Undefeated Bears open eyes with big win in Big D
The Chicago Bears made their statement. Now, all they have to do
is back it up.
They’re 2-0 for the first time since the 2006 Super Bowl season
after an impressive 27-20 victory at Dallas on Sunday, with a
Monday night matchup against Green Bay coming up.
Win that and the doubters just might be silenced. For now,
they’re at least a little quieter.
Safety Chris Harris said the Bears ”showed a lot of character”
by winning at Dallas. They also showed the ability to make big
plays on offense and defense and to beat a contender after barely
getting by Detroit in a season-opening win that in some ways felt
more like a loss.
This time, the coaching staff was getting credit for the moves
it made after being second-guessed for decisions that backfired.
And the Bears were basking in the glow of a rather convincing win
after they escaped last week, when a quirky rule wiped out what
looked like a go-ahead touchdown for Detroit’s Calvin Johnson.
”Nobody’s picking us to win,” Harris said Monday. ”We like
that. That’s fine with us. In the locker room, we’re all we have
anyway, so we don’t let outside forces, outside voices dictate how
How they played against Dallas was pretty good.
The Bears’ average gain per passing play was nine yards, with
Jay Cutler completing 21 of 29 for 277 yards and three touchdowns.
He’s averaging a league-leading 10.1 yards per completion, ranks
third in yards passing (649), is tied for fourth in completion
percentage (68.8) and has five touchdowns with just one
interception after throwing an NFL-worst 26 last season.
Johnny Knox caught four passes for 86 yards. Devin Hester had
four catches for 77, including a one-handed touchdown catch. And
Greg Olsen turned a quick, short pass into a 39-yard TD.
There were big hits by the defense, particularly from Harris and
linebacker Lance Briggs, the sort that could send a message to the
rest of the NFC.
”When guys come across the middle, we just want to make sure
that they know they’re going to get hit,” Harris said. ”That’s
kind of the mentality that we want to have. That’s one thing
(defensive coordinator) Rod Marinelli is kind of bringing back here
– that whole Monsters of the Midway thing. We’re buying into it,
and we just want to send a message.”
Nickelback D.J. Moore picked off Tony Romo twice and had a role
in a fumble by Roy Williams, earning his spot in a crowded
spotlight on a day when there was no shortage of stars.
About the only downer for the Bears was losing starting left
tackle Chris Williams and rookie safety Major Wright to hamstring
injuries. Coach Lovie Smith said they were being evaluated and
offered no further details.
When Williams went down, the Bears briefly went with Kevin
Shaffer. Then, they made a switch and put him on the right side,
with Frank Omiyale taking Williams’ spot, and the line started to
give Cutler more protection than it has since he arrived from
Denver last year.
”Kevin Shaffer is our role tackle, can go in at either
position,” Smith said. ”At first, we didn’t know how long Chris
would be out of the game. Once we saw that he had a significant
hamstring, one that would keep you out the rest of the game, then
you start trying to see what you have to put the guys in the best
position. And that’s why we made the decision to put (Omiyale) over
at the left tackle position. He’s athletic enough. You need a good
athlete there, to protect the quarterback’s blind side. So we put
Frank there. Kevin Shaffer stepped in, gave us good, solid
Another adjustment: The Bears started going with short, quick
passes to counter the Cowboys’ blitz, and that paid off in a big
way, particularly on Olsen’s 39-yard touchdown.
They mixed in screens. They juggled formations, using extra
blockers on deep passes. They took advantage of mismatches.
”We have the utmost confidence in Martz and coach Tice because
they know the game, they know what they’re trying to get down
done,” Omiyale said, referring to offensive coordinator Mike Martz
and line coach Mike Tice. ”Tice talks all the time about (how)
we’re going to get it done one way or another.”