Bears fans breathed a huge sigh of relief on Sunday when the Bears rallied from a 11-point deficit to beat the Cincinnati Bengals 24-21 in the highly anticipated season opener at Soldier Field. Without knowing what quite to expect in the first game of the season under new coaching, thumb the team looked solid on both sides of the ball with a strong finish that left skeptical fans drinking the Marc Trestman Kool-Aid.
If for some bizarre reason you missed the season opener (acceptable excuses: baby shower, last minute overseas rendezvous, open-heart surgery) then read on to find out what exactly you missed before heading into the office – or into any sport-releated converstaion this week).
What You Need to Know:
- Damn, it feels good to write this – the Bears offense was GOOD. No opening interceptions thrown by Jay Cutler, no pounding of the fists at halftime screaming “where is the *#$%@ing protection!?”, you could tell the offense has been revamped during the offseason. Cutler completed 21 of 33 passes for 242 yards, two touchdowns and only one interception. Not once was Cutler sacked. #SUCCESS
- Cutler did spread the love around more than usual but the Marshall/Cutler bromance was back in full effect. Marshall had a huge game with eight catches for 104 yards and one touchdown. Marshall was targeted the most and successfully managed to get open in a nasty Bengals secondary.
- The Black Unicorn was in full effect: talk about an upgrade during the offseason: Bears new tight end Martellus Bennett is on his way to stealing Marshall’s ‘diva’ status: the versatile, social media enthusiast had a touchdown and three carries for 49 yards. What an improvement in the tight end position for the Bears – they finally have another weapon out on the field that can catch, block and entertain.
- Peanut my man: Cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman was back to his usual ways picking off balls and working OT. Tillman had TWO interceptions in the game, despite having to leave mid-game after puking on the sidelines from dehydration.
- Solid Gould: Robbie Gould kicked a 58-yard field goal with 13 seconds left in the first half to put the Bears up 14-10. His kick was the longest field goal in TEAM HISTORY. Impressed? Want to buy him a drink and shake his hand? You actually can: Monday night at The Anthem in Wicker Park, Gould is hosting a fundraiser for his foundation, the Goulden Touch. More info HERE.
- Big Finish: Trailing by four in the 4th quarter, 21-17, Cutler and crew showed up in a clutch situation proving that they have indeed made improvements in the offseason. Cutler stringed together an 81-yard drive that included an 18-yard sliding scramble and a successful 4th and 1 conversion by Matt Forte, to set up Brandon Marshall for the game winning touchdown.
Your Take Away Piece:
“It’s clear that Trestman has had an impact on the offense – simply in their ability to make the necessary halftime changes and with the consistency on the offensive line. However, the Bengals made some dumb mistakes that cost them opportunities that could’ve turned this outcome in a different direction. The Bears still have a ways to go but for their regular season debut, they looked much better than they did late last season.”