Well, the game didn't really pan out how I expected it to (though the margin of victory was identical).
Bears Run Versus Bengals Run Defense
I said that this was a defense that could be run on, but I was wrong. Forte carried the ball 19 times for just 50 yards; as a team, the Bears were 28 for 81 (18 of which came on a nifty Cutler scoot on a 2nd and 20). Forte wasn't getting any sort of penetration from the OL, and he wasn't getting the edge all game until the very end on a nice 4th and 1 conversion.
Bengals Run Versus Bears Run Defense
The Law Firm was disbarred in this game, carrying the ball 14 games for just 25 yeards. He looked really bad; Giovani Bernard only got 4 carries but had almost as many yards (22). He is going to be the starter very soon, and looked pretty good in his limited time. There was a nice WR end-around to M. Jones that gained 14 yards as well, and it was frustrating to watch when it happened.
Bears Pass Versus Bengals Pass Defense
Cutler was really excellent in this game. He was unsacked (a testament to the offensive line AND to Cutler getting rid of the ball, and the scheme that was built around reducing Cutler's sacks), and completed a good number of passes (21/33, 63.4%). He had his customary frustrating interception, but we're just going to have to deal with that. He led the Bears down the field essentially at will from the middle of the 3rd onward, and converted on a short field that the defense gave the offense early on in the game.
Brandon Marshall had a great game, with 10 targets for 8 catches and 104 yards. Jeffery wasn't as successful, with 5 grabs for 42 yards on 8 targets. Forte had 4 catches for 41 yards as well. Martellus Bennett dropped an easy one for his first play as a Bear, but made up for it with a nice grab in the back of the end zone for a TD (I'm not sure it was actually a TD, but it was not indisputable and so was not reversed). All in all, a great game for the WR corps and Jay.
Bengals Pass Versus Bears Pass Defense
First, the bad. A.J. Green beat Peanut like a drum all game. When a physical, elite WR matches up against Tillman, there just isn't that much he can do. If Green runs a crisp, perfect route, it doesn't matter who's defending him. He lit up Chicago for 162 yards on 9 targets (13 targets). Tyler Eifert was similarly dominant (and the Bears ALWAYS struggle against physical tight ends).
Now, the good. Even though the Bears only had one sack (Shea McClellin!), they put enough pressure on Dalton to rush his throws. Remember what I said about Peanut Tillman? When Green DOESN'T run a perfect route, Tillman is a threat to intercept the ball. He did twice; once on a no-doubter that Dalton would like to have back, and another off a carom through Green's hands. A.J. Green was far from perfect in this one; Jennings got two Peanut Punches in, knocking the ball out of his hands once (though it was kicked out of bounds by Jennings accidentally) and removing the ball from Sanu's hands as well (he recovered his own forced fumble). Tillman is still an elite corner, so don't let the huge game from Green fool you. He still had 2 picks, one of which led directly to 7 points.
Robbie Gould kicked the longest field goal in Bears history, draining a 58-yarder at the end of the half. I love me some Robbie Gould. Hester had a pretty good kick return but was bottled up on punts, only one of which he had positive yardage on.
Prediction: Bears 17, Bengals 14
Actual: Bears 24, Bengals 21
The Bears stay home to play a pretty bad Minnesota team. The Bengals host a pretty bad Pittsburgh team on Monday night.