Observations from Jets-Bears
The Bears quieted some (never ALL) critics and moved within a Philly loss or win over Green Bay next week of a first-round bye and the 2nd seed in the NFC Playoffs with a win over the Jets on Sunday, 38-34. Here are a few thoughts from the game:
1) I hope that those few writers who were writing about Desean Jackson being the best returner in the NFL, and not Devin Hester, watched this game. After being flat-out avoided for the first half, Hester finally got one punt return and one kick return. Both he ran back deep into Jets’ territory and set up crucial scores for the Bears. It reminds me of when Barry Bonds was in his prime in San Francisco. Teams would pitch around him 95 percent of the time; but when he got a pitch, he CRUSHED IT. Hester may only get one or two shots per game–and I expect that to get less as we head into the playoffs–but when he gets one, he is heading upfield, making big plays, and changing momentum of games. I saw an article making a case for Devin Hester for MVP; and it sounds preposterous at first glance to make a part-time WR and returner a Most Valuable Player; but no one can argue the fact that he changes games like few players in the league can.
2) I hope those few people still out there that think the Bears made a mistake trading 2 first round picks for Jay Cutler watched this game. Granted, the INT that Lowery ran back for a TD was a terrible decision by Cutler. But the TD pass in the 1st quarter, and the 3 TD passes in the 3rd quarter were All-Pro throws. MVP-type plays. Against a defense with a pretty good secondary (2 past Pro Bowlers in Cromartie and Revis). And, for the record, the Kyle Orton-apologists who think Orton is a game manager who just wins games, he is now watching Tim Tebow run the Broncos’ offense after leading the Broncos to 3 WINS so far this season.
3) Our WRs have arrived. FINALLY. Did anyone ho watched this game actually think this offense FINALLY resembled the Rams ‘greatest show on turf in the second half? And throw in a Matt Forte that is running the ball harder than I have ever seen him run it, our offense looks like one that can score on any defense we will face come playoff time.
4) Julius Peppers has garnered most of the attention on the defense as free-agent acquisitions go, and rightfully so. But Chris Harris has really stepped his game back up the last 2 games; and he always seems to be making the big play that a)turns a game; or b) seals a game. For the most part, he has really solidified the safety position.
5) Alot of people, including myself, have bashed alot of the decisions Lovie Smith has made in his tenure in Chicago, including a few this year. The non-challenge in the Redskins game comes immediately to mind. But he & our coaching staff stayed steady with the game plan, even when we managed to turn a 10-0 lead into a 21-10 deficit. And, on the flip side, we saw what happens hen a coach (Rex Ryan) lets his emotions get the best of him early in the third quarter. I need an explanation on why, as a coach with a 4-point lead and a 4th-and-4 at YOUR OWN 40-yard line, you would run a fake punt with your PUNTER throwing a pass to a part-time WR? If you feel like you can get the 4 yards, keep you offense in, if anything. I think that 4th-down stop was the turning point in the game in the Bears’ favor.