Bears vs. Saints: Jay Cutler and Chicago Offense Must Step Up Again

Bob Warja@@bobwarjaSenior Writer ISeptember 17, 2011

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 11: Jay Cutler #6 of the Chicago Bears protests to a referee that members of the Atlanta Falcons defense should be called for roughing the passer at Soldier Field on September 11, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Falcons 30-12. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Normally, the Chicago Bears look to that fine defensive unit to shut down an opponent, and the offense is simply expected to control the ball, not turn it over and score just enough points to win the game.

While that's been a tried and true method for the Bears, I'm afraid that it isn't going to work this Sunday against New Orleans in their home stadium.

For one thing, the Saints offensive line isn't going to roll over and play dead like Atlant's did. Yes, the Bears pass rush stepped it up, but you can't give all the credit to our linemen. That porous O-line had much to do with it as well.

Second, as much as I respect Matt Ryan and believe he's an excellent QB, Drew Brees is in another category.

Look, when it comes to quarterbacks in the NFL, Brees is up there with Peyton Manning (when healthy, of course), Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and possibly Philip Rivers.

Maybe Big Ben belongs on that level as well, but I would personally take the other four over him.

Brees really cannot be stopped, you just hope to contain him as much as possible and outscore the Saints, like the Packers did last week.

What I'm saying is that the defense won't be able to save the Bears all by themselves like they do on many other occasions.

Yes, we need a strong and effective pass rush, but as I wrote earlier in the week, there are other things the Bears must do to win this game.

Meanwhile, some of my readers pointed out that generating this same kind of rush with the front four is a key to the game on Sunday.

But while the Bears were able to generate pressure on Ryan with just their front four, it just isn't likely to happen this weekend.

So, that means Jay Cutler, who looks new and improved, must have a big game or the Bears could easily be blown out.

For fans of the team, like me, we hope that what we saw last Sunday is indicative of a new-found ability for the Bears to generate a pass rush from the inside linemen, unlike last year when the DEs had to do it all.

If Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije weren't applying consistent pressure, the Bears gave up a lot of yards in the air to opponents with very good offenses.

This year, our hope is that what we saw against Atlanta will continue and was not just a sign of a vastly overrated and injured Falcons line.

But to be safe, I just feel strongly that the Bears offense will need to outscore New Orleans on Sunday. This is something we haven't asked our offense to do in quite some time.

But it's time that these guys grew up and accepted that challenge. Cutler is in great shape, with improved footwork, and the blocking seems better than it was early last year, so why shouldn't we expect our offense to start carrying us?

Matt Forte is a great weapon, and even Roy Williams silenced a lot of doubts we had by coming up with some big catches before getting hurt. He adds size to the receiver corps.

Plus, this is the second year in the Mike Martz offense, so Cutler and his wideouts should be more in synch with the playbook and where they are supposed to be on the field in this precision-based timing scheme.

I'm certainly not suggesting that the Bears defense won't be critical in this game. They will, and there is no reason to just lay down and die against Brees—they should go after him.

But for the Bears to win on Sunday, that offense will need to have a big game. I'm fairly confident they can do it.

But I'm equally confident that if they don't, it could be a long day in New Orleans after a long night on Bourbon Street.