The Chicago Bears won for the second consecutive week on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter. Jay Cutler and the offense did their job to get the lead for good with minutes to spare twice, but there have been a number of areas, in all three phases of the game, which need improvement.
Chicago Bears Offense
Jay Cutler has been better under coaches Marc Trestman and Aaron Kromer. One thing that Trestman still has to work on with Cutler is his penchant for stubborn throws. This past game against Minnesota, Jay made two passes that were intercepted. The interceptions were solely on him.
The tipped pick in the end zone was on a forced throw to the middle of a crowded goal line. His long ball intended for Brandon Marshall that was intercepted was a bad read. Vikings safety Harrison Smith sat on Marshall’s go route and Cutler failed to recognize the base coverage.
Trestman has to find a way to get Cutler to consider a different approach. As great as Jay’s arm is, relying on the power throw will continue to produce these results. It may be too late in his career to change that approach, but the “Mad Scientist” could well be the coach to change him.
Who is the third wide receiver on the Chicago Bears?
Earl Bennett and Joe Anderson have been afterthoughts for Cutler. Anderson has yet to play a snap on offense. Of Cutler’s 39 pass attempts, 35 were to Matt Forte, Brandon Marshall, Martellus Bennett, and Alshon Jeffery. As nice as it is to see those four as trustworthy targets, another one or two would put the improving offense on another level.
Chicago Bears Defense
Julius Peppers was fighting an illness, leading to a second straight game with little accomplished. The Chicago Bears front four as a whole has produced no pass rush through two weeks. If this trend continues, matchups against elite throwers such as Aaron Rodgers and Matt Stafford will burn the Bears. The secondary can only cover receivers for so long.
The secondary itself has been okay. Charles Tillman has been hurt, but has also been up and down in coverage. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green burned “Peanut” week one and re-aggravating his knee injury showed when Tillman had to run for more than short distances against the Vikings.
Chris Conte and Major Wright are liabilities in coverage. How Wright did not break up the touchdown pass to Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph is baffling considering how close he was to Rudolph. The safety group has a hard time keeping with any deep threat that they have faced to this point. If the NFL included hard hits without tackling as tackles, the Bears would be towards the top.
Chicago Bears Special Teams
Devin Hester saved the Chicago Bears this past Sunday with a team record 249 kickoff return yards. His return after Vikings returner Cordarrelle Patterson took the opening kick for a touchdown took away a lot of momentum. The kick coverage was bad on the Patterson touchdown. After seeing multiple angles it was tough to not see Bears special teamers clumped together, leaving a large lane for the rookie to run through.
Chicago goes on the toad for the first time this season for a Sunday night showdown against a reeling Pittsburgh Steelers team. In order to leave the Steel City undefeated, the Chicago Bears have to improve on everything discussed. If not, a loss to an 0-2 club with a subpar offense could send the Bears back a step.
Follow Jeff on Twitter @jeffrotull44 for more sports and entertainment ramblings. If you play fantasy sports, check out The Fantasy Fix, where Jeff’s weekly column ‘Peaks and Valleys’ covers your add/drop/watch needs during baseball and hockey season.