The line of scrimmage is where games are won and lost. Controlling the line on both sides of the ball is paramount for a Bears team who’ve seen their offensive line to play inconsistently and cost them their last game.
When Jay Cutler has had protection he’s been able to find the open receiver and move the ball down the field. When he’s been hurried he’s made some poor decisions that have led to six interceptions in the Bears two losses.
It’s simple: Cutler with time means the Bears win.
Matt Forte certainly hasn’t been granted any favors by the offensive line and his stats reflect that. Critics will say that Forte has the “sophomore jinx” which isn’t fair considering what he’s had to work with.
Until the line gets the running game going they will continue to be the focus of criticism. Against the Falcons they were embarrassed by giving up sacks and allowing pressure even with no blitzers to pick up.
Discussing the Bears backs and receivers is pointless unless the offensive line improves their play. If they don’t the Bears won’t win many games.
Stopping the run and forcing the Bengal’s into third and long situations is the recipe for a Bears victory.
Carson Palmer looks to be back in Pro Bowl form and has capable weapons to work with. The addition of Laveranues Coles has given Palmer a veteran target when Chad Ochocinco gets double-covered.
Speaking of which, Chad Ochocinco (still can’t believe he legally changed his name) has already begun talking trash to the Bears, especially Charles Tillman.
No doubt Ochocinco is talented and Tillman will have his hands full if Carson Palmer is given time in the pocket. Throwing off their timing should be “Peanuts” game plan, jam him off the snap and make him late to the route.
Is it too much to ask for a pick-six from Tillman on a pass intended to Ochocinco?
Cedric Benson has found new life in Cincinnati and is running like the first rounder the Bears hoped he could be. Just not for a different team.
I’m one of the jaded Bears fans who had a bad feeling about Benson when he held out after being drafted fourth overall in the 2005 draft.
However he looks to have his off the field issues taken care of and is back to working hard on the field. Stuffing Benson early will shake his confidence and force the ball back to Palmer and the passing game.
The Bears have to put this game away early. Opponents have let the Bengal’s hang around too long and have gotten burned. Stack up the points early and often and don’t let Palmer beat you down the stretch.
Players to Watch
Lance Briggs: Stopping the Bengal’s running game is important to keep them off the field and controlling the clock. Briggs will have to keep an eye on former Bears running back Cedric Benson while also orchestrating the pressure on Carson Palmer.
Olin Kreutz: He’s the captain of an offensive line that is playing poorly. He’ll have to be the one to set the example and get them playing physical. I’ve never seen Kreutz get beat as bad as he did against the Falcons, that can’t happen again.
Earl Bennett: He’s been quietly participating in the Bears passing game and gaining a bunch of yards. It’s about time he gets into the end zone.
Key to the Game
Quarterback pressure: The Bears cannot let Carson Palmer sit back and throw the ball up the field. They need to get in his face and force him to throw the ball early and create turnovers. Hopefully the addition of Gaines Adams will help keep opposing quarterbacks on their heels.