Confident Bears getting it done
- Photos (1)
Bears tight end Martellus Bennett celebrates his touchdown catch in front of Minnesota Vikings cornerback Chris Cook with 10 seconds left Sunday at Soldier Field.
JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer
The Bears came out of the two-minute warning Sunday afternoon in the fourth quarter amid the pouring rain and down 6 points, needing to go 48 yards with one timeout.
The Soldier Field faithful were in a frenzy, the Vikings jumping around, the refs scrambling into position — and the Bears' offense was calm, cool and respected.
The fire drills of the past were replaced by a poised group that knew precisely what to do. It was nothing more than a business trip down the field.
Marc Trestman and Jay Cutler were in control, and the feeling in the huddle was one of confidence with a clear understanding of what needed to happen and how they would do it.
"The way Jay was talking to us let us know he was in total command," said rookie tackle Jordan Mills. "I didn't think there was any doubt what we were going to do.
"We practice that a lot, just like it's a game, so there was nothing unusual about it for us. The coaches preach game speed, so Jay made the calls and guys did their jobs."
Even after the first play, a short pass to Matt Forte that lost two yards, there was no panic.
"We understood we had a chance to win the game. We had to get to the end zone," said six-year veteran Jermon Bushrod. "Our leader in the huddle was cool as a cucumber."
Bushrod knows a little bit about watching greatness at the position, having protected Drew Brees in New Orleans. He's seen a QB under duress lead a team all the way to the Super Bowl.
"It's not the time to get all riled up. It's the time to be calm," Bushrod said. "We have a great coach making great calls and a QB who understands what needs to get done.
"Jay is very impressive in that situation. If you don't have success with a play, you know the next play and you get to it. He just moves on. He's a guy you want to fight for right there."
Cutler not only has the advantage of better and faster play calls this year, but he's also been sacked once every 72 plays this season, compared to once every 12 plays the last few years.
Having that confidence and feeling that security, Cutler got the next throw to Alshon Jeffery for a gain of 11 and the Bears were third-and-1 from the Minnesota 39.
The refs then gave the Bears a gift, one of many they received on the day — though most came from the Vikings. The officials inexplicably reviewed the Jeffery catch and gave the Bears a rest and time to make the next few calls.
"I wasn't mad about that," Bushrod said with a smile. "The extra rest was huge. It worked in our favor."
On third-and-1, Cutler hit Brandon Marshall for 10 yards, and after Bushrod was called for holding, Cutler found tight end Martellus Bennett down the left side for a gain of 23. Bennett didn't go out of bounds, so Cutler had to waste a down killing the clock, but still there was no panic with 22 ticks left and 16 yards to go.
Cutler smartly threw the next pass out of the end zone when he couldn't get Jeffery open, and on third down he found Bennett in the same corner of the end zone where he hit Marshall for the game-winner last week.
"Jay is so cool," said rookie guard Kyle Long. "I wish I was as cool as Jay Cutler. Jay's heart was beating like two beats a minute like nothing is going on."
Yeah, this is a different coaching staff, offense, protection and a Cutler that never existed before — at least not in Chicago.
"He's our leader on the offensive side of the ball and we'll follow him to the promised land," Long said. "Today, that was the end zone."
Once again, the Bears didn't pretend their 31-30 victory over Minnesota was perfect. Far from it. The mistakes in every phase were plentiful and damaging, but they're 2-0 in an NFL where there aren't any perfect teams playing perfect games.
"I don't care how you win them," said corner Charles Tillman. "At the end of the day, it still counts as a win, and I'm very appreciative of that."
The Bears have played two games they're not particularly proud of, and that's good, but winning two games they had every right to lose is a good sign with a long season in front of them.
They knew there would be growing pains with so much change and so much to absorb, and learning on the job in the NFL generally means a difficult season.
That could still happen, but so far for the Bears, so good.
"It's hard to win a game with 4 turnovers," Cutler said. "You can't do it without great special-teams play and a great defense."
Not to mention an offense talented enough to overcome mistakes.
Yes, the Bears are getting just enough of everything through two games to win two games. They will have to get better, and they know it.
They also know they're 2-0.
•Hear Barry Rozner on WSCR 670-AM and follow him @BarryRozner on Twitter.
- Share Facebook Twitter
Article sent to (required)E-mail
Article sent from (required)E-mail Name
Subject Line (article title)
Message (optional)Success - Article sent Click to close
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.
Contact information ( * required )Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *
Article InformationTitle URL
Message (optional)Success - Reprint request sent Click to close