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The Infantry: Recapping Bears rookie (and sophomore) performances from Week 8

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Not the greatest of outings for the Baby Bears.

NFL: Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints
Mitch Trubisky stares into the soul of a helpless defender.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

If you wanted more Mitch Trubisky, then you sure got your wish on Sunday.

The rookie quarterback threw a career-high 32 passes in the Chicago Bears’ 20-12 loss to the New Orleans Saints, completing 14 of them. This marks the second time this season that his completion percentage has dipped below 50 percent. His season completion percentage of 47.5 percent is the worst in the NFL among all quarterbacks who have started at least one game this season.

Are these numbers worrisome? Sure they are. However, box score scouting is, more often than not, incredibly inaccurate of how the player is playing. So, while Trubisky wasn’t great by any means on Sunday, he wasn’t as bad as his numbers suggest.

He had a handful of impressive plays throughout the game. A handful of them went to Tre McBride, who doubled his career receptions total and quadrupled his receiving yards total after Sunday. The best play from that connection was a 45-yard beauty in the first quarter.

I talked about this play a little bit in my day-after notes article. Trubisky, with a clean pocket, was able to throw a perfect ball to McBride. He has had few chances to really sling the ball, but he has done fairly well when given the opportunity.

Another impressive play of Trubisky’s was his 46-yard run in the fourth quarter.

Since the Saints rushed six defenders, he was able to see that the middle was wide open. Add in the fact that Kendall Wright had Kenny Vaccaro occupied on a shallow cross, and New Orleans had parted a running lane for Trubisky like Moses parted the Red Sea.

He also threw a great pass to Zach Miller in the end zone, which was incorrectly called an incomplete pass. I would show a clip of the play below, but I think you’ve all seen that play quite enough.

The Bears painted Trubisky into a corner on numerous occasions throughout the game, which did have some impact on his play. They ran a run-run-pass sequence six times within the first three quarters. Teams have started to take notice of Dowell Loggains’ unchanging play calling. As long as they continue to neglect having any sort of unpredictability, their offense will not be able to reach its ceiling, as low as it may be.

Due to a lack of offensive success early on, Trubisky was forced to throw the ball often in the fourth quarter. That did not end well. He went 5-for-15 (16 if you include the failed two-point conversion), and he ended up throwing the interception that sealed the deal for the Saints.

As talented as Trubisky is, they do not want him taking on too big of a workload, especially considering how lackluster the talent is around him. He simply isn’t in a good position to succeed in those scenarios.

We move on to our next young offensive playmakers with the “Thunder and Lightning” combo of Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. The former had yet another good game, gaining 102 yards on 23 carries. His biggest play of the game came in the third quarter, when he ran for a 50-yard gain on a Power O.

Plays like that prove why Howard is one of the best downhill runners in the NFL today.

As good as he has been running the ball, though, he has had a few problems catching the ball. On a play fairly similar to his dropped pass against the Atlanta Falcons, Howard dropped a short pass in the red zone that would have been a touchdown.

He pointed out in an interview over the offseason that he had had surgery on his eyes to help him with his vision, on run plays and in the passing game. His game is solid all-around, but he may need to work on his hands next offseason.

Tarik Cohen, on the other hand, hasn’t had a whole lot go his way in recent weeks. After not carrying the ball at all against the Carolina Panthers, he bounced back in a big way with...four carries for two yards. He did have a kick return for 46 yards, but his offensive performance was poor.

Cohen has been on a cold streak ever since his 78-yard performance back in Week 3. He has averaged roughly 2.37 yards per carry over the past five weeks. Plus, after catching 24 passes with Mike Glennon under center, he has only caught four with Trubisky in the same number of weeks. Had it not been for his 70-yard catch last week, then he would have no true offensive “wow” play in the month of October. Will he turn things around in November? Only time will tell. However, Bears fans can only hope that the Human Joystick can return to his early-season form.

Leonard Floyd ended up with a sack on Sunday, his fifth of the season. Although he didn’t have much involvement in the actual bringing down of Drew Brees, he got credit for it, anyway.

Other than that, though, he wasn’t as good as he has been in recent weeks. Pro Football Focus credited him with one hurry on 29 pass rushing snaps, and two allowed receptions on two coverage snaps. He did end up with three tackles and a pass deflection, though. If he can keep up his recent production, then it wouldn’t be shocking to see him surpass double-digit sacks this season.

Although Jonathan Bullard played in 18 less snaps than he did last week, he still made an impact on defense. He ended up with three tackles and a key forced fumble in the fourth quarter. His caused turnover led to a Bears drive that ended in a touchdown. Had they won the game, then his play likely would’ve been made more significant.

Nevertheless, it’s encouraging to see the second-year defensive end doing well. With the way he has played on fairly limited snaps, it would be smart of the Bears to give him a few more reps as the year progresses.

Eddie Jackson failed to top his two-touchdown performance from last week. Surprise, surprise. In fact, he actually had a big mishap in coverage on Sunday. He failed to locate the ball on a deep pass, allowing Ted Ginn Jr. to come down with the ball.

He made up for it later, though, with a key fumble recovery. He also added a tackle to his stat line. Although this wasn’t his best game from a coverage standpoint, he has still been impressive as a whole this year.

Cody Whitehair was taken out of the game early in the game due to an elbow injury from which he didn’t return. Although the severity of the injury is unknown, it doesn’t seem like it will be serious to the point that he won’t be able to play after the bye week.

Here’s a shocker: the Bears actually threw the ball to Adam Shaheen on Sunday. Gadzooks. Unfortunately, the pass fell incomplete. Fellow rookie Tanner Gentry also saw a target, but didn’t come up with a catch.

Cre’Von LeBlanc, who had only played on five defensive snaps before this week, filled in at nickelback once Bryce Callahan left the field. He ended up with a tackle, but didn’t stand out in a good or bad way.

No other rookie or sophomore made any notable impact on Sunday. On an interesting side note, though, 2016 seventh-round pick Daniel Braverman received a tryout opportunity with the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday.

That’s it for a spooky Halloween edition of The Infantry. With the bye week approaching, it’ll be interesting to see if any youngsters step it up in the coming games.