Did you guys know that Mitch Trubisky made his NFL debut on Monday?
The Kid was the main point of conversation leading up to the primetime showdown between the Chicago Bears and the Minnesota Vikings, and he’s the main point of conversation after the game. After a hard-fought battle, the Trubisky-led Bears fell up short by a score of 20-17.
Some will look at Trubisky’s stat line and immediately jump to the conclusion that he had a bad game. Even worse, some will jump to the conclusion that he’s a bust. And sure, he wasn't as impressive as some hoped he would be. He completed 12 of his 25 passes for a total gain of 128 yards, while adding a touchdown and an interception. What the box score fails to tell, though, is that penalties and drops from his teammates took away a few of his best plays of the game.
This perfectly placed deep ball was called back due to an offensive pass interference call on Tre McBride:
This shows just how dangerous Trubisky can and will be. A dime on the move. His best throw of the night IMO. pic.twitter.com/ytcGOTlJuT— Jay (@BuffLlama) October 10, 2017
As I mentioned in my postgame notes, this season will be all about baby steps for the North Carolina alum. He displayed the athleticism and ability to throw accurately on the run that scouts and draft analysts alike came to love in the draft process.
This play practically sums up those traits perfectly:
These allowed the Bears to be a bit more creative in their play calling, as they often let Trubisky run bootleg plays and let him scramble in the pocket. Those scrambles sometimes turned into yardage, as he gained 22 rushing yards on three carries. His mobility will space out defenses for years to come, which could definitely make Chicago’s offense more unpredictable.
He wasn’t perfect, of course. He made two costly turnovers - one being late in the fourth quarter - and he occasionally forced throws downfield instead of settling for the easy completion. However, it was apparent that he belonged out there as the starter, not Mike Glennon.
The Bears’ two-headed monster at running back did well enough, but their performances weren’t anything special. Jordan Howard ran for 76 yards on 19 carries, while rookie Tarik Cohen only had 13 yards on his six carries.
Howard had a solid game, as he consistently moved the football on his touches. He didn’t make too many big plays, though: only four of his rushes resulted in a gain of more than six yards. He also didn’t see any action in the passing attack, which is fairly surprising, considering that he played a sizable role in that regard in previous games. Time will tell if having a new quarterback will result in a cut down of touches for the 2016 fifth-rounder.
Cohen’s performance, meanwhile, wasn’t pretty at all. Three out of his six carries resulted in a loss of yards or a gain of nothing, and his only reception of the day was for a loss of one yard. His special teams performance wasn’t much better: four punt returns for a total of 25 yards, and one 14-yard returned kick. This week was arguably the worst of the rookie’s career thus far, so it will be important for him to bounce back next week.
After a rough start to the season, Leonard Floyd exploded with two sacks - one of which resulted in a safety - and six tackles. Pro Football Focus gave the Georgia edge rusher a grade of 81.5, which is his highest of the season. He impressed in both stopping the run and rushing the passer. You can check out his sack for a safety here:
Leonard Floyd sacks Sam Bradford for a SAFETY!pic.twitter.com/9XfTYy93e1— NFL Update (@MySportsUpdate) October 10, 2017
One can only hope that Floyd’s momentum will carry on into the coming weeks.
Fourth-round safety Eddie Jackson continued his solid season with a total of four tackles and two pass breakups, including this one:
While Jackson doesn’t have an interception yet, he has still been impressive thus far. He has displayed great athleticism, range, and closing speed. His tackling has improved since his days in Alabama, as well. If he keeps playing like he has, then it’s safe to say that his spot in the starting lineup will be safe for quite a while.
The rough season continued for Cody Whitehair on Monday, whose shotgun snaps were inconsistent yet again. He was also called for a holding penalty on a play that would’ve been a 26-yard pass. He has been solid as a run blocker, but his pass protection has been poor, due partially to his inability to snap in shotgun. Thankfully, though, the Bears seem to be aware of these issues, as they are reportedly working with the second-year center on his snaps.
No other rookie or sophomore made any statistical impact. Adam Shaheen played on 11 snaps, but didn’t really do anything. Roy Robertson-Harris and DeAndre Houston-Carson (holy mother of hyphens) were on the field for more than half of the team’s special teams snaps, with the former getting seven defensive snaps. Cre’Von LeBlanc was also restricted to special teams, as was Isaiah Irving, who was called up to the 53-man roster just before the game.
That’s about it for the latest edition of The Infantry. If you'd like to see my rookie report card after five games, then check me out on the latest edition of T Formation Conversation, in which I talk Bears rookie with WCG’s own Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.