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Game Observations: Chicago Bears are back (at least for one week)

The Chicago Bears did the unthinkable: went on the road to play a team they haven’t beaten on the road since 1985 and came from behind 17 points to do so…against a team that was/is considered one of the NFC’s elite teams…against a team who certainly should have ran wild against a porous run defense…against a team opening their brand new shiny stadium..with their top two wide receivers moving at about 80%.

Yes the Bears scraped out a huge come-from-behind win over the 49ers Sunday night 28-20 to move to 1-1 and a four-way tie in the NFCN.

Everyone loves good Jay

What a difference a week makes. After the Buffalo loss, the critics came out in full force delving it out towards Cutler, questioning his on-field decisions and even his leadership abilities. Apparently all is forgiven after a four touchdown/zero interception performance against the 49ers, where so much praise came Cutler’s way post-game that he almost – just almost – cracked a smile.

But all joking aside, Cutler played what really may have been his signature game going into his sixth season in Chicago. I predicted in the game preview that Cutler would likely rebound from an average performance against Buffalo, and he certainly delivered.

Was that actual defense?

Chicago fans have seen so much poor defense during the past year that many probably forgot what good defense was all about. But after showing signs of life against the 49ers, maybe expectations can begin to rise in Chicago? The defense only gave up a total of 129 yards rushing split between running back Frank Gore and quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and against that level of an opponent, that was a victory in and of itself. Tack on four takeaways (three interceptions and one fumble by Kaepernick) and four sacks, this was a defensive performance to really build on.

Unfortunately the Bears were hit with some injuries to safety Chris Conte (shoulder) and Jeremiah Ratliff (concussion) which aren’t believed to be serious, however veteran Charles Tillman suffered a season-ending triceps tear that mirrored his season ending injury from last season. Nothing is settled this soon of course, but it’s pretty likely that Tillman has played his last snap with the Bears.

Hello Kyle Fuller

Going into the 2014 draft, one major hole the Bears needed to fill was at the safety position. Most experts expected general manager Phil Emery to go after either Haha Clinton-Dix out of Alabama or Calvin Pryor out of Louisville, widely considered the two best safety prospects in the draft. However Emery went a different way on defense and took Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller with the 14th overall pick. With Pro Bowl caliber corners Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings already in place, many thought Emery had reached on a player with a first round pick who wouldn’t have the opportunity to contribute much right away.

Fuller showed on Sunday night why Emery may have made the perfect move in the draft. Fuller wasn’t perfect throughout the game, but two athletic interceptions of Kaepernick showed proof-positive that Fuller has the skill set to be a very good cornerback in this league. Now with Tillman out for the season, Fuller will get the nod to show he belongs as a full-time corner.

Conclusion

Just like most Bears fans were too bummed after week one, it’s important not to get too confident coming out of week two. As great as that comeback win was, the team is still 1-1 and tied with the other three teams in the NFCN. The Bears still have to survive a tough road-heavy schedule over the next four weeks, but a win like Sunday night can also help define a season and prove to the team they can win tough games on the road with poise and perseverance.