Pyle Ponders: Bears Prove Their Worth

The Bears are a good team. That's what really came through last in their win over Atlanta. To be able to move beyond the debacle last weekend in Pittsburgh was impressive. That's what quality football is all about.

Rex Grossman said he was surprised to get the call to start the second half. He might have been in the heat of the moment because really he shouldn't have been. Everybody on the roster who is dressed should be prepared for the call to come in at any time.

What surprised me however was that at this point, during the 14th game of the season, he was not only able to come in, but to throw with such arm strength and accuracy. That, to this former offensive player who thinks he knows a little about the game, was very impressive.

Another surprise was Grossman's first pass, a nice 22-yard toss to Muhsin Muhammad right down the middle. I'll have to credit Ron Turner for that call, but why didn't Kyle Orton get the opportunity to run plays like that?

When it's third and ten, why did Kyle consistently throw to somebody who is only five yards down the field? That's one reason the Bears are second worst in third down conversions. I always thought the rule of thumb for any offense was to have the receiver in a position to get the first down. And Kyle was looking at his guy the entire time, the one who was five yards away.

I laughed to myself when the cameras showed Jim Mora hatless and probably without gloves as he paced up and down the sidelines. Then they'd pan to Lovie Smith, who was bundled from head to toe. An interesting sidelight however. Once Rex completed that first pass, down came the scarf that had been covering Lovie's face. That tells you something about how Smith was feeling about the game once Grossman went in.

Rex got rid of the ball much quicker than Kyle has so far this year. Orton's just not there yet in terms of skill or maturity but then, why should we expect him to be. He's still a rookie. One with 14 games under his belt, but a rookie nonetheless.

Kyle did an outstanding job considering his limited NFL experience. Rex is better, there's no doubt about that, but Kyle will mature. He has great potential and the Bears are fortunate to have him.

Did you see the same thing against the Falcons that I did-Ron Turner calling an end around? That not only surprised the Falcons, but just about everybody who was in the stadium or watching at home as well. Nobody expected it and it was a heck of a play at the right time, where has that been all year?

Then a quick pass over the middle? Again something we've seen rarely this season. And it worked. Nice call Ron. A word to Jerry Angelo, however. Please, Mr. Angelo, you now have a quarterback who can play. Your offensive line has been playing well all year, Pay try keeping them together and protect the guy.

The Bears defense was outstanding as usual. That they were able to move on from their bad day against the Steelers was impressive. The hits were hard, the tackling was outstanding. There was no doubt in anybody's mind who watched the game last night just how good these guys are, and how effective their coaching has been.

The interception at the goal line by Grossman turned into a Falcons fumble was a true sign that things are going the Bears way this year. It's not often that you'll see something like that. Nice heads up play for Chicago and a real momentum stopper for Atlanta.

I was not happy while listening to the ESPN broadcast of the game to hear them constantly referring to the defense as 'Lovie Smith's defense'. What about Ron Rivera? At least give the guy some credit. The job he's done with his unit has been more than impressive and he will be in line for a head-coaching job of his own in the near future.

The linebackers and the defensive line were simply amazing. They had Michael Vick and company scattered all over the field. They did what was necessary for the Bears to win the game. Atlanta got 231 yards of offense but they only were bale to put three points on the board. That's excellent defense by the Bears.

Well, it wasn't a great game. In fact, during much of the first half it was mediocre at best but once Rex came in there was a noticeable energy shift. Things started to happen which is what you want to see with your number one quarterback. It ended up an interesting and a surprising night with a lot of good things happening on the Bears side of the ball. From what we saw, it's obvious that the team is back on track and is in a good position to win the division and much more.

Mike Pyle played for the Bears from 1961-69, including a Pro Bowl selection following the '63 season.

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