With the Bears sitting at 3-0; the only undefeated team in the NFC, there is going to be a lot of articles this week talking about if the Bears are a farce or if they are "for real." The Giants will be hosting a game that many in New York will tell you is a "must win." I am here to tell you that, without a doubt, we still are not sure exactly how good the Bears are. They might be really good. They might only be the 2001 Bears. Here are all the stories, facts and fictions in a "Debbie Downer, Happy Hal" version of everything.
First, Debbie Downer:
-The Bears can't run the ball, as usual. For the year, the Bears have 68 carries for a whole 216 yards for a 3.2 average.
-The Bears offensive line can't block anybody.
-The Bears have gotten lucky three times based on an accurate call on a stupid rule, catching a team at the right time and playing a team who decided to commit eighteen penalties in a game.
-Tommie Harris was inactive last night. He was supposed to a key cog to the defensive line all year and give inside support to Julius Peppers.
-Jay Cutler had no less than four interceptions (2 drops and 2 penalties) negated last night against the Packers and still throws too much with his arm.
-The Bears are still terrible on 3rd and 4th & 1. It almost cost them two games already.
-The Bears defense is terrible. They allow so many passing yards.
-I don't care. You can't run a bend-but-don't-break defense and win consistently.
-Okay, but they have had a lot of lucky turnovers. A team can't be expected to keep that up.
-Well, they won't be contenders the whole year and the last month of their schedule (at GB, v NE, at MIN, v NYJ) is absolutely brutal. They won't win one game in the final month.
-Robbie Gould missed a field goal last night. What if he starts to stink.
Happy Hal: (in order)
-The Bears have run effectively at times and a Martz offense just uses it to set up the pass anyway. Besides, all the flairs and short routes run by the backs and tight ends are like runs plays anyway.
-The Bears offensive line can't block anybody.
-Yes, well, they still ARE 3-0. They beat a Lions team who is exactly what we thought they were. The Lions are an improved team that doesn't know how to win yet. Even the rulebook agrees. The Cowboys are talented enough to be a playoff team and they just dominated the media darlings of the NFL just one week after that supposed implosion. Finally, the Bears beat a team they have no business standing on the field with based on the overall amount of weapons.
-The middle of the defensive line has been fine despite needing to look for Harris' name in the Chicago Tribune obituary section.
-That same Jay Cutler is sitting at a ridiculous 9.6 yards per attempt and completing 66% of his passes. He has shown good mobility and good play-making ability.
-Um...uh. Next point, please.
-Not true. They allow what seems to be a lot of yards, but on a per attempt basis, they allow 6.8 yards on each one. That's not bad. They also have faced 108 passes compared to only 55 rushes, where they have held opponents to a ridiculous 2.2 yards per attempt on the ground. Teams are throwing because the Bears run defense has been so good and teams have been trailing the Bears some.
-Not true. The Tampa 2 scheme, which the Bears actually run only 30-40% of the time, is designed to allow yards, but not big plays. The fast players on those defenses are taught to keep guys in front of them and not allow the big play. So far, the 6.8YPA and lack of big highlights showing the other teams seems to support this.
-Creating turnovers is the mark of a lot of defenses that are successful, regardless of overall talent level. The Ravens of 2000 and Bears of 1985 are the prime examples, but the 2006 Bears and 2009 Saints also went to Super Bowls riding defenses that seemed to just create turnovers. While a singular turnover is a random statistic, a mentality on defense to keep on creating them seems to provide positive results.
-Maybe, but their next four are the Giants, Panthers, Seahawks and Redskins. None of those teams have put it together on offense and the Redskins have the only defense in that bunch that has shown it can be impressive. If the Bears sit at 7-0, the final month won't mean as much. Plus, the Bears play outdoors in the cold against eastern teams 3 out of those 4 final games. Weather, luck and the position those teams are in for the playoffs will have a lot to do what team shows up each day. Those games will be very tough to win, but never bet on a future that is not known yet.
-Now you're just reaching. Hester ran one back and may have his confidence back. Gould missed that field goal on the south side of the field. That side is notorious for the swirling winds.
So, there you have it. We won't know what the Bears really have in store for the league until about week 10, but at least you won't have to read the same articles over and over again.