Yes, the defense turned the Bengals over on three occasions. Yes, at times it seemed like the Bengals coaching staff was distracted watching the Red Zone channel. And yes, the Bears offense looked far too much like the 2009-2012 version for the first three quarters.
All that is true. But here’s another fact. With four new starters on the offensive line, the Chicago Bears allowed this many sacks: 0. Just to spell that out: ZERO.
In 33 drop-backs, Cutler hit the ground exactly no times. If that’s not a gold stamped seal of approval for the new guys, I’m not sure what is.
Keep in mind, the Bengals are pretty good at this whole pass rush thing. Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap are among the best in the business on the defensive line. But Jermon Bushrod was a revelation at left tackle (J-Webb who?) and rookies Kyle Long and Jordan Mills have already made the 2012 Bears draft look like a winner.
“There were a lot of question marks," Cutler said after the game. “…Are we going to be able to block them? Am I going to complete balls… it wasn't perfect, we didn't think it was going to be. We made plays when we had to make plays."
There’s still plenty of room for improvement, especially in the running game. Matt Forte carried 19 times for just 50 yards. The push this new line demonstrated in the preseason just wasn’t there when the Bears went to the ground.
"I think it tested us and our backbone because it didn't go the way we wanted it to go, certainly, in the first half," said Trestman. "But the guys hung in there together, at halftime pulled themselves together and the team went out and played every play and were able to come out on top."
Chicago will need that resilience next week, when they open division play. The Bears host the Vikings, and their pass-rushing phenomenon Jared Allen.
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