What We Learned: Lions vs. Bears

The Chicago Bears opened the 2010 campaign 1-0, but they are still big underdogs in Week 2. What did we learn about the Midway Monsters after what was an ugly win? Start with these five observations:

1. Sacks and picks are going to be a part of Martz's offense
The Monsters of the Midway put up 463 total yards in Mike Martz's debut as offensive coordinator, holding the ball for 34:42, picking up 23 first downs and converting on six of 14 third-down opportunities. The Lions, on the other hand, only managed 168 total yards, 25:18 of possession, 13 first downs and 29 percent conversions on third down, yet Chicago needed an intricate rule in the end zone to disallow a Calvin Johnson touchdown catch in the final minute and hold on for a 19-14 victory. While the Bears appeared to dominate the stat sheet, their offense was slowed down by four sacks and four turnovers, which isn't surprising for a Martz-led attack.

Bears fans simply need to get used to the fact that quarterback Jay Cutler is going to be sacked quite a bit taking all these seven-step drops, and the interception he threw was clear evidence of what happens when a passer and a receiver aren't on the same page in a timing-based offense.

2. Peppers' impact can't be judged solely on his sack totals
Getting back to the stat sheet, Julius Peppers was only credited with one tackle Sunday at Soldier Field, but he did sideline Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford with a shoulder injury on a fumble-causing sack late in the second quarter. Tommie Harris pounced on the ball and set up a Robbie Gould field goal before halftime, capping off a 10-point burst right before intermission that got the Bears back in the game and feeling good about themselves in the locker room. The numbers suggest that Peppers didn't make a single play in the second half, although it's likely Detroit dialed back its game plan with Shaun Hill taking over for Stafford at QB and neither Jeff Backus nor Gosder Cherilus doing much to slow down Peppers' pass rush.

Some defensive ends can make one play per game, end up with 16 sacks on the season and go to the Pro Bowl, but the Bears' faithful will come to learn that Peppers does more than rush the passer and affects the game in many ways.

3. Forte and Taylor make a dynamite tandem in the backfield
Matt Forte was the star of the show Sunday, rushing for 50 yards on 17 carries, racking up 171 more yards on seven receptions and scoring both of Chicago's touchdowns, including the game winner late in the fourth quarter. He became the first Bear to total more than 200 yards from scrimmage since Neal Anderson had 2009 against the Packers in 1989. But don't forget about Chester Taylor, who rushed nine times for 29 yards, caught three passes for another 44 yards and allowed Forte to be fresh in the fourth quarter for a change.

RB Chester Taylor
Jonathan Daniel/Getty

Part of the reason Forte got so banged up last year was the coaching staff not wanting to take him off the field at all his first two seasons because there was too much of a drop-off between him and the No. 2 ball carrier, but Taylor is a former 1,200-yard back himself and can be just as dangerous in Martz's scheme.

4. Harris will eventually lose his job to Wright, not Manning
We knew rookie Major Wright was going to get some snaps at the free safety position Sunday, despite the fact that he missed a ton of practice time and three of four preseason contests following a minor surgical procedure on his finger. However, it was assumed that strong safety Danieal Manning would come off the field, with Chris Harris then making the switch from free to strong in order to make room for Wright. Not so, as Wright first entered the huddle at free safety in the second quarter, but it was Manning sticking at strong safety and Harris actually coming off the field.

Even though the Bears made quite a spectacle in re-acquiring Harris in the offseason and trumpeted his return throughout training camp, he again looks to be the odd man out, just like his last season in Chicago (2006) when he was benched in Week 2 for a then-rookie Manning.

5. Hester is at best the No. 3 behind Knox and Aromashodu
Every August, as friends of mine from coast to coast are preparing for their annual fantasy football drafts, I inevitably get a bunch of e-mails from people I haven't seen in the flesh in years wanting to know the inside scoop on the Bears before they make their picks. My advice was as follows: Roll the dice with Cutler at QB because of the Martz factor; Forte is just fine as your No. 2 RB; there are 15 TEs just as good or better than Greg Olsen; Gould is always fine at K; and I don't trust the D/ST anymore. Also, I told them to consider Chicago's WRs in this order: Devin Aromashodu first, Johnny Knox second and Devin Hester third.

In Week 1, Aromashodu went 5-71, Knox went 3-52 and Hester went 1-17, and while one game does not a fantasy season make, based on the number of targets Sunday, Aromashodu looks to be Cutler's go-to guy, Knox is going to make some big plays and Hester clearly looks to be third banana at this point, as he should be.

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John Crist is the Publisher of BearReport.com, a Heisman Trophy voter and a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.

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