CHICAGO | What weapons? What wide-open offense? Off-road vehicles run smoother than the Bears' offense did in the first half Sunday.
Unfortunately for the Bengals, the game is four quarters and Chicago regrouped for the second half, scoring the final 14 points in its 24-21 season-opening win.
"It wasn't pretty. It wasn't perfect, and we knew it wouldn't be," said Jay Cutler after throwing for 242 yards and a pair of touchdowns. "But we made plays in the second half."
The Bears' defense, a familiar hero, held Cincinnati to seven points after intermission and a retooled offensive line did not give up a sack.
"The ball bounced our way today," admitted wide receiver Brandon Marshall, who had eight catches for 104 yards and one TD. "The second half, we were able to capitalize on our opportunities.
"It felt like a playoff game. A great win. A team win."
It was a bit lucky, considering the Bears scored 14 points off Cincinnati turnovers and were aided by the visitors' eight penalties for 85 yards. Afterward, coach Marvin Lewis could be heard inside the locker room screaming like a madman at his players.
The Bears were shamefully outgained the first half, 245-97, in total yardage, with Cutler's 8-yard TD pass to Martellus Bennett in the end zone and Robbie Gould's club-record 58-yard field goal the lone highlights for an offense billed as potentially explosive.
Cutler completed seven passes for 70 yards, while counterpart Andy Dalton threw for 192 yards and a pair of TDs to A.J. Green.
The second half, both QBs did a complete about face as Dalton managed just 90 yards. Green had nine receptions for 162 yards.
Cornerback Charles Tillman had a strange day with two picks, one of which set up a Bears' score. He was also burned several times by the deceptive Green and had a pass interference call that led to a Bengals' TD.
Martellus Bennett was all smiles while chatting with media.
"Oh, man, I missed the first catch (of the game). Jittery. First game. Soldier Field. Anxious. Tried to do too much on the first one," Bennett said. "It was good to come back with a strong catch."
Bennett split two defenders in the back of the end zone, won the jump ball, then stumbled out of bounds.
"I had to channel my inner Brandon Marshall," he chuckled.