That may be accurate, but Chicago is equally lucky to have offensive coordinator Adam Gase, who continues to click with his 32-year-old quarterback.
With Alshon Jeffery gimpy due to a groin injury, Cutler and Gase attacked the soft edges of the Rams' defense with tailback Jeremy Langford and tight end Zach Miller, who both had career days inside the Edward Jones Dome. Cutler's knack for escaping pressure and checking down to his secondary targets negated St. Louis' pass rush. Gase kept the Rams off-balance by mixing in a heavy dose of run plays featuring Langford and Ka'Deem Carey.
Cutler's final numbers (19-of-24 for 258 yards, three touchdowns and a 151.0 quarterback rating) are a tad inflated because of the long touchdown grabs by Miller (87 yards) and Langford (83 yards), but the quarterback again looked to be in complete control and in sync with Gase. The Bears are a difficult team to beat when Cutler keeps his poise and protects the football.
Don't look now, but the Bears could reach .500 with a win next week over the Denver Broncos.
What it means: The Bears finally beat a team with a .500 record or better. In front of thousands of Bears fans who made the drive from Chicago, John Fox’s team dominated in the second quarter. That was all Chicago needed to finish off the Rams and their hapless quarterback Nick Foles. At 4-5, the Bears are making steady progress after digging an early hole (0-3) to begin the year. Next week’s home game versus Fox’s old team, Denver, suddenly could be an interesting matchup. There is a quiet buzz building around the Bears in the NFC North.
What were they thinking? For the second week in a row, Chicago’s defense looked out of sorts to begin the game. St. Louis easily marched 80 yards down the field in seven plays to grab an early 7-0 lead. The most glaring mistake happened when the Bears simply forgot to cover Todd Gurley on a short pass coming out of the backfield. Gurley went 31 yards on the play and later scored a rushing touchdown. Gurley is expected to be the NFL’s Rookie of the Year. Might want to cover him. The defense regrouped and played well the rest of the day, but why the issues every week in the first quarter?
One reason to get excited: Langford is on fire. The fourth-round pick's speed is undeniable. You can make an argument that Langford is more dangerous than Forte in the passing game. Langford now has the longest screen pass of the season (an 83-yard TD) and went over 140 all-purpose yards for the second straight week. Imagine when Forte does return from an MCL injury. The Bears will have one of the best 1-2 combos in the NFL. Langford is a future star.
One reason to panic: Please call the Bears if you can return kickoffs and punts. Veteran Marc Mariani is on shaky ground after he muffed his third punt of the year on Sunday. Mariani also made questionable decisions on when to take the ball out of the end zone on kickoff returns. In fairness to Mariani, the Bears blocked poorly for him much of the afternoon. But ball security on special teams is vital. No. 2 return man Eddie Royal has been out with a knee injury, otherwise a switch would’ve already happened.
Fantasy watch: Jeffery appeared slightly limited in pregame warmups due to a groin injury. Turns out Jeffery spent most of the game as a decoy. He finished the game with only three receptions for 23 yards. Langford and Miller each had two touchdowns. Tight end Martellus Bennett was a non-factor with just three catches for 18 yards.
Ouch: The Bears avoided any serious injuries on Sunday, but a mini-controversy erupted before the game. The Bears listed Pernell McPhee and Forte as questionable on Friday’s injury report, but neither made the trip to St. Louis. A Bears spokesperson said the club notified the Rams and the NFL that Forte and McPhee had been downgraded to out, but failed to inform the media, which is a violation of the league’s injury reporting policy. The league is investigating.