Rex Grossman had 339 yards and, for the second week in a row, two touchdowns and no picks. All is well, right? Well, the Rams are the 29th ranked pass defense and the Bucs are the 30th ranked pass defense. Next week won't tell us much more because the Lions are ranked 28th. Still, when it comes to regaining confidence and rhythm it's been mission accomplished.
Of greater concern is that the Bears' defense is suddenly giving up big games to opposing quarterbacks. I know some of you want to pile on by pointing out that the most recent big game was given up to Tim Rattay. But Rattay is actually pretty good. He averaged 7.3 yards per attempt as the 49ers starter in 2003, and threw seven touchdowns against just two picks. Those are good numbers. Rattay's problem has been injuries more than anything else. Still, 20 of 35 for 268 and three touchdowns in relief is worrisome. I'm hoping Nathan Vasher's eventual return will help settle this situation.
One cause or effect -- I'm not sure which -- of Grossman's resurgence is Desmond Clark's resurgence. Clark had seven catches on 10 throws his way for 125 yards and two touchdowns. It was the second best week of any wide receiver or tight end in the NFL. In fact, Clark is having the best season of any tight end in the NFC. He and Jason Witten deserved the Pro Bowl spots over Jeremy Shockey and Alge Crumpler (who's name is much greater than his game).
Speaking of the Pro Bowl, the Bears are sending three special teamers to Honolulu. It's well deserved. While special teams almost cost the Bears the game against Tampa, overall special teams have helped carry the Bears this year when other components of their game have struggled. The Bears are on pace for the best all-around special teams season since the 2002 Saints (Football Outsiders, not I, are the one's with the time and dorkiness to know that). The Bears have had better than average seasons in all five components of special teams: kick coverage, kick returns, punt coverage, punt returns and place kicking. They have the best kick coverage and punt return units in football.
Those special teams are a big reason why the Bears are the second best team in football. The Chargers are number one. But the Bears rank again of their AFC mirror image, the Ravens, because of special teams. The Ravens are good on special teams; the Bears are special. And the Colts, who are the bizarro Bears and Ravens -- all offense, inconsistent defense -- play terrible special teams.