Miller Should Be Starter Against Atlanta

This game was similar to the loss in Baltimore. The difference was Chicago made big plays at the right times and that's what won the game.

Jim Miller was able to come into the game and do something that everyone has been harping on. Throw the ball deep. He gave receivers a chance to make plays and they did. Marty Booker and Marcus Robinson came up big against a weak Vikings secondary.

Miller didn't come in throwing well because he hasn't had a lot of snaps during practice. However, after he got some of the rust off he was able to move the ball. He sparked the team when they were in danger of going 0-2. In the first half the team was in too many third and longs, which any team will try to avoid.

James Allen had just seven rushing yards in the first half. Combine the lack of a ground game with horrible field possession and it's easy to figure out why the Bears were shutout at the half.

The defense kept Chicago in the game. Greg Blache called a great game as several players had solid efforts. R.W. McQuarters played Moss tough. Rosevelt Colvin and Brian Urlacher made big plays and the defensive line pressured Daunte Culpepper. The defense frustrated Minnesota. At one point Cris Carter and Randy Moss were yelling on the sideline.

At times Culpepper looked confused with the Bears three-man rush. The blitz packages also worked well, especially on McQuarters blind side blitz in which Culpepper fumbled. You can overdue the blitz. If you don't mix up the calls it becomes predictable, blitzing is most effective when it's a surprise.

The running game didn't get much better in the second half, but had a few runs that kept the chains moving. However, that's still not that good enough because this team is going to have to run the ball.

Carl Powell stopped Culpepper on the goalline, which forced the Vikings to settle for a field goal. I did get concerned when Minnesota marched down the field on their first drive of second half with throwing to the backs, but the Bears adjusted.

Booker and Robinson had touchdown receptions. Both players had dropped ball earlier in the game, but came back and did what was necessary to score. Their effort was symbolic of the team attitude.

When Miller was intercepted inside the Viking 20 the Bear defense stepped up and forced Minnesota into a three and out. That gave the offense great field position, which led to Booker's game tying score. Then when the fake punt failed Chicago took advantage of the shortened field. Shoop took chances and went for the win. Robinson's 24-yard touchdown came on 3rd and 3. In the past he might have called for a run and settled for a field goal, but he gambled and it paid off.

Miller's arm allows the receivers to make play. The Bear wideouts are the best athletes on the team, but unless someone delivers them the ball they're useless. I believe you have to play the hot hand and start Miller against Atlanta, even if Shane Matthews' injury isn't that serious.

Matthews has had some problems holding onto the ball too long and it slows the offense. I don't read too much into statistics, but one stat I do look at is yards per pass play. Matthews was at about 3.5 in his one plus games. To win in the NFL you have to be at least at 6.5. Miller was at 7.6 for the game against Minnesota, so that shows he is going downfield more. The week four bye should give Miller time to get in sync with the offense, because at times he struggled with his accuracy. If he has a week to work everything out he should improve.

At this point in the season things are really up in the air. Chicago's schedule was supposed to be easier after the upcoming bye, but look at the upcoming games. Atlanta, Cincinnati and Cleveland all won this week, so the team cannot take anything for granted after beating Minnesota. They will need the same effort and intensity to continue winning.

Bear Report Top Stories