Chicago Bears 1-0
The Marc Trestman era is off to a great start. I was able to catch the fourth quarter and saw the Bears complete the comeback against a very solid Bengals team. Here are a couple of initial thoughts. The Bears defense is going to be really good this year. They have a great rotation on the defensive line. The linebackers are very active and the secondary is awesome. I think the retirement of Brian Urlacher has actually helped the defense in that the team's speed is better. I know there will be times when calls won't be right, but as the season progresses, I think the additional athleticism will be more beneficial.
The special teams were solid. Robbie Gould hit a franchise record 58-yard field goal - which turned out to be the difference in the score. Kickoffs were also good, so it looks like he has recovered fully from his late-season injury from last year. I'd like to see more out of the return game - and I expect to see it in coming weeks as Devin Hester is now basically just a full-time return man.
The offense started slow, but it seems that the offensive line is much improved. They played well against a very good front 7 and did not give up a sack. After Cutler threw a horrible interception early in the 4th quarter, the defense forced a fumble and the offense just seemed to click. Cutler was efficient in moving the ball 80 yards for the go ahead touchdown. It was a great drive with a good mix of runs and passes. There was a long pass to Marshall, an 18-yard scramble by Cutler, an 8-yard run by Forte on a 4th and 1 play, and then a laser pass to Marshall on a back shoulder fade type route that capped the drive. The Bears D held Cincy and the Bears offense was able to bleed the final six and a half minutes of the game with a great sustained drive. I was very pleased with the effort and think the key to the season is continuing to improve on offense. This should happen as Trestman gets more comfortable with the personnel and the Bears get more comfortable with his system.
Next up is Minnesota at Soldier Field. I like the matchup for the Bears.