LINK to the article Solid line play makes for one big happy family Much to like after rout of Cowboys, but Tice cautions to stay focused on next game
Coach Lovie Smith is eager for the play of the offensive line not to be a headline, and quarterback Jay Cutler sure would like his sideline decorum to be a non-issue.
But everyone associated with the offense was upbeat Wednesday as the Bears put Monday's 34-18 rout of the Cowboys behind and moved to preparation for Sunday's game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville. It's easy for them to be one big, happy bunch as they are 3-1, one of six teams above .500 in the NFC.
Cutler completed 18 of 24 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns and was sacked only twice in a solid performance that highlighted how the offense can function when the pocket is mostly clean and Cutler has time. The line did a formidable job protecting against Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and the quarterback was sharp after some inaccuracy in previous weeks.
"I look forward to when that's not the story — how our offensive line is playing," Smith said. "We expect them to play well each week and we have to get to that point. That should be just a normal part of our routine as we discuss what happened. We have playmakers on the outside and we have to let them play."
Cutler said he felt good about the line when the game ended, and after reviewing the film his instinct was right as "they played extremely well."
"We just tried to come off the ball and play instead of trying to play perfectly," right tackle Gabe Carimi said. "Whatever happens, happens when you are doing that and you are firing off the ball."
The offense found its rhythm after the failed third-and-1 play late in the second quarter that led to Robbie Gould's 43-yard field goal after which ESPN cameras caught Cutler brushing off offensive coordinator Mike Tice, who was angry Michael Bush's run was stuffed for no gain.
"He probably had enough of me telling him why the play didn't work," Tice said. "I get enough of me sometimes too. I can talk a little bit. The heat of the battle, it's tough. A lot of things happen on the sideline, lot of things happen in the course of the game.
"I was really angry that we didn't make that third-and-1. I was in his ear all the way from the time he came off the field to the time he went over and put his helmet down."
Tice clarified that he was not upset with Cutler on the play.
"I was venting why the play didn't work and probably at a certain point, 'OK, OK,' " Tice said. "We move on and he had a great game. Jay and I are good. I really admire his play the other night, how he has prepared himself right now, how he has bought in. It's an emotional game and sometimes we all wish we would handle some things differently. I am not to say he should have handled that differently.
"I wish they would have got the clip at the end of the game when he smacked me on the rear end. They didn't show that one. And I smacked him back."
Tice joked following the Week 2 loss at Green Bay that the Bears had moved quickly from the penthouse to the outhouse and he's far from saying the offense is ready for digs on the top floor.
"It's very important to learn from the last time we had a solid game on offense, myself included," Tice said. "We probably got a little ahead of ourselves and a little full of ourselves. We want to make sure we caution on that this week and stay focused on areas we can improve on.
"And to smile and be happy about the things we did well." firstname.lastname@example.org