You can find the full box score here
It was a wild night in Soldier field, providing fans with a wide range of human emotion. You may have laughed, you may have cried, you certainly cheered and you probably booed. There was plenty of frustration for both teams, some the result of excellent defensive play on both sides of the ball, and some the result of sloppy penalties and eager officials.
But we all know that this was less a regular season NFL game than it was the Premiere episode of the Mitchell Trubisky show. So I'll get to the meat of it:
Mitchell Trubisky's first pass was a perfectly placed ball on an out route for a third down conversion. His first drive started with great momentum but a Dion Sims drop and Cody Whitehair holding penalty stopped it just outside of field goal territory.
By the third drive, my confidence in Trubisky's was unshakable, and I was just wondering how well the rest of the team would be able to support him. As I write this after four drives, Trubisky's has been on target with every throw but one which was a dump off under pressure.
Speaking of dump-offs, I mentioned last week that my biggest concern about Trubisky's readiness was how well he could protect himself from sacks. He was certainly tested tonight. He showed his athleticism and pocket awareness will help to make up for any learning he still needs to do in terms of blitz recognition and appropriate check down usage, but scared me when he was caught unaware on a perfectly-timed Everson Griffen strip sack.
The first half of this game was full of discouraging penalties and drops, and Trubisky's composure and mental toughness were tested. I may be reading too much into it, but his accuracy did suffer at the end of the half. I can understand losing interest in throwing perfectly placed balls when you don't seem to get anything from it, but I'd prefer to see my franchise quarterback show relentless confidence with unphased execution. Is that too much to ask? Probably. I forgive you, Biscuit.
Whether it was compiling frustration or a result of moving past the scripted plays, Trubisky's decision-making and accuracy dropped in the second half.
Will be a thing if he keeps running chicanery like that two point conversion double handoff pitch play.
Bears keep momentum in check with penalties
This game started with too much excitement for the Bears to process. The overload of momentum coming from a rookie quarterback playing exquisitely in his first drive was quickly and expertly managed by a Dion Sims drop and Cody Whitehair holding penalty to stop the drive. The next drive was deftly sidetracked by a John Fox indecision delay of game penalty.
The pinnacle of penalty perfection didn't come until later in the first half when a long, beautiful Jordan Howard touchdown was called back by an Markus Wheaton holding penalty (at least Wheaton showed he can be a difference maker). Not to be excluded from the penalty party, on that same set of downs Tre McBride earned himself offensive pass interference and Charles Leno Jr. nabbed a false start for his resume.
first second third fourth cut is the deepest
The Bears started this game with their 4th-and 5th-string inside linebackers. Who played admirably during the first half with some great stops by Christian Jones.
But on the first drive of the second half, John Timu—who had been handling on-field play calling—came out with an injury. The very next play was a wide open touchdown. Possibly related.
Definitely related was a completely blown coverage on a too-easy Jerick McKinnon touchdown run that came off a snap that caught the Bears off-guard and unprepared.
Danny Trevathan is back next week and Nick Kwiatkoski should recover before too long. I miss Jerrell Freeman every day.
Leonard Floyd sacks the notion that he's regressing
And also Sam Bradford. Twice.
Side note: Akiem Hicks is still a stud.
The Vikings first drive was stalled after two incomplete passes to each of their star receivers. In that drive, Fuller and Callahan won with aggressive man coverage that set the tone for the evening right. Sam Bradford led the league in completion percentage last year. Overall, the Bears coverage was great in this game, save Kyle Fuller getting embarrassed in the end zone by Kyle Rudolph.
Eddie Jackson had a beautiful pass deflection and overall continues to build a promising rookie campaign. All it needs is a few picks to round it out.
Speaking of missed interceptions
The Bears continued their streak of failing to get interceptions this week, with a couple of great opportunities flopping to the ground. The defense was incredible, forcing three-and-out after three-and-out without remorse or abandon. But every time they drop an interception, it just feels deflating. Especially when the Bears have been desperately short of momentum swings this
Joystick and Rumble Pack
Jo Ho and Coh Coh reminded me why I love them repeatedly tonight, despite multiple no or low gain plays forced by a stout and annoyingly quick Vikings defense. I still chortle-giggle every time Jordan Howard pushes the ball 3 to 5 yards past the point I thought he was tackled.
I expected Cohen to be much more involved in the passing game, since the Vikings front seven was a bad match-up for him running inside. Mitchell Trubisky's terrific ball placement should complement Cohen's talent as an open-space runner seamlessly once that connection gets going.
And the Bears lose on a pick
It's a familiar feeling as a Bears fan to have the rug of hope pulled out from under you with a costly mistake on the final drive. But I'll argue that tonight is different. Trubisky made a rookie mistake. He underestimated a Pro Bowl player in Harrison Smith. Against a slower defender, that ball would have been catchable for Miller.
This game didn't go perfectly, but Mitchell Trubisky proved that he is ready to play in the NFL and that the talent we saw in college and the preseason hasn't gone anywhere.
Chicago has a franchise quarterback. It will take a while to sink in, but this is the best outcome you could possibly have from a regular season game.