Two-and-zero is 2-0, no matter how you get there.
Add the fact the Bears are 1-0 in the NFC North and just dropped the Vikings to 0-2 in the division after losing a playoff tiebreaker to them last year, based on division record, and it’s a good time to be the Bears.
There is more good news. Heading into the Vikings game, one of the Bears’ major goals was to get Matt Forte untracked. With Forte rushing for 90 yards on 19 carries, a 4.7 average, and catching all 11 passes Jay Cutler aimed at him for another 71 yards, we can call that mission accomplished.
Then there’s Jay Cutler. When your quarterback gives you back-to-back fourth quarter come-from-behind wins, you have to feel pretty good.
Of course, with Cutler, you do always have to take the good with the bad. Had he not been stripped of the football, resulting in a 61-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Brian Robison, and thrown two drive-killing interceptions, the Bears might have won this one going away. Although, in fairness to Cutler, the first interception by Kevin Williams was a pinball in the Vikings’ end zone that wasn’t totally on him.
The punctuation mark on the Bears’ 31-30 thriller over the Vikings was an outstanding performance from Devin Hester returning kickoffs.
Hester totaled 249 yards on five returns, including a 76-yard return after the Vikings’ Cordarrelle Patterson returned the opening kickoff 105 yards for a touchdown.
He also added an 80-yard return after the Robison touchdown and a 42-yarder early in the fourth quarter. Hester seemed to turn the momentum back in the Bears’ favor almost every time the Vikings made a big play.
Unfortunately, there were problems against the Vikings as well, and many will compare the victory to the Bears’ Week 1 win over the Bengals, some even suggesting the Bears did more to concern than to earn praise.
Unlike the Bengals game, in which the Bears were dominated for the better part of three quarters before taking over the fourth quarter to win the game, this time the Bears started fast and then almost flamed out.
On defense, they held the Vikings to 22 plays for 74 yards in the first 27:09 before allowing them 291 yards on 45 plays the rest of the way.
The Bears’ offense churned out 284 yards on 41 plays in the first half but faltered for just 132 yards on 27 plays in the second half.
Marc Trestman continued to dial up multiple personnel groupings, formations and the occasional surprise, including a 36-yard end around from Alshon Jeffrey. But, in addition to the Cutler turnovers, Forte lost a fumble and Cutler was occasionally inaccurate on plays that were there to be had.
The post-mortem on this win will focus on when the Bears will put together a complete performance and whether they are capable of handling a step up in competition.
The Bears added a couple of weapons, with Dante Rosario and Joe Anderson taking snaps on offense, but neither was targeted with any of Cutler’s throws. Brandon Marshall, Forte, M. Bennett and Alshon Jeffrey again received 35 of Cutler’s 38 targets and Earl Bennett and Steve Maneri were the only other receivers Cutler tried.
Defensively, there was little or no pressure from the pass rush and the safeties again struggled in coverage.
But, that said, what should be remembered is that the Bears did what they had to, to keep Adrian Peterson from beating them. Defensive coordinator Mel Tucker was spot on with his blitz calls and the way he loaded the box to limit Peterson.
If you want style points, look elsewhere. After two weeks, only nine of the NFL’s 32 teams are 2-0. And asking for any more than that, right now, just seems greedy.
• Hub Arkush covers the Bears for Shaw Media and HubArkush.com. Write to him a firstname.lastname@example.org.