After four weeks of being on the back of a milk carton, the Chicago Bears found their running game; and it’s a good thing to because with Todd Collins behind center, it was going to be the only way they moved the ball on Sunday.

The Bears broke out for 218 yards rushing yesterday after only being able to amass 275 yards rushing in the previous four games. Matt Forte led the way with 168 yards on 22 carries and the Bears’ first two rushing TD’s of 2010. Backup RB Chester Taylor also chipped in with 43 yards on 18 carries.

The offensive line looked the best it has all season by churning out 5.2 yards per rushing play and ‘only’ allowing 3 QB sacks (as opposed to 10 last week).

The defense, on the other hand, held Carolina to 147 total net yards and a paltry 2.4 yards per play. The defense also registered a season high 5 QB sacks and generated 3 turnovers. DE Julius Peppers made the defensive play of the game after deflecting a Jimmy Clausen pass straight up into the air and then catching his own deflection while on his knees for the interception. DE Israel Idonije tallyed three of the Bears’ five sacks and may be emerging as the compliment to Peppers on the other side of the DL.

The Bears’ special teams came through big in the game too. K Robbie Gould made all of his kicks (3 FG’s and 2 PAT’s). KR Danniel Manning returned three kicks for an average of 44 yards per return (with a long of 62) and PR Devin Hester returned three punts for an average of 22 yards per return (with a long of 50). Both Manning and Hester almost busted a return for a TD.

The only downside to the outcome was the passing game. Todd Collins almost makes this Bears’ fan long for the days of Henry Burris. Collins finished the day with 32 yards on 6 for 16 passing and four (yes, FOUR) interceptions. I would love to say that some of those picks were receiver mishandles of tipped balls, but they were all the result of errant throws with little or no pressure. The silver lining in all of this is that Collins 6.3 passer rating for the game guarantees there will be no QB controversy this week. The last thing we need as a team are bone head fans calling for Collins to replace Cutler (and you know if Collins even had a mediocre game, there would be people doing precisely that).

On to the game awards:

THE GOOD:

RB Matt Forte: 22 carries for 166 yards (7.5 yards per carry) and 2 TD’s. He looked shifty and fast. On his 68 yard TD run, he outran the Panther defensive backs to the end zone.

DE Julius Peppers: This guy has been a weekly recipient here so far and why not, the guy does it all. His stats may not reflect it (2 tackles, 2 assists, 1 INT), but he is playing at a Pro Bowl level.

THE BAD:

The Bears’ Passing Offense: Bears’ QB’s were a combined 8 of 19 for 51 yards, no TD’s and 4 INT’s (for a 10.1 passer rating for the day). The OL allowed three sacks on the day. Most of this is attributable to Collins playing QB.

The Bears’ Goalline Offense: This continues to be a weekness for the team. They were 0-1 yesterday in goal-to-go situations. When the replay called the Chester Taylor TD back and the Bears had 2nd and goal on the 1, I knew the Bears were either going to settle for a FG or get stuffed (they ended up throwing an interception). They need to figure this out, and SOON!

THE UGLY:

QB Todd Collins: As previously mentioned, he was 6 of 16 for 32 yards and 4 INT’s. It’s no wonder why this guy was out of football for so long. Why he’s the #2 QB ahead of Caleb Hanie is a complete mystery. I’m normally not a fan of the Wildcat offense because it takes your best passer out of the play, but when the ran a Wildcat in the game, it was a vast improvement

RECAP:

A much better performance by the boys in blue and orange. With Cutler hopefully back at the helm next week, I look forward to a much better offensive output. Perhaps the Bears can combine their new found running game with a dangerous Cutler passing attack?

NEXT UP:

The Seattle Seahawks here in Chicago at 12:00 on October 17, 2010.

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