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Styf: Bears need more to win close ones

(Mike Greene – mgreene@shawmedia.com)
Bears quarterback Jay Cutler scrambles during the fourth quarter Sunday against the Rams at Soldier Field. The Bears' offensive line remains a question mark.

Of all the strange occurrences early this Bears season, the strangest might be that the team hasn’t played a close game.

At no point has the ball been in the Bears’ hands, or their opponents, in the final minutes with the game on the line.

A look around the league shows they’re on an island with Buffalo, and maybe San Diego, there. Otherwise, every team has had a nail-biter.

That’s what the NFL hopes for, though the league has to hate seeing those games end in a debacle like Monday night’s botched Hail Mary call.

The Bears will finally get that close game Monday.

The ball will be in Jay Cutler’s hands. The game will be on the line.

The question is how much faith do you have in Cutler, his offensive line and whoever ends up being available to play running back to win it?

That result has a lot to do with how good this Bears team will be this season, something we really don’t have a clear indication about yet. It’s probably somewhere between how they looked Week 1 and Week 2.

The key components to winning in the clutch are the ability to take time off the clock while getting the first down when you need it when you’re ahead, something the Cowboys did to beat the Giants in Week 1.

The Bears don’t have the consistency to do that, so the pressure will be on the defense to hold leads.

The other key is the ability to move the ball down the field quickly and set up a shot at a field goal or touchdown to come back.

They definitely have that, with Cutler’s arm and receiving weapons. We just don’t know if he’ll have the time to find his receivers when he needs it.

That’s why this game, and games like it, will be so important.

The thing I’ve avoided to this point is defense.

The Bears can play that. They can hold a team like Dallas when it counts. But I just don’t think they can come back if they fall behind against a good team.

This week, we should get a chance to find that out.

And we’ll find out what the Bears’ offense is made of then.

The pick: This is how the Bears season is going to go. Up and down and …. you get the picture.

Dallas isn’t the best team in the league, but in Week 1 and Monday they’ll be good enough to win in prime time.

Cowboys 24, Bears 21

• Northwest Herald sports editor Jon Styf can be reached at jstyf@shawmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JonStyf.

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