The 2012 Chicago Bears offense has not gotten off to the start that many expected them to, as they sit at 2-1 on the season, largely in part to a dominant defense. The Bears will be featured once again on a national stage this week, as they take on the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football coming up on, you guessed it, this Monday.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has finally gotten his system into place in Dallas and the production has shown. The Cowboys defense currently ranks first in the NFL in total defense, allowing just 250 yards per game.
A large part of that has been due to the defensive line, as the front four of the Cowboys has gotten a ton of pressure on the quarterbacks. That is not good news for the Bears, as the offensive line has been under a lot of scrutiny for lack of production. The main matchup to watch will be DeMarcus Ware against J’Marcus Webb and the army of extra blockers it will take to stop Ware. If the Bears leave Webb one-on-one with Ware, as they have in other games, it will get real ugly for quarterback Jay Cutler. With seven sacks this season, the Cowboys will be looking to add a few more in that category against a below average offensive line.
In the secondary, safety Gerald Sensabaugh leads a group that includes Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. That secondary has three interceptions on the year, and the defense as a whole four forced fumbles, including three recoveries.
The Bears best bet this week will be to get the ground game going. Going back to what coach Lovie Smith used to call “getting off the bus running” will help control the clock, something that will be imperative to defeating the team with the best defense in the league. Cutler needs to be better with his second and third reads, and realize that there are times to manage and times to attack. Stick with the basics in their own side of the field, attack when between the 40’s, and make sure you get points once past that. Sounds basic, but it is something that hasn’t exactly been done by this offense this year. No need to reinvent the game.
Quarterback Tony Romo is off to his usual hot start for the Cowboys, and it has largely helped Dallas be as successful as they have been. With little to no run game, Romo has managed to be more than efficient. Dallas currently ranks 29th in the NFL in rushing, averaging 76.7 yards per game. They rank 14th in passing, averaging 265 yards per game.
The Bears defensive line will need to continue to be a dominant force in the back field, as the Dallas offensive line has had struggles of their own. The Bears are fourth in the NFL with 14 sacks (depending on which stats site you look at), and all but one have come from the front four.
The success of the defense will come down to the pressure they get on Romo, and if they have an off night, it is going to be a long night for Bears fans. The one advantage the Bears will have is history. Romo is 17-8 in September, but Monday’s game falls on the first of October. Romo is 12-13 in October, so if history proves to be true, Romo’s numbers begin to drop this week.
Jay Cutler’s struggles in primetime have become a “thing,” and even though Cutler tries to shrug them off, he will once again face national scrutiny whether warranted or not. One thing is sure, the Bears offense needs to be better, a lot better, for this team to continue to have a winning record. Nothing the Bears have done during the Cutler era gives fans any reason to trust them in primetime.
Cowboys 28 Bears 16
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