Finally! The training camp and pre-season are over and the NFL season is upon us. The Chicago Bears came in today’s matchup against the Lions looking to put the disappointment of the 2009 season behind them while the Lions were looking to improve on their 2-14 mark from a year ago.
All of the hype over the highly touted Mike Martz’s offense did not live up to its billing during the first half. While the Bears did have an impressive opening drive to take an early 3-0 lead, the Bears committed three turnovers, two of which Detroit turned into 14 points for the Lions. The Bears’ offense finally did respond as Jay Cutler connected with Matt Forte for an 89-yard touchdown reception and tacked on a late field goal to pull within 14-13 going into halftime.
The offensive struggles would continue for the Bears in the second half as Chicago failed to capitalize on great field position during the entire second half. However, Matt Forte, who gave the Bears their only touchdown in the first half would come through as he and Cutler connected on a 28-yard touchdown pass that gave Chicago a 19-14 lead with just over 1:30 to play. The Bears would miss the two-point conversion.
With the ball on the Bears’ twenty-five yard line, the Lions appeared to have stolen the game as backup quarterback Shaun Hill appeared to complete a touchdown pass to Calvin Johnson. However, after further review, it was ruled an incomplete catch and the Bears came away with a 19-14 win in a game that shouldn’t have been that close as the Bears dominated in nearly every statistical category.
Jay Cutler threw for over 370 yards along with a pair of touchdown passes but with an interceptions. While Matt Forte did not have a great day running the ball (14 carries for 50 yards), he did haul in 7 catches for 151 yards. The Bears’ defense also deserves praise limiting Detroit to less than 200 yards passing and less than 30 yards on the ground. In addition to that, also kept the Lions out of the end-zone in the second half with the exception of the controversial play at the end of the game.
While the Bears racked up over 400 yards of offense, they failed to take advantage. The Bears failed to top the 100 yard mark on the ground and the offensive line continues to struggle as Cutler was under pressure for a good majority of the game.
While it is good to open the season with a victory over a division-rival, the Bears will need to be more efficient next week if they expect to beat the Cowboys.