The Chicago Bears defense: a riddle trapped in an enigma.
Being a Chicago Bears fan is difficult at times (actually being a Chicago sports fan this decade has been rough), but the Bears are seemingly on a never ending rollercoaster.
Against the Bengals, the defense did not even bother to show up, allowing Cincinnati to score on their first seven possessions and humiliating them in a game that the Bears defense should have been keyed up for, but instead, showed up flatter than a three year-old two liter cola.
But was that game just an anomaly?
I realize that this most recent victory against the Cleveland Browns is not a fair example because, well because, it is against the Browns. Cleveland is one of the worst teams in the NFL so this win was not a good measuring stick.
But it wasn't just the Browns game that makes me wonder if the Bears defense is better than we think. They held a high powered Falcons offense to only 21 points. They have only allowed one rusher to top the century mark this season (Cedric Benson).
While the loss to the Bengals exposed the many weaknesses in the Bears Cover-Two scheme, was it their play or the Bears lack of play that did it? Is the Bears defense that bad?
And for that matter, is our offense that much more improved?
Let me rant.
On the first three trips inside the red zone against the Browns this past week, the Bears walked away with only nine points.
Add in that a stat Brad Biggs mentioned, the Bears rank 25th in red zone efficiency converting only 44.4 percent of the time for scores and, you have to wonder how this team has won four games at all.
Sometimes this passing offense looks unstoppable; sometimes Cutler looks like the Pro- Bowler he has been in the past; sometimes the receivers look unreal.
Although on the flip side, the Bears rush game has been non-existent. Their offensive line has been nothing short of disappointing and sometimes Cutler looks like Rex Grossman; BAD Rex Grossman.
It is infuriating. On both sides of the ball, the Bears can rarely put together a game where both units play well for all four quarters; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on BOTH SIDES of the ball.
They play the Cardinals in Chicago, which continues the OLDEST rivalry in the entire NFL.
They play Kurt Warner, Larry Fitzgerald and a passing offense that could be the best in the NFL when in sync. And don't think it is all offense for the Cards, their rush defense ranks eighth in the NFL, which means the offense will be tested too.
So which Bears team will show up? This week starts a four game series that will make or break the Bears season. After their home game against the Cardinals, they go to San Francisco, then back home home against the Philadelphia Eagles, and then at the division leader Minnesota Vikings.
Go 2-2 and the Bears will have difficulty making the playoffs for the fourth straight year,go 3-1 and you will be sitting pretty.
It starts with Arizona this week. Win one and go out to face a reeling 49ers team and set yourself up for success. I know, that word and Chicago Bears don't always go together, but now is the time; bear down.