In Matt Spaeth's opinion, the Bears' win over the Vikings was the culmination of just another typical week in the NFL. When asked if he was surprised at the team's turnaround, after playing so poorly against Detroit the week before, Spaeth just shook his head.
"It's a cliche but it's true. Anything can happen in any given game," Spaeth said. "You just have to go out there and do what you can to the best of your ability. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Tonight I'm happy to say that just about everything worked exactly the way it was supposed to."
On Sunday night the Bears, for one week at least, appeared to cure the problems that ailed them against Detroit. With 377 total net yards, the offense showed a potency that has been in short supply so far this season. Just a glance at the scoring sheet shows a diversity that had been missing last week, with nearly every player contributing something positive.
Devin Hester scored two touchdowns, one on 48-yard catch in the first quarter and another on 98-yard kickoff return in the third. Rookie Stephen Paea, making his season debut, sacked McNabb for a safety on just the third play of his career. Marion Barber contributed a three-yard touchdown, while Dane Sanzenbacher continued his offensive success with a 13-yard score.
"We did what we set out to do tonight," said offensive captain Roberto Garza. "We spent considerable time in practice going through all of this so there weren't any big surprises as far as the Vikings' defense was concerned. We were able to execute. Cutler played great but then he always does. What was different tonight in my opinion is that Jay had sufficient time to execute the plays. That seemed to make a tremendous difference."
The total time of possession was fairly even between the two teams, yet Chicago seemed able to move the ball continuously while Minnesota struggled to maintain momentum for most of the contest. Cutler seemed comfortable in the pocket with more than enough time to hit his targets and the offensive line opened enough holes for Matt Forte to have success as well – a tall order considering how potent the Vikings' defensive line has been this season.
"Jay did a tremendous job out there tonight," Sanzenbacher said. "I didn't know what to expect going in. The ball kept going exactly where it was supposed to be. It's not that difficult to get the score under those circumstances. Now what I hope is that we can build on this going forward."
With a trip to London to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next on the docket, Spaeth is keeping everything in perspective.
"You have to take these things one game at a time," said Spaeth. "That's how you build momentum through a season. I am hoping that the trip proves not to be much of a distraction. It's another game we have to win. Every game is one we have to win from here on out. Tonight was fun but it definitely was a must-win situation for us going in. It was great out there today so we'll savor that for a little while, then go right back to work for the rest of the season."
Beth Gorr has been covering the Bears for the last 12 years and is the author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.