The Chicago Bears hung around with NFC powerhouse the Green Bay Packers last week in their home opener before falling, and this week will try to go do the distance against another top NFC contender, the Arizona Cardinals.
Arizona topped the Saints in their opener a week ago, and in the process rushed for 120 yards. This week may be a different story as the teams top rusher, Andre Ellington, was injured against the Saints.
Ellington left early in the fourth quarter with a sprained knee after gaining a team-high 69 yards on just 12 attempts.
That injury has left Ellington uncertain for this game, though Chris Johnson was able to have a solid impact, as he had 30 yards on seven fourth-quarter carries to help seal the win.
”I’m getting there,” Johnson said Monday. ”Just working, just having to learn the playbook and not having to think about the plays, just going out there and playing. The more and more I practice and I know the more and more I play, I’ll get there.”
Carson Palmer played well in his first regular season game after knee surgery. He threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over New Orleans.
Palmer is 17-6 with the Cardinals since joining them in 2013, winning his last seven starts while throwing for 1,933 yards and 14 TDs with only three interceptions.
“You love being offensive on offense,” said Palmer, referring to Arians’ aggressive play-calling in the fourth quarter. “It’s easy to not and sit back with the way our defense plays out there. It’s great, an attacking mentality. Everybody in the huddle knows it and everyone on the sideline knows it.”
The Bears, with new coach Jon Fox, were able to play with the Pack, but Jay Cutler’s lone interception late in the fourth quarter thwarted a potential rally.
Matt Forte ran for 141 yards on 24 carries, and it appears Fox is going to lean on the running back a lot in 2015.
”Nobody had that stupid look on their face,” said Forte. ”Like before, when something would happen saying like the game is lost already when there was time left. I was glad we didn’t have that and that we came out and kept fighting.”
Though the Bears outgained the Packers 402-322, but they are still having major issues on defense. They failed to sack Aaron Rodgers, who had three TD passes and only five incompletions, allowed 6.1 yards per play and were unable to generate any turnovers.
The Cardinals allowed Drew Brees to go 11 for 18 for 183 yards and a touchdown in three-wide-receiver formations, which the Bears utilized a majority of the time last week and gained 306 yards on 41 such plays.
Look for Palmer and the Cardinals to have one more big play in them over the Bears. Chicago is in a rebuild mode, and their defense isn’t going to be able to go tooth and nail with Palmer for 60 minutes.
Cutler will make a key mistake, and even with a big day from Forte for the second straight week, it won’t be enough for the Bears to get a win.
Arizona 23 Chicago 20
Arizona – Carson Palmer 310 yards 2 TD, Chris Johnson 80 yards rushing 1 TD, Larry Fitzgerald 48 yards receiving 1 TD
Chicago – Jay Cutler 314 yards 2 TD, Matt Forte 114 yards 1 TD receiving, Alshon Jeffery 75 yards receiving 1 TD,
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