The Chicago Bears squeaked out a 22-19 victory over winless Buffalo last Sunday, struggling at times to move the ball, and failing to put the game away at any point in the day. It wasn’t over until safety Chris Harris intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick on the Bills’ 40 with 27 seconds left.
The Chicago Bears squeaked out a 22-19 victory over winless Buffalo last Sunday, struggling at times to move the ball, and failing to put the game away at any point in the day.
It wasn’t over until safety Chris Harris intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick on the Bills’ 40 with 27 seconds left.
Still, offensive coordinator Mike Martz believes his unit played one of its best games of the season, and he also believes it was just one big sign of what’s to come.
“They were all very productive at big times. When we needed a big play, we got it. You’ve got to do it consistently; that’s true for just about anybody. But I think we’re getting closer to that,” Martz said after practice Wednesday. “For me, there definitely was a different feel to this one. There definitely was. Talking to the guys, they feel it, too, and we’re very excited about where we’re going.”
Chicago put up 283 yards of offense, just off their average of 289.5, which is ranked 29th in the league. And they did it against 0-8 Buffalo, whose defense is ranked 26th in the NFL.
On the season, the Bears score only 37 percent of the time they get into the red zone, ranked 29th in the league. They also have the third most three-and-outs in the league, and have dropped to 26th in the NFL in rushing at 90.6 yards per game.
But quarterback Jay Cutler was sacked only once last week, and did not throw any interceptions. In a Martz-run offense, those stats are key.
And coming after a game where Cutler was dragged down four times and was picked off four times, it was clearly a step up.
“Jay played real well; very well. And we were just better as a team. Everyone was making plays. The receivers played exceptional in this game, and the offensive line did their job, too,” Martz said. “We got better all the way around this week, but Jay probably played one of his best games so far.”
Cutler was 17-for-30 for 188 yards with two TDs. He also rushed for 39 yards on five carries, and had a fumble on the lone Bills’ sack, but had no other glaring mistakes the rest of the day.
“We did some good stuff,” Cutler said. “We still have to clean some things up to get the guys a bit more confident and a little more sharp out there. But we felt good,
“We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen until we get out there in games, but we hope to keep getting better every week.”
The Bears were successful on 7 of 12 third-down conversions, two of which went for touchdowns. A dramatic improvement after converting on just 5 of 53 in their last five games.
And the bottom line is they snapped an ugly stretch of three losses in four games, two on their home turf. Of course, with Minnesota coming to town Sunday, the Bears will not face a Bills-like D again this weekend.
“You’re not going to use that same game plan against Minnesota,” Cutler said. “It’s a different team and a different defense, and you’re going to have to attack them in different ways. That’s the thing about the NFL, each week is different, each week presents its own problems.”
Hopefully for their fans, the Bears will not revisit their previous problems.
Bears reporter Jay Taft can be reached at 815-987-1384 or email@example.com.