14 things we learned from the Bears' win over the Colts:
1. The Bears players and coaches have been looking forward to this game since the schedules came out. The schemes were perfect, and the players were obviously irked that no one in the media gave them a chance to win. The crowd noise didn't seem to affect the Bears as much as it did Peyton Manning, and the Bears did a great job of taking the crowd out of the game fairly early. Now, the thing I fear most is a letdown against Carolina this Sunday...
2. Preseason games mean nothing.
3. The Colts' O-line was banged up. Okay, we all knew that last week, but I was half expecting the Colts to pull off a seamless transition like they did when Tony Ugoh took over at LT. But I guess replacing THREE linemen is tougher than replacing one.
4. Matt Forte can play. If he can last all season, I think he's got a good chance at OROY.
5. That piecemeal O-line Jerry Angelo threw together can run block. Kudos to a unit that (on paper) made me queasy. They did fairly well in pass protection too.
6. Kyle Orton is an excellent game manager, who can make big plays when called upon. Is he the long term answer? I don't know. He made some smart throws and non-throws under pressure, he delivered a couple good passes on third and long when he knew he was going to get hit, yet he didn't try to do too much. I really like his poise and confidence. I can see why folks label Orton as a "game manager," but something tells me he's more than that. Too bad, we may never find out because...
7. The Bears still lack a #1 WR. But that's nothing new; they've been lacking one since the first coming of Marty Booker.
a. The Bears lack a #2 WR. The Bears had one last season, but they had to let Bernard Berrian go.
b. The Bears lack a #3 WR. They had one last season, but they were paying Mushin Muhammed too much, so they let him go too
c. The Bears lack a #4... Oh this is just getting silly, so I'll stop.
8. It's a good thing the Bears have two TEs who could start on most pro teams. I'd like to see them utilized more often in the passing game. I want to see Kellen Davis out there too.
9. Peyton Manning is human, afterall. He looked flustered all night. He had trouble getting calls from the sideline. His passes were either off the mark or just wobbly way too often. He just didn't look like himself. My question is this: Was it the knee or the Bears D or both?
10. Devin Hester is human. His ill-advised return attempt from deep in the end zone cost the Bears 7 points. He needs to take a page out of Orton's book and not try to do too much.
11. Tommie Harris is still not 100%.
12. Marcus Harrison can beat a starting RT and sack a QB with a gimpy knee. Harrison looks like a good so far, but before we get too excited let's see what he does against Carolina, and Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia, and Minnesota, and Atlanta...
13. Alex Brown should've been starting all last season. He proved it against a tough LT with at least 1 tipped pass, a lot of pressure on Manning, and 1 sack.
14. Lovie's defense *can* change up and give teams a different look, and that's a good thing. I don't know that I've ever seen Peyton Manning look that confused.
Let's not go off half-cocked and start talking about the Bears in Superbowl yet. Manning was not 100%, the Colts' interior line was decimated, Dallas Clark went down early in the game, and Joseph Addai went down in the second half.
A lot of things went the defense's way for the Bears in that game. I think the defense still has a lot to prove. Maybe I'm way off base, but I expected the DTs to put a lot more pressure on Manning up the middle considering who lined up opposite them. I want to see what the Bears do against Carolina (and Tampa Bay, and Philadelphia, and Minnesota, and Atlanta) before I declare the defense back to its 2005-2006 form.
I was pretty darn impressed with the Bears offense, though. The Colts were looking for the run all the way, and the Bears rammed it right down their throats. In a loud, hostile environment the O-line made minimal mistakes and the Bears were still able to audible effectively. They went 10 of 16 on third down conversions, which included some long pass completions. That was nice to see against a quality defense.
Offense: Matt Forte - 23 attempts, 123 yards, 1 TD, 3 receptions, 18 yards. Not bad for a rookie debut behind an iffy O-line. He helped the defense mightily, by keeping Manning and the Colts' offense off the field.Defense: Adwale Ogunleye & Alex Brown - Between them they made 8 tackles, had 1 assist, 1 sack, 1 tipped pass, put solid pressure on Manning from the edges, and scored a safety that changed the complexion of the game.