There Was A Fire Fight! Bears 38, Jets 34

2489BoondockSaintscap011 There Was A Fire Fight! Bears 38, Jets 34


So much for a defensive struggle.  With temperatures in the 20s, occasional snow flurries and swirling winds, two of the best defensive teams in football channeled their inner Arena Football-selves as the Bears defeated the Jets 38-34 in a good old fashion shootout.  The stats tell the story: 715 total yards, 40 first downs, 5.8 yards per play.  Not what anyone expected from two of the top eight defenses in the league.  In the end it was a huge third quarter from Bears quarterback Jay Cutler that proved to be the difference as Chicago moved within one win (or one Philadelphia loss) from the #2 seed in the NFC Playoffs.  Next week’s game at Green Bay is going to be crazy but this Sunday’s affair was everything it was billed up to be and more, truly a fun game to watch no matter which team you rooted for.

  • As I said, Chicago walked away winners because their franchise quarterback had his best quarter as a Bear following a disappointing first half.  Jay finished the first half with a QB rating of 43.2 and his pick-six in the second quarter turned an early Bears lead into a 14-10 deficit.  Well, whatever he did at halftime worked.  Jay came out absolutely on-fire, completing six of seven passes for 117 yards and three touchdowns in the third quarter.  This is the first time I can remember Cutler bouncing back from a poor start to turn in a great effort.  That’s been one of my biggest criticisms of Jay - finally we are starting to see some long-awaited progress from the Chicago quarterback.
  • The halftime adjustments didn’t stop with the offense.  Rod Marinelli took a defense that was getting shredded and made corrections that resulted in them getting less-shredded.  It still wasn’t pretty but anything was better than the 24-point second quarter the Jets hung on Brian Urlacher and Co..  The Jets were able to run the ball throughout the game but that didn’t matter much because of the break-neck pace the game was being played at.  New York had to make plays down-field to keep up and they weren’t able to against the Bears secondary.
  • Please re-read #8 on this week’s preview.  I’ve been wrong on a lot this season but did I nail that “we won’t kick to Devin Hester”/”fuck it, let’s kick to Hester” point or what?  Devin had exactly zero return yards in the first half so naturally the Jets decided the best return man in the history of the NFL couldn’t hurt them.  So they boomed a punt down the middle of the field in the third and BAM, 32-yard return.  Then they kicked off to him and BAM, 40-yard return.  Both of those returns set-up Chicago touchdowns.  These coaches really just cannot help themselves.

  • The Bears feast on turnovers, we know that.  Here’s a crazy stat: the Bears have forced three or more turnovers in eight of their fifteen games this season.  On Sunday, they created two more.  The first was early on and led to a Matt Forte touchdown and Chris Harris’ interception sealed the win in the final minutes.  Chris Harris, by the way, has five interceptions in his last eight games.  His return has stabilized the secondary and he’s a major reason why the defense has enjoyed such a big turnaround.
  • It was a quiet game for the Bears defensive line.  Part of that has to do with the field conditions that prevent guys from getting out of their stances while the Jets offensive line also played a major role.  Chicago will need to get to Aaron Rodgers next weekend, and every quarterback after that, if they want to avoid a one-and-done postseason.
  • Speaking of offensive lines, how about the play of Mike Tice’s group on Sunday?  Cutler had all day to throw and Forte found a lot of holes.  This group is quietly gelling and continues to improve with each passing week.
  • The gameplan against the Jets was terrific, too.  Clearly Mike Martz did his homework on Darrelle Revis as the Bears threw in Revis’ direction maybe four times all game.  Instead, they picked on Antonio 8-kid Cromartie and he did not disappoint.  Whether it was Hester or Johnny Knox, Cromartie couldn’t stay close and probably is going to have a long film-session on Monday.


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