Monday, December 7, 2009

Back to Basics

Following a string of four consecutive defeats, the Bears desperately needed to get back into the win column on Sunday against the hapless Rams. A vintage ball control and defensive minded performance moved Chicago to 5-7. The fundamental approach carried the Bears to a 17-9 win heading into next week’s rivalry matchup with the Packers.

Using a familiarly successful formula, the Bears took to the ground as they rushed 38 times for 120 yards. Defensively, Chicago prevented the Rams from registering any touchdowns, as St. Louis was just 2-14 on third down on the day. Jay Cutler was efficient, throwing for 143 yards on 8-17 passing, a touchdown and no interceptions. There was nothing flashy about Sunday’s win, but perhaps that how this team needs to get it done.

Matt Forte cashed in on his fourth TD of the season in the first quarter. All tolled, Matt ran for a respectable 91 yards on 24 carries. Kahlil Bell chipped in with 35 yards on 11 carries of his own.

The Bears did use the big play a couple of times to set up scoring opportunities. Jay Cutler connected with Devin Hester on a 48 yard pass, which set up the first Bears TD, a 1 yard plunge by Matt Forte. On the following possession, Earl Bennett scampered 71 yards on a catch and run, which resulted in a Robbie Gould field goal. Those ten points would prove to be enough to finish off the Rams.

St. Louis stud running back Steven Jackson was able to gain 112 yards on 28 carries, but the Rams offense was kept out of the red zone in 12 of 13 Rams possessions.

Chicago turned the ball over just once, a Matt Forte fumble, while forcing a Rams fumble and Kyle Boller interception.

The players were more relieved than anything else, able to avoid what would have been an extremely embarrassing defeat. Next week, the Bears get a shot at the Packers, who have to travel to Soldier Field, coming off short rest and a physical matchup with the Baltimore Ravens. On a playoff push, Green Bay cannot afford to slip up in Chicago next week.

For the Bears, the stakes won’t be as high, but a rivalry game is always a tough battle, and Chicago has an opportunity to throw a monkey wrench into the playoff plans of the Packers. I think the Pack will be weary and ill-prepared for this road game.

Bears 17 Packers 14

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