I can't say enough about the play of Thomas Jones. He's a guy who will be in there every play. What a contrast to Cedric Benson. What did the $16 million first round pick get Sunday? Six yards on two carries. Nearly the same as his production or lack their of from the previous week.
The offensive line is improving on a week-to-week basis. They are getting good blocks and giving the ground game a fighting chance. Clearly communication on the unit is improving and positive production is increasing as a result.
And look what has happened to the Bears game plan. Suddenly they are finding the fullback and the tight end. I know that those players were in the lineup all along, but you'd hardly have known due to the few times that their numbers had been called.
Desmond Clark and Marc Edwards have the ability and the experience. The more Orton can give them the ball the better because to this point, its something the opposing defenses don't expect. Look at Edward's TD for example. By the time he got the ball, there were no defenders within 10 yards for an easy score.
I'm not certain if Ron Turner has suddenly found the key to effective play calling, or if Orton's particular abilities are facilitating this change, but whatever the cause, the end result is beneficial for the Bears. It's making a difference on every play, and that's helping the team's overall offensive production.
It seems to me that the team has learned to play together as a unit, which is what has to happen in order to achieve any degree of success in the National Football League. Positive momentum always feeds on itself. If they can continue in this direction, good things will keep happening.
The defense was great. I really enjoyed watching them come to life against, even if it was against an offense that wasn't ranked near the top. Four sacks by the defensive line is excellent production, really high caliber play.
What I liked was the fact that the front-four kept the Ravens off balance and continued to force Baltimore to make bad decisions. That got Orton the ball and gave him good field position. You can't ask for more than that, particularly when you are depending on a rookie QB to spearhead your offense.
Lance Briggs had a tremendous outing vs. Baltimore. I just can't say enough about him. He reminds me of a young Doug Buffone, smart, fast and physically intimidating. Watch any Bears game and you'll see Lance all over the field. Like Doug, Lance has needed some time to adjust to the professional game. But now that he clearly feels comfortable, we are seeing his level of play go up dramatically each week.
Brian Urlacher, who continues to remind me of Dick Butkus, put in a strong effort once again and threw the Ravens offense completely off of their game. Brian was everywhere and seemingly unstoppable. QB Anthony Wright looked rushed and almost disoriented at times.
The Ravens had a total of 199 yards, while the Bears were at around 300 yards, which is respectable and considerably better than the results of some games that we've watched recently. I'd still like to see a little quicker game from the Bears in the opening minutes. They are sluggish initially before they can get a rhythm going. But as Orton gains experience and confidence, this should improve in each upcoming game.
Where do the Bears go from here? I think that they are headed in the right direction. There is room for improvement of course, but overall, I like what I'm seeing out there on the field. Next week's game against the Lions is obviously an important one both for the team's increasing sense of confidence and for the top spot in the NFC North. If the Bears can build on the improvements already in place, this season will turn out better than many expected.
Mike Pyle played for the Bears from 1961-69, including a Pro Bowl selection following the '63 season.