When a team plays the way the Bears did for 90% of the game on Sunday and escapes with a victory, things can go one of two ways. The performance can serve as a wake up call or it can give that feeling of invincibility that even when they don’t come to play, the talent will eventually rise to the occasion.
The latter is not a mindset that can prosper in the NFL.
Hopefully, the Bears realize that more than anything, they were lucky to beat the Panthers on a last second field goal from Robbie Gould. Against almost any other team and Jay Cutler would not have had a chance to come back in the last six minutes. Fortunately, Carolina is one of those bad teams with a skill for letting their opponent back in the game.
Bad teams find ways to lose, good teams figure out a way to come away with a win.
The problem is, being a good team is not enough in the current climate of the NFC. With three of last year’s powerhouses beginning to find themselves in the Packers, the Giants and the 49ers, it’s time for the Bears to start raising their game to that next level. Not to mention the Atlanta Falcons who just continue to roll through the schedule undefeated.
The 49ers had a stumble in Minnesota and were dominated by the Giants. In the last two weeks they have given up nine total points to Seattle and Arizona. Alex Smith had an all-time performance in efficiency against what was one of the better passing defenses in the league this past Monday night. We already knew how good their defense and the rushing attack could be.
In the East, the Giants have opened up what appears to be an insurmountable lead. The defending Champs continue to get fantastic play from their front four and Eli Manning with all those weapons present a daunting challenger for anyone.
The Packers never could put away the Jaguars, but their two best receivers were inactive and they showed what they were capable of by blowing the doors off of the Texans in Houston. The Bears have a two game lead in the loss column, but the schedule is about to get rocky.
After the Bears play the Titans this week, they have back to back games against the Texans and 49ers. Therein lies the danger, looking ahead to a huge matchup with Houston a week from Sunday in prime time. If the team that played the Panthers goes into Tennessee this week, they will get a real wake up call in the form of an L.
It’s moving week for the Bears and it’s time to keep pace with the elite of the NFC.
Yes they stand at 6-1 and yes if the season ended today everybody but the Falcons would have to go through Chicago to move on, but we are seeing the top of the NFC is starting to separate themselves. It’s time for the Bears to join that faction and it starts in Nashville this week.
Matt Hasselbeck has had back to back weeks with a QB rating over 93 and all of a sudden Chris Johnson has run for 90+ yards in four out of five weeks. The Bears are a much better football team, but they also have rarely shown it for more than a half at a time. This is not a game where they can just get by on being more talented.
Really, isn’t this just bout the offense?
The Bears are not going to beat the Texans and 49ers on guts and guile. Sunday will mark the halfway point of the season, and it’s time for the Bears offense to give their counterparts a helping hand. It all begins up front with line. Cutler needs to remain upright this passing attack needs a full 60 minute performance.
Enter the Titans who are in the bottom five of the NFL in passing yards allowed with an average of 282. They are also 28th in the league in sacks with just 11. In contrast, the Bears defense gives up 238 yards through the air and have taken the quarterback down 23 times. Every thing points to a big day for Cutler, Brandon Marshall and company, but we have said that before.
Either the Panthers game can serve as a wake up call or a loss at the Titans can hammer home the message. The choice is yours Bears.