The Bears are flying high at 7-1, with the most dominant defense in the NFL. But with a second-half schedule that appears more difficult on paper, the offense remains a cause for concern because of slow starts and poor pass protection.
But coach Lovie Smith was confident the offense will carry its share of the load eventually.
”Right now we’re talking an awful lot about our defense,” Smith said at his Monday press conference at Halas Hall. ”But before this season is over — hopefully this week — it’s going to shift, where we’re going to be talking an awful lot about the weapons we have and the offensive plays that we’re making.”
The Bears gained 358 yards in the 51-20 rout of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at LP Field in Nashville. Jay Cutler threw three touchdown passes and had a 138.1 passer rating. Matt Forte rushed for 103 yards on 12 carries and added a 47-yard gain on a screen pass.
But most of the damage was done after the Bears had built a 21-2 lead in the first quarter. Until the Bears had the 19-point lead, Cutler was 1-for-4 for two yards. After that, he was 18-of-22 for 227 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions — a 149.2 rating. And all of it was done against a defense that came in ranked 30th in the NFL in total defense.
Smith accentuated the positive — at 7-1, that’s his right. But even he knows the offense will have to improve in the second half.
”Matt Forte rushed for over 100 yards,” Smith said. ”We had a great day running the football. Brandon Marshall had 3 touchdown [receptions]. Jay Cutler had over a 130 quarterback rating. A lot of good things we’re doing offensively. We know there’s a long ways to go still.”