Here’s to a total victory. And here’s to the Bears’ stars in that total victory – Zach Miller, Jeremy Langford and Nick Foles.
The team that lost its first three games is now 4-5, thanks to some players you might not have been thinking about before the season began. The Bears dominated the Rams 37-13 Sunday because of performances by a resurrected tight end, a rookie running back and a really bad opposing quarterback.
Miller, who came into the season with no touchdown receptions since 2011, had two Sunday, to go with the highlight reel catch he had last Monday night. The big one came on a short pass from Jay Cutler that ended up in the end zone 87 yards later.
All Zach Miller does is score touchdowns. Wait, did I just write that?
Likewise, Cutler’s touchdown connection to Langford came on a short pass that turned into an 83-yard score.
“I think our football team’s growing,’’ coach John Fox said. “… I like the way the guys are going about their business.’’
This was the game that Fox can finally point to and say, “This is who we are and this is what we will be,’’ even as he might be thinking, “Imagine what we’ll be with better players.’’
And this was a game that raises the question: Nick Foles?
There are supermarket tabloids that are more accurate than the Rams quarterback. His passes were all over the place Sunday – high and low, early and late, wide right and wide left. They were rarely where they were supposed to be when they were supposed to be there.
I know we should be talking only about the Bears after such a complete victory, but as I sit here in the first moments after the game, I can’t get past what I just witnessed. The Bears dared Foles to beat them, and he dared anyone to call him an NFL quarterback.
Rookie running back Todd Gurley, who was great in the first half of the season, touched the ball just 15 times Sunday. Why the Rams didn’t get the ball to him more is a mystery, if not a felony.
Langford, filling in for an injured Matt Forte for the second game in a row, easily out-produced Gurley. Anybody see that coming? Langford had seven receptions for 109 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 73 yards and a score on 20 carries. The most impressive part of his performance is that he did it against one of the best defenses in the league. He answered the question many of us had after his nice performance against the Chargers last week: Yeah, but how will he do against a better opponent?
Just fine, thank you.
Miller, who has been slowed by injuries often in his career, caught five passes for 107 yards.
“He fits our mold,’’ Fox said. “He needs to stay healthy, and he has.’’
A lot of credit for Sunday’s blowout has to go to offensive coordinator Adam Gase. He had a great game plan against a very aggressive St. Louis defense. More importantly, Gase has found a way to get the most out of Cutler. He has gotten through to the quarterback in a way no other offensive coordinator has been able to do. And there have been a lot of them.
After Sunday’s game, a Bear could compliment any other Bear in a giddy locker room and not feel like he was dealing in puffery. And after what this team has been through this season, can you blame them for being giddy? Some of us had buried them more than a few times this season.
The players seem to believe what Fox is telling them, and the assumption here is that he must be telling them a lot more than what he has been telling us, which is nothing. The team is being professionally run. The players trust Fox, Gase and defensive coordinator Vic Fangio. That’s huge, especially considering the hole the Bears dug for themselves when they started 0-3.
Belief can go a long way. Sometimes it can make up for a lack of talent.
“I don’t think this team feels like it’s arrived, by any means,’’ Cutler said.
He’s right, of course. But the distance the Bears have traveled to get where they are now is truly impressive.
So here’s to a good quarterback, and here’s to a bad one. I think you know which is which.