Same old defense shows up for Bears
Bears coach Lovie Smith works the sidelines during the Bears 23-6 win over the St. Louis Rams Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer
It is, in perpetuity, the bizarro world of Bears football, where no season makes sense and every game defies logic.
So it figures, naturally, that a year in which the Bears believed their offense would be prolific and their defense ancient, the offense moves like it leans on a walker and the defense is as agile as a child, maturing at just the right time.
That's the NFL for you.
"It's just one game," said Charles Tillman after the Bears defeated the hapless Rams 23-6 at Soldier Field. "We weren't as bad as people said after the (Green Bay) game, and we're probably not as good as some people outside this room will say now."
Well, there's not much worry that anyone's going to proclaim the Bears conference champs based on Sunday's victory over St. Louis, but Tillman's point — as usual — is well taken.
The Bears weren't going winless the rest of the season after an atrocious offensive performance in Green Bay, and surviving a game with the Rams is nothing to be proud of considering they were only up a touchdown with nine minutes left in the contest.
But the Bears were supposed to be 2-1 after the first three games.
And they're 2-1.
They were supposed to handle the Colts and Rams and lose to the Packers.
And that's just what they've done.
There are no style points in the NFL. A win's a win, and a loss is a loss. You survive as long as you can survive and see who suffers the worst injuries and who's left standing in December.
"Good or bad," Tillman said, "it's good to win a football game."
The Bears weren't exactly doing cartwheels in the locker room postgame, seemingly aware that they will need to be better next Monday night in Dallas. And though their record is what it ought to be, the last two games are a reminder that the offense is at best a work in progress.
Jay Cutler and company were leading the cheers and accepting the accolades after a Week 1 blowout of the Colts that featured 41 points and 428 yards on offense, but now that the last two weeks have provided 432 yards combined with 33 points total, the offense wants fans and media to reconsider what may be realistic.
"Once you go out there and do that (in Week 1), expectations get raised. There is an outside perception, and everyone buys into it," Cutler said Sunday, singing a significantly different tune.
"We had a dismal performance in Green Bay which (pushed) a little bit of a panic button. We just had to get back to playing a football game that we were comfortable with."
It was Cutler who raved all summer and through Week 1 about how comfortable he was with an explosive Bears offense, but he indicated Sunday that is not at all the case.
"Not every game is going to be 41-21," Cutler said. "We're not going to come out every week and blow the doors off offensively. This is a normal NFL football game."
Normal, as Bears fans have become accustomed, is a terrible offense and a great defense, and that has certainly been the case the last two weeks.
In a tight game in the fourth quarter Sunday, it was a Tim Jennings tip that led to a Major Wright pick-6, and that was the game. Until then, it was the Bears' offense doing nothing and the Bears' defense putting a beating on Rams third-year QB Sam Bradford.
"It's not surprising to us that we're playing great defense," said rookie Shea McClellin. "We know what we have in this room."
Still, for McClellin, who's been watching many of his new teammates on TV for years, it's impressive.
"A lot of our older guys are elevating their games," McClellin said. "They're actually getting better."
If the offense remains stuck in the mud, the defense will have to play at an even higher level all season for the Bears to contend in the NFC.
Of course, the last two games were the opposite of Game 1, which is the way it sometimes works in the NFL, but a third straight rotten performance for the offense will be more pattern than coincidence.
It also will be genuine reason for concern.
•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.
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