Chicago Bears: 10 Things We Learned from Victory over Eagles on MNF
This was probably the biggest win of the season for the Chicago Bears.
They went into Philadelphia against a very hot team, and just willed the game away from Andy Reid and the Eagles.
The Bears have now moved themselves from a pretty good team that might make the playoffs to a very good team that is expected to make it to the postseason.
This win was so important for the Bears because they now hold tiebreakers over the Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Philadelphia Eagles who will all be battling for a Wild Card spot in two months.
The Bears still have a lot of work to do in order to make the playoffs, but they have made great strides this season, and are moving in a positive direction.
The Bears Will Make the Playoffs
The Bears are now 5-3, and as I said hold direct tiebreakers over three of the four teams behind them.
This is a great place to be in for the Bears especially after their 2-3 start.
They will have to continue their win streak with the Lions coming to town this week. If the Bears win and Lions lose both teams will be 6-3.
Most people (including myself) believe that the Lions had the first Wild Card slot locked up, but they are 1-2 in their last three games and have looked very beatable.
The Bears are going to finish with 10 or 11 wins, and that will be good enough to snag a playoff seed regardless of them catching the Lions or not.
The Offense Line Is Good
I never thought I would ever utter these words, but the Chicago Bears offensive line is good.
They have now given up just three sacks in their last three games. The most impressive stat is Jay Cutler was not brought down even once against the Eagles who at the time had the sixth most sacks in NFL.
The O-line is giving Cutler time to the throw the ball, and has time to look at his third and fourth options.
Matt Forte is also grateful for the lanes they are creating. Forte has rushed for over 100 yards in four of his last five games, and is second in the NFL in rushing yards, just 20 yards behind the Eagles LeSean McCoy.
Maybe the offensive line just needed some time to work together, maybe they just needed time in general, maybe they were tired of the criticisms? Whatever the case they are no longer a liability for the Bears, and dare I say it, they are actually an asset.
Jay Cutler Is a Stud, but Is Streaky
The public opinion of the Bears franchise quarterback, Jay Cutler, has been everything imaginable from savior from the heavens to a weak quitter.
I own multiple Jay Cutler jerseys and have been always been very adamant that he is a top 10 quarterback.
Every time I see Cutler hit a receiver on the numbers and they drop the pass or the receivers do nothing to break up a jump pass I get more entrenched in this view.
If you give Jay Cutler receivers like Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez, and Roddy White that Matt Ryan has in Atlanta, there would be no question that Cutler would put up 300 yards a game and score 30 touchdowns in a season.
While I believe Cutler is beyond talented, I cannot deny he has been quite streaky this year. His receivers sure aren't helping him, but he has missed open receivers regularly.
Even last night against the Eagles Cutler had a few overthrows and passes that were just not on the money, but they he turned around and fired a perfect bullet while falling away.
If you give Cutler some legitimate wide receivers, it would help his consistency and allow him to develop into a truly elite quarterback.
Maybe Mike Martz Is Not Crazy
When the Bears lost to Detroit and only put up 13 points everyone was calling for Martz's head, and for good reason. But now the Bears are 10th in the league in points per game at 25 PPG.
Yes, some of these scores are from special teams and defense, but the Bears offense has looked much better as of late.
They have scored more than 24 points in five of their eight games, and are averaging 31 PPG in their last three contests.
The Bears need to pull it back with the seven step drops and throw more to their tight ends, but they have finally gone back to running the ball which has attributed to their onslaught of points recently.
How long it remains this way is yet to be seen, but for now it appears Mike Martz's crazy science experiment is working and the Bears are putting up points.
Matt Forte Needs to Get Paid
Matt Forte is leading the NFL in yards from scrimmage, and is second in the NFL in rushing yards with 805 yards. A.K.A. Forte is tearing it up.
Forte is the Bears offense; they would do nothing without him. Against the Eagles they had a good drive when he was on the sidelines due to fumbling issues, but before long he was back in action.
Forte has started out his career on a blazing pace with almost 6000 total yards in just three and a half seasons.
I do not understand the Bears logic; they have gotten a free ride for over three years now due to Forte's rookie deal. He has shown he is a top 10 running back in the NFL, and it is time he gets paid as such.
The longer the Bears wait, the higher Forte's market value goes, and they will have to franchise tag him next season if they do not get a deal done soon.
Hopefully the Bears and the McCaskey's can put their cheapness aside and just pay Matt Forte.
The Bears Defense Is Still Elite
I brought this point up a few weeks ago even when the Bears were giving up crazy amounts of yards, but this defense is still scary good.
Their stars like Urlacher and Peppers are older, but they are playing at an insanely high level and are shutting teams down.
This defense showed its skills on Monday night when they did not allow Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, or the Eagles offense to get in a groove.
The Bears have allowed just 17.3 PPG in their three game win streak, and are earning their "Monsters of the Midway" nickname.
It will be interesting this week to see if the Bears defense is able to control Matthew Stafford and the Lions.
The Bears Have Heart
If this season has shown us anything it is that the Bears have heart and the fire to win.
Two of the Bears' leaders gave us perfect examples of this fire on Monday Night. Peppers injured his bad knee but came back a few plays later only to sprint across the entire field and bring down the most elusive quarterback in the NFL, Mike Vick.
Cutler showed this desire to win when he fell down, quickly got up, avoided three oncoming Eagles, and completed a pass to Marion Barber. He again demonstrated his heart when he drew the defense towards him as if he was going to scramble only to throw a shovel pass to Hester at the last second to complete a first down.
The entire Bears roster spent the whole game scraping and fighting, and they showed the nation they are hungry for a trip back to playoffs.
Marion Barber Was a Great Offseason Addition
Marion Barber has not been great this season, but he has been exactly what the Bears have needed him to be: tough.
Barber was brought to Chicago for tough and short yardage situations, and he has done a very good job at that.
He is leading the Bears in rushing touchdowns with four scores, and has shown that he still has some value besides rushing for three yards in dire situations.
On Monday he rushed nine times for 31 yards and a score, which is not super impressive, but this is his third straight contest with a touchdown.
Barber is a perfect compliment to Forte (except in the minds of Matt Forte fantasy owners), and will be a key piece to the Bears playoff run.
Earl Bennett Is the Bears Best Receiver
I said this in the preseason, and I will say it again, Earl Bennett is the Bears best receiver.
Bennett has been banged up and has not played much this season, but he looked great against the Eagles.
He caught multiple passes on third and long, and was Cutler's go to receiver all night, expect this to continue for the remainder of the season.
Cutler loves Bennett, and Bennett can actually catch. If the Bears wanted to put their best lineup on the field they would start Bennett as the No. 1, Johnny Knox as the No. 2, and filter Hester and Sanzenbacher in at the slot receiver.
Earl Bennett is not the end all receiver the Bears have desperately needed, but he will be their best receiver for the rest of the year.
The Bears Still Have Work to Do
Although the Bears are currently on a great three game winning streak, they are still not ready to win a Super Bowl.
Their offensive line still needs some work. Yes, I already said they are good, but they have only been good for five weeks. The Bears will most likely need to make O-line moves in the offseason.
The biggest weakness of the Bears is the wide receiving core, if they do not add a true No. 1 receiver they are giving a big middle finger to Jay Cutler.
Cutler needs a true wide receiver, and they will be permanently hindering his career (more than they already have) if they do not acquire a receiver. I hope the Bears make a push to trade for the Dolphins' Brandon Marshall, but they will most likely attempt to get receiver talent through the draft.
The core of this Bears teams is tops in the league, they just need to move a few pieces around to be legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
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