You could debate that Monday night's Bears 13-7 win over Detroit wasn't pretty, but you can't debate the toughness of the team's QB Jay Cutler.
The Bears quarterback turned the team's first possession into a 7 yard touchdown reception to Brandon Marshall. With just over five minutes left in the first half, Detroit's 307-pound Ndamukong Suh man-handled Jay Cutler into the turf. Cutler laid there for a moment and had to come out of the game for one play. Before the half, the Bears quarterback did leave to have his ribs examined and take X-rays, he returned to play in the second half. During the post-game press conference, both Cutler and Lovie Smith had no issue with Suh over the manner of his play. “That’s football, no one is trying to hurt anyone out there,” said Smith. Cutler expects his ribs will become sorer in the ensuing days. He will get additional treatment during the week.
The Bears defense had big moments, as they have had all season. Forcing two Lions’ fumbles and an interception in the "red zone" were keys to the Bears domination of their divisional opponent.
One of the biggest defensive plays of the game occurred late in the third quarter on the Bears one yard line; Henry Melton forced a crucial Detroit turnover. The Bears defensive tackle knocked the ball from the Lion's running back Joique Bell's hands and into Brian Urlacher’s hands thwarting Detroit’s scoring opportunity.
Charles Tillman was like a glove on the Lions’ biggest weapon Calvin Johnson; he was held to just three catches for 31 yards and NO touchdowns. Coach Smith said that Tillman “had tough duty” covering one of the best receivers in the league. This season, it seems as though, Tillman has meet every challenge that he has faced across the line of scrimmage.
On the other hand, Bears receiver Brandon Marshall had 6 catches for 81 yards and the lone TD. The Bears amassed over 170 rushing yards, 96 by Matt Forte and Jay Cutler used his feet to gain 34 yards.
Talk about seizing a great opportunity, Zack Bowman was unemployed and was brought back to the team last week. He forced Detroit's punt returner Stefan Logan to muff a punt and the Bears turned the miscue into a 21 yard Robbie Gould field goal.
The talk in the locker room by most of the Bear players was about their QB and the team’s opportunistic play on defense. Players on both sides of the ball were heaping praise on Jay Cutler and how tough he is and how this team expected him to be available despite the rib injury after the Suh sack.
And the defense spoke with strong determination that the teachings of their head coach- to attack the ball, as well as they do, is reaping huge rewards in turnovers. “We are just punching the ball,” says Henry Melton, “We work so hard in practice and we believe it will happen in the game.” The only disappointment the players had on defense was the last minute 12 yard touchdown by Detroit’s Matthew Stafford to Ryan Broyles.
This win gives the Bears a three game advantage over the Lions in the division since Detroit is now 2-4 overall this season.
It is a short work week; the Bears will begin preparations for the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday. They will meet next Sunday at Soldier Field.
Right now, the Bears are on top of the NFC North and one of the best teams in the NFL…of course, some may debate they are among the elite. There is no doubt in my mind.
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