Bears Buzz is the new segment which provides insight, analysis and below-the-belt shots at Chicago's opponents throughout the year. After a bye week, the Chicago Bears march into Atlanta to take on the Falcons.
Da Bears roll into Atlanta for a prime-time match-up on NBC against the 3-1 Falcons. The Bears' biggest challenge will be trying to slow down the incomparable Mike Vick, who John Madden famously said is good because he knows how to use his hands and feet at the same time.
Wait. What? You say Mike Vick is an Eagle, not a Falcon. Sorry. I got my birds mixed up. Let's try this again.
There was plenty to smile about after the Chicago Bears' 48-24 dismantling of the Detroit Lions in Week 4. Then the bye week came. And at 3-1, the Bears will face a challenge the team has yet to face this season.
A well-rounded football team.
Had you told me in 2004 that Northern Illinois grad Michael Turner would be one of the NFL's best running backs in 2009, I would have laughed at you and besmirched the name of Huskie football. By now, I would have thought Turner would have been running a gas station somewhere just outside of DeKalb, Ill., but instead, "The Burner" has made quite a name for himself in Atlanta.
Last season, Turner justified a contract as hefty as his belly with a career year as he rushed for 1,699 yards and 17 touchdown runs. There's an old saying in Chicago that talks about the Bears coming off the bus running. You can say the same about the Falcons and the tandem of Turner and Jerrious Norwood.
For the Bears to win this game, the Brian Urlacher-less defense must not allow the Falcons' bus drive to open the doors. If anything, maybe Lance Briggs can slash the tires or something.
The problem with that ideology is it will force Matt Ryan to drop back, wind up and heave it down the field. Last year, that would not have been much of a problem because the solution to stopping the Atlanta's aerial assault was rolling the DBs over to Roddy White's side of the field. That solution is no longer viable because tight end Tony Gonzalez lurks in the middle of the field.
Gonzalez is second on the team in receiving yards and has a pair of reception touchdowns so far this season. He is the security blanket Ryan did not have as a rookie. It's the fall back plan the Bears currently do not have an answer for on defense. Do you stick him man-to-man with Lance Briggs or do you leave Briggs to lock his eyes on what is happening with Turner and the rest of the Falcons' backfield.
Unlike last season when Bob Babich's defense looked dazed and confused, the Monsters are actually living up to their namesake under Lovie Smith. The defense has only allowed 19.5 points per game and has forced two turnovers in each of the three victories.
Conversely, the Atlanta defense has forced 9 turnovers in the team's four games this season, spearheaded by four takeaways in the season opener against usually sure-handed Miami and three more against a disciplined 49ers squad.
The Bears have only turned it over twice since the Opening Night debacle at Green Bay. Since then, Jay Cutler has thrown 7 touchdowns against only 1 interception.
Football is the most simple of all the professional sports, for success can be found in a three-step formula.
- Run the ball
- Stop the run
- Pressure the quarterback
The Bears have allowed only an average of 93.5 yards per game on the ground. In that time they've faced a bevy of talented running backs such as Ryan Grant, Willie Parker, Rashad Mendenhall and Kevin Smith.
But before giving Chicago the edge, take the following into consideration.
The Steelers were without star safety Troy Polumalu. The Seahawks were without quarterback Matt Hasselback. The Lions were without Barry Sanders. (They're the Lions -- they just plain suck. Who else did you want me to say? Herman Moore? Scott Mitchell? Wayne Fontes?) It was a good thing to see the Bears took advantage of the short-handed bunch and pick up three wins after falling apart in Week 1.
Hopefully, this prime time affair ends with less tears and more cheers (and beers) for Chicago's finest.