Chicago Bears: Ten Things We Learned Against Buffalo
The Bears finally beat a team that they were supposed to this Sunday, defeating the Buffalo Bills 22-19. This game was a close one and could have gone either way up until the end. Chicago did show us some good things in this game as well as a couple of bad things, but no matter what a win is a win and the Bears got one this Sunday.
Let’s take a look at ten things noticeable by the Bears' victory this Sunday against the Buffalo Bills.
The Bears' Passing Offense Is Getting Better
We saw this plain as day on Sunday. Quarterback Jay Cutler threw for 188 yards and two touchdowns, and only had one turnover (a fumble). He looked pretty good throughout the game. The receivers did have some routes that they didn’t run correctly but overall the passing offense did a pretty decent job against Buffalo.
The Bears Are Figuring Out How to Use Chester Taylor
We saw Chicago use free agent running back Chester Taylor well in this game (Taylor had ten rushing attempts for 13 total yards and one touchdown along with one catch for 14 yards) and started to get some of their investment back. Taylor and Matt Forte complement each other very well and the Bears need to use them both more often in the running and passing game.
The Bears' Pass Defense Struggled at Times
We saw the Bears' pass defense break down at times during this game as Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to complete passes up and down the field, helping the Bills get into prime position to score. The Bears were able to get a pass rush going against him (overall the Bears got one sack and plenty of quarterback hits) but Fitzpatrick was still able to complete a lot of passes and keep the Bills close.
Cutler Has Odd Mechanics
Not just because the announcers talked about this often during the game but Cutler’s passing mechanics are definitely not his strong suit. He doesn’t set his feet or put them in the direction he is throwing from time to time. Against Buffalo, his passing mechanics didn’t hurt him as much as it had in previous games but it’s still something that he needs to improve on.
Peppers Remains a Huge Influence on Defense
The Bears got some great production out of Julius Peppers in this game despite the fact he didn’t rack up a single sack. He had three tackles, at least two quarterback hits and helped add some much needed pass pressure to the Bears' pass defense. Peppers went down with an injury very late in the game but appears to be fine and will play next week against the Minnesota Vikings.
Could the Secondary Be Starting to Break Down?
This is a good question. After having success through the first seven games the Bears' secondary had some problems in this game. Some of that had to do with the pass rush (as previously mentioned) but players were out of position at times in this game and the Bills took advantage of it. If the Bears want to have continued success on defense, they need to have better play from their secondary.
The Offensive Line Could Be Stabilizing
The return of Roberto Garza into the lineup really helped the Bears' offensive line and helped to stabilize it for this game. The offensive line has been much maligned this season, but in this game they kept Cutler relatively clean and didn’t allow the Buffalo pass rush to affect him that much. Could things finally be getting better on the offensive line? We will know more once the Vikings game is over next Sunday.
Cutler Made Better Decisions
It’s true, Cutler did make better decisions in this game when you compare them to some of the performances he has had before (see the Washington game just two weeks ago). He ran when he had to and his running was productive. He also didn’t force the ball into tight places like he had done before and walked away with no interceptions. Hopefully this is a trend that continues for Cutler.
The Offense Was Made Simple
Cutler was able to do a lot of what he did this Sunday because the offense was made much simpler than it had been in past few weeks. This helped both the quarterback and his receivers get on the same page quicker and make plays easier. It helped to limit mistakes (turnovers) and kept the receivers on the mark. Expect to see this much more often in the future.
The Bears Will Get Better
The Chicago Bears will get better as the season goes on--You can count on that. With the offensive line improving each game and the receivers and quarterback getting better at picking up the offense, virtually anything is possible. If the Bears can make it past the Vikings next week without giving up too many sacks or turnovers, then the Bears could have a lot of success in future games (on offense).