Battering Rams

Bears D sacks its way to win over St. Louis

September 23, 2012|RedEye

Jay Cutler's run-in with offensive lineman J'Marcus Webb has dominated Bears talk lately. Fans are questioning whether they get along well enough to win. Well, the truth is both the quarterback and the O-line need to pick up their game, and this week's matchup against St. Louis was the first chance for them to regain their stride. So, would they end up on solid ground or shaky footing? Here's how it played out Sunday.

FIRST QUARTER

Solid: For the first time all season, the Bears' first play from scrimmage does not end in a sack of Cutler. That's because they wisely hand the ball to Michael Bush, who gains 12 yards. Sounds like a plan. (14:54)

Solid: Cutler rolls out and hits Brandon Marshall for 9 yards. The Bears figured out this combination works MUCH quicker this game. (14:16)

Shaky: Left guard Chilo Rachal commits a false start penalty. Let's not make that a habit, please. (13:18)

Shaky: Cutler takes hit from two Rams as he attempts to hit Alshon Jeffery on a pass down the right sideline. One of those rams is Cortland Finnegan, whose actions have been labeled as borderline dirty. Watch out, Jay. (10:56)

Shaky: On the next play, St. Louis' Robert Quinn beats Webb's block and pummels Cutler just as he releases a pass toward Marshall. Webb's still got work to do. At least the Bears get a field goal out of the drive. (10:46)

Shaky: Bears right guard Lance Louis commits a false start penalty. Great. Even more yards to cover. (5:23)

Shaky: Cutler almost spins out of a sack but eventually gets taken down. Ugh. (5:07)

Solid: A screen play to Bush on third-and-17 goes for 18 yards and a first down. Credit Louis and Roberto Garza with clearing the way. We love you guys again! (4:56)

Solid: Lovie Smith goes for it on fourth-and-1, and he's rewarded as Bush gains 2 yards. (1:48)

Shaky: Marshall bobbles a pass and it's picked off by Finnegan, ending a promising drive. Gotta catch the ball, guys. (0:27)

SCORE: Bears 3, St. Louis 0

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SECOND QUARTER

Shaky: False start No. 3, this one on Rachal again. Not the best way to make friends with your QB, big fella. (6:49)

Solid: Kahlil Bell stomps his way for 18 yards, thanks to a big hole created by none other than Webb. You show 'em, J'Marcus! (6:31)

Solid: In this case, Cutler getting hit is a good thing. He's hit late, drawing a roughing the passer penalty and keeping the drive alive. He follows it up with a pass to Marshall for 13 yards and another one for 12, in part thanks to good protection. First and goal, Bears! (2:47)

Solid: At the two-minute warning, Fox shows Cutler tending to a bloody thumb. Shortly thereafter, Bush's blockers make it easy for him on a 3-yard touchdown run. Points for toughness all around. (2:00)

SCORE: Bears 10, St. Louis 3

THIRD QUARTER

Shaky: Cutler gets sacked on third-and-long, just three plays into the Bears' first possession of the second half. So much for second-half adjustments. (11:32)

Shaky: On their next drive, Cutler misses a double-covered Marshall on third-and-8, and fans bring the boos. Imagine how they'd react if the Bears were LOSING. (4:46)

SCORE: Bears 10, St. Louis 6

FOURTH QUARTER

Solid: For a split second, it looks like another bobbled Bears pass might end in a Cutler interception. But no, Alshon Jeffery eventually hauls this one in for a first down. That'll teach 'em to double cover Marshall. (15:00)

Solid: Cutler takes off on a scramble and gains 21 yards to set up first and goal. The drive goes nowhere from there, but at least they get a field goal. Robbie Gould's mom will be pleased, anyway. (11:22)

Solid: On the first play after a Rams punt, Cutler lobs it up for Marshall, who comes down with a 34-yard grab. It sets up a field goal. More important, it looks like Cutler has his safety net back. Don't go anywhere, Brandon. (4:11)

FINAL SCORE: Bears 23, St. Louis 6

CONCLUSION

The offense looks like it's in decent shape. Cutler was sacked only once, the penalties faded as the game wore on and the running game woke up a little. However, the offense doesn't look nearly as good as the defense. The Bears sacked Rams quarterback Sam Bradford six times and intercepted him twice, with one being returned for a touchdown. We're happy to have that dominate the conversation for a little while, come to think of it.

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