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Bears' Starters Impress in 14-13 Loss to Titans

Warren Wimmer/Icon SMI

Despite losing 14-13 to the Titans, the scoreboard doesn't reflect how well the Bears played. Both teams' starters played 1 possession into the 2nd half before the wave of back-ups came into the game. Chicago overmatched Tennessee on offense and defense. The Bears' offense looked very efficient and the defense played very well too. Here are my observations from the game and some general thoughts. 

  • Bears came firing out of the gates with a nice completion to Roy Williams. Play was a play-action play but the Titans DE didn't fall for the fake and gave Cutler a nice pop. Announcers went on to say it was Roy's first catch as a Bear, then the very next play he drops a pass and tips it up for an easy interception. Ooops. 
  • Bears offensive line leading the charge on the ground, allowing Matt Forte to get whatever he wants. Counters and Draws are eating away at the Tennessee defense. Play that sticks out most in my mind is an 11 yard counter by Forte, where Lance Louis (successfully) was the lead block around the edge. This is what we love to see as fans. 
  • Bears 1st trip to the red zone is the product of picking up 3 3rd down conversions in a row. Bears displayed an inability to pick up 3rd down conversions last season so this is a good sign. 
  • Eddie George comments...."Forte is running with a whole new energy this year. Much more physical and running with some serious passion. 
  • Defensively, without Lance Briggs and Anthony Adams, Bears' starters don't allow a 1st down until the 2nd quarter. 
  • Marion Barber left the game with a calf injury during the 2nd quarter. 
  • Earl Bennett is really stepping up and becoming "Cutler's guy". Showing strong nack for finding the open zone. 
  • Bears 2nd red zone trip results in a missed 29 yard chip-shot by Robbie Gould off the left up right. 
  • Titans drive down the field and get stuck with a 4th and 5. Titans roll the dice and Charles Tillman breaks the pass up easily. Tillman does push-ups on the field afterwards for not intercepting it.
  • Interesting play, Cutler finds Johnny Knox for a 1st down on a 12-15 yard comeback. Titans CB Cortland Finnegan blitzes and Matt Forte slams him down with ease. Very impressive pass blocking by Forte.
  • Gould nails his 2nd FG attempt from 45 yards out. He missed a chip-shot earlier in the game.
  • Brian Urlacher and Nick Roach maul Titans RB Harper in the back-field for a loss of 4 yards. Bears defensive line is playing very solid tonight getting penetration in the back field allowing the linebackers to blast through the gaps.
  • Knox gets tripped up on a kick return and loses the ball. Luckily he is able to recover his footing and recover the fumble. Titans squander a huge opportunity by not recovering the ball.
  • Notable statistics at halftime, Cutler 13/20 170 yds INT (Tipped by Roy Williams) Forte 15 car 67 yds 1 TD, Bennett 5 catches 69 yds.
  • Matt Hassellbeck is picking apart Brian Iwuh’s side. With Lance Briggs back in the line-up, I wouldn’t expect to see even half of those to be complete passes. 
  • Hester redeems himself after dropping an easy slant by picking up a big first down on a corner route. Hester dropped an easy catch earlier in the game as well.
  • Later on the drive, directed by Caleb Hanie, Earl Bennett comes up big with a catch. The Bears just converted on a 3rd and 18. Very impressive blocking by the line, great throw, great catch. All around great play by the Bears.
  • Caleb Hanie follows a perfect pass up with a lame duck interception directly to Tommie Campbell who returned it 88 yards for a touchdown. After directing a great drive, Hanie re-assures Bear fans that he is indeed still a back-up.
  • Chris Conte, 3rd round pick, makes a great open field tackle on a punt return. Showing upside on the special teams unit already. 
  • Sanzenbacher gets a wide open pass thrown to him by Hanie and drops it. Bear fans collectively sigh, as Sanzenbacher is easily the biggest fan favorite of the UDFA’s.
  • On a 3rd down pass, heavy blitz, Hanie drops the ball off to TE Desmond Clark and the 13 year veteran gets cracked in his knee and falls very awkwardly. Clark is carted off the field with what’s believed to be a MCL Sprain.
  • Gould nails a 52 yard FG with plenty of room to spare. Both of his first FG’s (1 for 2 on those attempts) had a good amount of curve on them but his 3rd attempt was 100% down the middle.
  • Amobi Okoye sacks Jack Locker on a 3rd pass play. Great containment by Okoye as Locker was going to leave the pocket.
  • Bears special teams comes up with a block on a punt, the ball bounces right back to the punter Chad Cunningham and he runs for a first down. The cackling hyenas in the booth found it very funny as the rest of the audience did. I almost vomited at the sound of the announcers laughing.
  • DE Mario Addison crashes down the line on a boot leg run by Jake Locker, allowing Locker to pick up an easy first down. The very next play Amobi Okoye drops the RB in the backfield after getting great penetration.
  • Score is 14-13 and the Bears get the ball at the 20 yard line with 1:20 left to play. The drive resulted in a turnover on downs.
My general thoughts are that the Bears starters played very good football. Had it been a regular season game, the Bears would have came away with an easy win. The offense moved the ball at will, the defense wasn't giving up big plays, and the besides a missed FG the special teams played well. Bear fans have a lot to be excited about after this showing by Cutler and crew. 

The most impressive player on the offensive side of the ball had to be Matt Forte. He was able to carve up the defense on 17 carries for 74 yards and 1 TD.  Titans announcers claimed that the Bears offensive line had imposed their will on the Titans' defense. The offensive line has been on the hot seat after a poor performance last season however, they gave up 0 sacks and looked flawless in the run game. Cutler played a great game as well despite 1 interception which could be credited to Roy Williams. Earl Bennett had a breakout game with 6 catches for 89 yards.  

Best defensive player goes to the defensive line collectively. All players involved in the rotation played well. Peppers and Idonije got pressure the entire game, Amobi Okoye came up with a big sack on a 3rd down play, they stuffed the run very well. The defense only gave up 7 points and it was due to the strong play of the defensive line.