games in 2013 for the Bears. Maybe now the defense doesn’t have to hold opponents to only 10 points for the Bears to win. Perhaps the Bears will be able to score points and win against good teams, unlike the past few years. And this may be pushing it, but maybe Cutler won’t throw four picks against the Green Bay Packers and they’ll have a chance — which may be reach…
But as a Bears fan, there finally seems to be some optimism. They may not be the best team in the league, but at least they’ll have a chance this year to make it to the playoffs and do some damage.
Sure, it’s only Week 1. But already we’ve seen something they couldn’t do last year and many years prior. Most importantly, it’s different from the last 10 years during the Lovie Smith era: It’s offense.