Bears' offense following familiar path early

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The trend for the Chicago Bears' offense the past couple of years has been to struggle in the early parts of the season before eventually settling into a groove and finding its rhythm.

This season appears to be no different after the Bears' offense has managed to score just 26 total points and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. It’s a stark contrast to what the offense was able to accomplish in the regular season opener against the Indianapolis Colts when the Bears put 41 points on the board.

The Bears had 274 yards of total offense in Sunday’s victory over the St. Louis Rams as quarterback Jay Cutler completed 17-of-31 passes for 183 yards, one interception and a passer rating of 58.9. This latest performance comes on the heels of the Bears mustering only 168 total yards of offense in a 23-10 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sept. 13.

But Bears coach Lovie Smith said on Monday he believes the club's offense is heading in the right direction despite the recent two-game slide.

"You want to have a 4-0 quarter each (year), but it normally doesn't happen like that," Smith said. "But you look at our football right now, when you say "bumpy,” I just kind of look at the whole (picture). We're 2-1 and in pretty good shape going into this last part of the first quarter. Every season you go through (it). That's why it's the first quarter, there are things to get worked out still. That's what we're doing, but we see improvement as much as anything.

"Even though it doesn't always say it with your stats and all that, we are making progress."

If history holds true, the Bears will be able to make significant progress in the coming weeks. The Bears had three offensive clunkers in the first half of the 2010 regular season (New York Giants, Seattle Seahawks, Washington Redskins) before righting the ship and reeling off five straight wins following their bye week. Last year, the Bears had difficulty moving the ball against New Orleans, Green Bay and Detroit before embarking on a similar five-game winning streak until Cutler broke his thumb against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 20.