1. If the Vikings were thought to hold one advantage over the Bears last Sunday, it was their pass rush. Sure, that sentence may as well be written in computer code that uses an exponent for the week's opponent and changes it out as the season goes: Chicago's offensive line is that weak. But while everyone sang the praises of Detroit's menacing d-line the week prior, the Vikings entered Soldier Field with even more statistical support to foreshadow dominance against the Bears' saddest unit. Jared Allen leads the league in sacks, and fellow d-end Brian Robison has more sacks (4.5) than any Bear.
For all of the encouraging signs to come out of Chicago's 39-10 victory over the Vikings, then, the offensive line's ability to hold their own against Minnesota's front seven might count as the most impressive. Jay Cutler enjoyed perhaps the most time he's had in the pocket all season, or at least since Week 1's surprising domination of the Falcons. Cutler used it to pick apart a shaky Minnesota secondary to the tune of 267 yards and two touchdowns without an interception.
The Bears made two notable changes: their play calling and their protection schemes.
Video of Cutler dropping an F-bomb at offensive coordinator Mike Martz made the Internet rounds this week, and it's not hard to see why Cutler would be so frustrated. Martz takes forever to choose a play and when he does, it's often one that calls for a seven-step drop from his QB. It's helped make Cutler the most sacked quarterback in the NFL over the last season and a half, and has clearly started to take a toll on him.
Everything changed against the Vikings: Cutler took shorter drops, and Martz often called for max protection of his quarterback. Running backs and tight ends were kept in to block more than ever, and it resulted in an impressive air show.
So, Vikings defensive end Brian Robison, what do you think of you and your teammates sacking Cutler just one time on Sunday?
"It’s tough to get a rush with six, seven people blocking," Vikings defensive end Brian Robison said. "Fact of the matter is, we’ve got to do a better job of getting to the quarterback and we didn’t do that tonight. It’s humiliating. It’s the only word I can think of right now -- it’s simply humiliating.
Humiliating! That's an adjective normally reserved for the unit that shockingly shut down Minnesota's pass rush on Sunday.
2. Devin Hester was the Bears' brightest star on Sunday, hauling in a 48-yard touchdown pass from Cutler in the first quarter and then returning a kickoff for a touchdown. Yesterday, it was learned that the breakout performance came on the heels of getting attacked in a casino Friday night.
A man was arrested at Rivers Casino in Des Plaines after police said he slapped Chicago Bears wide receiver Devin Hester in the back of the head.
Hester was in a cash transaction line at around 10:40 p.m. Friday when Daniel G. Rago, 52, of the 200 block of Wille Street in Mount Prospect, approached the football player, slapped him in the back of the head and walked away, Des Plaines Police Chief Jim Prandini said.
"Attacked", as his agent Eugene Parker put it, might be a little strong, no? Local Drunk Slaps NFL Player hardly sounds threatening.
3. The NFL is all about gamesmanship, and the Bears appear to have pulled off some on Sunday against Minnesota. The Bears listed star defensive end Julius Peppers as doubtful after he couldn't finish the game a week ago in Detroit, but Peppers played on Sunday night and had his best game of the season, recording two sacks. The Tribune's Brad Biggs said it was the first time he's seen a player suit up after being listed as doubtful in 11 years on the beat.
Brian Urlacher didn't even try to sugarcoat it:
"We knew he was playing all week long," middle linebacker Brian Urlacher said. "There was no doubt about that all week. He's a tough guy, we knew he would play. Players knew he would play."
As Biggs pointed out, it could be payback for last season when He Who Shall Not Be Named pulled off a similarly amazing recovery against the Bears last year before Corey Wooton knocked him out for eternity.
Also great: Jay Cutler absolutely does not remind Kevin Durant of Joe Montana.
5. The Rex Report!
The one where we'll follow the on-going's of Bears legend Rex Grossman as he tries to rebuild his career in Washington.
Looks like it might be time for me to find a new closing segment. After a promising start, the wheels have officially fallen off for the former Chicago gunslinger. Stop me if you've heard this one before.
Grossman was yanked during Washington's 20-13 loss to the Eagles on Sunday after tossing four interceptions. You know what that means: BAD REX PICTURE. There's so many to choose from, but let's go with this kill yourself classic from Super Bowl XLI.
At time of print, Mike Shanahan has still yet to decide on his starting quarterback for Sunday against Carolina. For the record: Rex vs. Cam would totally be appointment viewing for me. **Fingers crossed**.
Ricky O'Donnell is a writer and editor in Chicago and the founder of the Chicago sports blog Tremendous Upside Potential. He is always very much available for hire. Follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.