After two straight crushing losses, especially from an offensive standpoint, the Bears needed time to clear their heads before hosting Minnesota on Sunday. And that in no way was limited to Jay Cutler's concussion situation, though Fox broadcaster Tony Siragusa made light of it during Fox's pregame coverage:
Siragusa (to Cutler): "Real quick, how many fingers am I holding up?"
Cutler: "Three." (This appears to be the correct answer.)
Siragusa: "All right, you're ready to go." (Shakes Cutler's hand).
Bears fans were relieved to have Cutler back, and it looks like the rest of the team had things figured out in a 28-10 win. Here are the Bears who stood out Sunday, both for playing it smart and, well, doing the opposite at times.
Smart: Throwing repeatedly to Brandon Marshall makes a quarterback look brilliant. Cutler also zipped a pass to Kellen Davis over the head of Vikings linebacker to the 1-yard line, setting up a Bears TD. No offense to Jason Campbell, but Cuter's got that play down.
Not so smart: Cutler gave Minnesota cornerback A.J. Jefferson a wicked stiff-arm in the second quarter, which was great, but he followed it up by flipping the ball to Jefferson and drawing a 15-yard taunting penalty. He also made a risky pass while falling down to avoid a sack. Really, Jay?
Smart: The Bears offensive coordinator used lineman Gabe Carimi at tight end several times, most notably in springing Michael Bush for a touchdown in the first quarter. It also appeared like they focused more on their tight ends, who had twc catches for 28 yards and a score.
Not so smart: Any complaining here would be nitpicking, honestly. Bears fans are just happy Tice didn't look as clueless as he did in the team's three losses this season.
Smart: In calling for a fake extra point that led to an Adam Podlesh 2-point conversion run, you can tell special teams coach Dave Toub really did his homework on Minnesota.
Not so smart: Eric Weems, filling in for the injured Devin Hester on punt returns, came dangerously close to touching a bouncing punt, which easily could have resulted in a turnover. There's such a thing as being TOO aggressive, Eric.
Smart: He made some unbelievable catches in traffic, several of which kept Bears drives intact. If it weren't for his 12 receptions for 92 yards, Jay Cutler might still look lost out there.
Not so smart: On one third-down play, Marshall made the catch, then proceeded to run backward 12 yards and get tackled. And here we thought Devin Hester cornered the market on that move. Talking trash to defensive backs before the game is out of reach usually isn't smart, either.
Smart: For a unit that has been pummeled recently, these guys deserve credit for allowing just one sack and helping the Bears muster 296 yards of offense. And they did it while suffering several injuries Sunday.
Not so smart: J'Marcus Webb commited a false start penalty, and the one sack the Bears surrendered came on their second play from scrimmage, when Roberto Garza accidentally stepped on Jay Cutler's foot and tripped him up. It's almost funny, really. Almost.
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