Bears Win How and When They Have To

Keith GrieveContributor IOctober 5, 2008

It is an old sports cliche that a win is a win and it doesn't matter how you get it. No one can argue the validity of that statement.

However, if you're trying to gauge just how far these Chicago Bears have come from the debacle that was last season, you can't be happy with just adding one to the win column.

At 1:00 EST, we still weren't sure which Bears team would show up.  Would it be the team that played with a purpose against Indianapolis in week one and again against Philadelphia in week four? Or would it be the team that wilted in the fourth quarter waiting for the defense to turn it on?

Sunday's 34-7 drubbing of the woeful Detroit Lions was a game the Bears should have won. For all their issues, they are a lot closer than the Lions to being a contender. (Wow, just how bad is it in Detroit?)

What gives fans hope is the fact that quarterback Kyle Orton had the game of his life, running back Matt Forte looks like the real deal, and the defense was what we expected.

What gives fans cause for concern is that quarterback Kyle Orton had the game of his life, running back Matt Forte looks like the real deal, and the defense was what we expected.

The Bears split their plays right down the middle, 34 runs and 34 passes. Orton played flawlessly. That's good, because he had to since the running game was busy amassing a whopping 97 yards on those carries.

Still, Forte found his way into the end zone twice, which makes you wonder what he could do behind an offensive line that is, well, offensive.

The defense obviously kept the Lions in check, but there is a reason the Lions are 0-5. They were playing from behind as soon as the introductions ended, and if they did not have to rely on Jon Kitna the outcome may have been different. Rookie running back Kevin Smith and newly acquired Rudi Johnson averaged 4.2 yards per carry. The problem was that they only ran the ball 13 times.

At the end of the day, anything that doesn't drop the Bears further behind in this muddled division is a major moral victory. Let's not go crazy with the back slapping just yet.

A truer test is coming up next week against the Atlanta Falcons, who seem capable of running the ball fairly well with newcomer Michael Turner.

Are the Falcons the barometer to measure the Bears' progress by? Probably not.

They are, however, a team that plays like an NFL team. They are not the Colts with a rusty Peyton Manning or the Eagles playing without Brian Westbrook.

They are an up-and-coming team with the top running game, a strong armed quarterback, and a middle of the road defense. That's a 'trap game' if I ever saw one.

So far this year, the Bears have produced victories when they've needed to. They set the tone in week one, answered some questions in week four, and won a game they were supposed to win in week five.

Week six will tell us just how serious these Bears really are.