Chicago Bears Vs. Minnesota Vikings: A Look Back at What We Saw
After getting a lot of criticism for losing to the New England Patriots at home the weekend before and having to worry about the field conditions at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, the Bears went out and did what a lot of people thought that they would do on Monday night—beat the Vikings soundly, 40-17.
Now the Bears can focus on trying to get a better seeding in the playoffs and at least get a home game and a bye.
Now that the game is over and all of the hype has gone by the wayside, let’s look at some things that we observed and learned about the Bears on Monday night.
Devin Hester Is the Best at His Position
No one can deny that Hester is the greatest return specialist in the NFL. His record breaking return on Monday Night helped him cement his position as the top return specialist of all time and he is clearly the most exciting player of all time. He should be able to add to his total and could quite possibly be mentioned in discussion for the NFL’s Hall of Fame.
The Bears Need to Be More Consistent
The Bears played some very consistent football during their five game winning streak and then, against the Patriots, they lost all consistency and basically folded against what many consider to be a superior team. Chicago tends to play up one week (or two) and then plays down the next week. They need to be more consistent in their final two games of the season, and then of course in the playoffs, or they will have an early exit from those same playoffs.
Cutler’s Decision Making Has Improved a Lot But…..
Anyone can see that Cutler is making much better decisions this year than he did last year, but he still has a hiccup or two. He did have one interception on Monday night and while he didn’t make any other mistakes, that one interception was on Cutler and there are times when he forces things too much or doesn’t see the coverage well. He has gotten so much better though, and the Bears are lucky to have him as their quarterback.
When the Front Four Gets Pressure the Defense Works
When the Bears are able to get pressure from their front four, it’s easy to see that the rest of their defense works. We saw on Monday night just what can happen when the front four can get to the quarterback on a consistent basis: the linebackers and secondary are able to drop back into coverage and make sure that receivers didn’t get a lot of yards after the catch. When the front four is “on,” this defense works well.
Special Teams Coverage Units Are Still Suspect
If you saw what happened on the Bears first kickoff of the game, you would have seen that the coverage units are still having some problems keeping returners from getting good yardage on their returns. One reason for this is that teams are blocking the Bear’s gunners well (those gunners being Corey Graham and Brian Iwuh) as they are coming down the field. This means that other players need to step up and make plays, so hopefully Chicago will improve there as the playoffs approach.
Peppers Is Still the Best in the Business at His Position
Peppers continues to make big plays, as we saw Monday night, and is one of the reasons why the Bears are doing so well on defense. Without his pass pressure and playmaking ability, the Bears would not be where they are today. He was definitely worth the money that they spent on him during free agency.
Chester Taylor Is Struggling
Chester Taylor’s rushing average during the last few games is a half yard per carry and he isn’t the guy that the Bears thought they were getting when they got him. Granted, he hasn’t been put into the lineup in ideal situations and hasn’t been used much as a receiver out of the backfield, but he should be performing much better than he has been.
The Bears Have Problems in the Red Zone
The Bears had several red zone opportunities the other night, but did wind up kicking four field goals, including one coming after the Peppers interception and another coming off of Hester’s long runback (when he returned the ball to the six yard line). The Bears are good at scoring in the red zone, but they aren’t getting touchdowns. This can burn them in the playoffs if it continues to happen.
The Bears Can Beat Anyone on Any Day
The Bears are a good team and can beat anyone at anytime, but, going back to the lack of consistency, they do have a problem being consistent. Hopefully they will continue to win and play well in their remaining games as they need to in order to gain good playoff position.
The Coaching Staff Is One the NFL’s Best
This cannot be denied. The Bears have assembled one of the most experienced coaching staffs in the NFL (they have three former head coaches on staff) so with that kind of experience, there shouldn’t be any trouble changing things up and making adjustments. We have seen the Bears do that a few times this year and it’s worked to their advantage.