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Thursday 23rd Mar 2017

In Annie Hall, at one point Woody Allen and Diane Keaton are discussing the final disintegration of their relationship, when Allen says to his counterpart, "if you're mature, and I'm mature, we can approach this maturely and reach a sort of maturiosity."

Well, I don't know if Jay Cutler has seen Annie Hall (though there is little excuse, if you have not) but, watching him beat the Eagles yesterday, it sure seemed like it.

To tell the truth, I was nervous about the Bears facing Michael Vick and the Eagles. The Eagles are good and Vick is one of those dangerous players who can beat you pretty much by himself (if you doubt that, consult the Redskins).

I was confident about the Bears defense, although I know their last win--a Thursday shutout over Miami nearly two weeks ago--was a goosegg for the Dolphins, who were playing a #3 quarterback for the first time, meaning asterisk central. Still, a shutout in the NFL is very hard to come by.

And, I was aware that of the Bears first seven wins, six were against sub-.500 teams. But, that is a somewhat misleading stat.

First, the plus .500 team is the Packers, whom the Bears disposed of Week 3, if memory serves. Week 2 it was the Cowboys, who were hardly considered also-rans at the time. The next week it was the Giants, who thumped Cutler mightily, but then it was the Vikings, who were still viable at the time.

Since that clobbering by the Giants, however, it seems that the offensive front five have solidified some, for they protected Cutler pretty well, and gave him time the whole Eagles game.

And, Matt Forte and Devin Hester each had really good games, but it was Cutler, who threw only 21 times, completing 14, with four TD passes, who owned the game.

In fact, something seems to have happened to the Bears over the past couple of weeks: they have really become a team.

Everyone knew the Bears defense was solid, so no need to go there. Save, they held the explosive Eagles offense pretty much in check, and more important, made the big plays when they needed to.

But, aside from the front five coalescing, Cutler seems to have adjusted to, and now trust Offensive Coach Mike Martz. Which means Cutler looks--or has his last two games--like he now gets he does not have to win every game with every play.

And that, is huge. For against the Eagles, Cutler never made a desperate throw into a crowd (hurray!). He ate the ball when necessary (hurray!). And, when rolling looking for a receiving, he kept the ball and picked up a few yards a couple of times, when just a month ago he would have thrown across his right and turned the ball over.

Of course there is still a season out there to finish, and some difficult playoffs, but, right now the Bears have to have taken a major step as a team in realizing they can actually play against anyone (a rematch of the Giants game would be interesting, no?).

It was a very fine performance.

Honorable mention to the Falcons, who have my favorite NFL player in Matt Ryan, after knocking off the Packers in what was a terrific game. Not to mention the Giants who fought back against Jacksonville to squeeze a win.

Finally, for the confusing Bills and their fans, who played a great second half against the Steelers, but in the process showed why they are not a playoff team.  First, Ryan Fitzpatrick totally rocks. Second, once they get the hang, Stevie Johnson catches that pass (you know the one). Third, in the NFL and just how goofy things really are, top to bottom, the Bills could be the Bears next year.

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