MORRISSEY: A win is a win but don’t get cocky, Bears
BY RICK MORRISSEY firstname.lastname@example.org November 25, 2012 9:42PM
The Bears have shown they can only go so far under coach Lovie Smith, and the limitation looks to be mutual. | Tom Cruze~Sun-Times
Updated: January 25, 2013 1:38AM
When the Bears watch film of their 28-10 victory over the Vikings, I have a sneaking suspicion it will come highly recommended.
“The Feel-Good Movie of the Year!’’ Lovie Smith, Bears Scoop Magazine.
If the ultra-forgiving Smith is a critic, then I’m a supermodel. But you couldn’t blame anyone associated with the Bears for giving Sunday a positive review. To a team in need of some serious reassuring, the Vikings were just what the doctor ordered.
The doctor, by the way, is being treated for exhaustion. The Vikings knocked five Bears starters out of the game, including running back Matt Forte and cornerback Charles Tillman, both with ankle injuries.
The most disconcerting injury for the Bears might have been guard Lance Louis’ sprained knee. Louis is the best player on a weak offensive line.
But this isn’t the time for doom and gloom and operating rooms, not after the Bears bounced back from consecutive losses and, more immediately, an awful performance against the 49ers.
“Unfortunately, last week we had a rough day,’’ defensive lineman Israel Idonije said. “Welcome to life. It’s how you react, how you bounce back.’’
This was one of those get-well games, but before you think that’s faint praise, know that the Bears didn’t need Minnesota’s wonderful healing properties. They healed themselves the way they have all season, by causing turnovers. There is still the pesky matter of not having beaten anybody great this season, but after the losses to Houston and San Francisco, the Bears just needed a victory.
Sure, it’s worth asking how the Vikings have won six games, but what happened at Soldier Field had more to do with the home team than the visitors from the colder clime.
You can say the Vikings hurt themselves with two fumbles and an interception, but that’s what the Bears do, week in and week out. It’s why they’re 8-3.
The Bears thrust badness on the Vikings, who wore it like shrink wrap.
The Bears’ much-maligned line blocked for Jay Cutler. The defense got those turnovers and shut down Adrian Peterson when it mattered.
And we got a pretty good indication that the Vikings’ Christian Ponder is no Cutler, nor even a reasonable facsimile.
The Bears looked like a different team on offense, and not just because Cutler had returned from a concussion that kept him out of the San Francisco game. They had Cutler rolling out more, and it was effective against the blitzing Vikings. They were excellent on third down, keeping blockers in and allowing Cutler to throw passes to Brandon Marshall, whom he targeted 17 times. If Marshall had complained to the teacher that Cutler was “staring at me,’’ nobody would’ve blamed him. Whatever, it worked.
Afterward, Smith said offensive coordinator Mike Tice was still calling the plays. It sure didn’t look like it. Maybe quarterbacks coach Jeremy Bates has started controlling Tice’s mind. In a good way.
Cutler threw some ridiculously pinpoint passes into tiny holes and got away with it. He also got down and tied the shoe of left tackle J’Marcus Webb. Lovie thought bubble: “What doesn’t this great man do?”
So, yes, it was good to have Cutler back after the Bears went the human-sacrifice route with Jason Campbell against the 49ers.
“Everybody needs their stud quarterback playing,’’ Smith said.
Every stud quarterback needs a good offensive line. The Bears don’t have one. It’s why they benched Gabe Carimi and Chilo Rachal heading into the game. Would change win out over chaos? It did in this game. Beyond that, who knows? Cutler said the idea of continuity on the line is gone for this season, what with the number of changes made and the number of games left.
But if the Bears continue to call rollouts and Cutler continues to get rid of the ball quickly, it will minimize the pressure he feels. That’s a nice way of saying he might make it through the season without carrying his head under the crook of his arm.
If this was a bounce-back game, then the Bears have nice hops. But that’s about it. You’d be silly to make any big pronouncements off this game. Two thumbs up will do.