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The Infantry: Recapping Bears rookie (and sophomore) performances from Week 10

The youngsters showed some promise, but they were unable to lead the Bears to a victory.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears
Leonard Floyd added to his sack total against the Packers.
Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

From a statistical standpoint, Mitch Trubisky had the best game of his career with the Chicago Bears on Sunday.

The rookie broke out against the Green Bay Packers with a career high 297 passing yards, completing 21 of his 35 tries. He also added a touchdown on a 46-yard bomb to Josh Bellamy. As impressive as those numbers are, there’s another statistic that stands outs, albeit in a negative way.

Trubisky was sacked five times, three of which being by Green Bay edge rusher Nick Perry. Lester will break these sacks down further in his Sackwatch this week, but I wanted to shine a light on one sack in particular.

As I pointed out in this week’s notes, Perry’s third sack should have been easily avoidable. Trubisky had Josh Bellamy wide open right in front of him, but he hesitated and didn’t get the ball off in time.

He’s usually very good at evading pressure in the pocket, but this time he waited too long.

Granted, the offensive line wasn’t great this week, but the responsibility on that particular sack falls on the quarterback.

It wasn’t all bad on Mitch’s behalf, though. He had a handful of impressive plays, especially his touchdown pass to Bellamy.

Kudos to Bellamy for faking out Davon House with the stutter step.

Trubisky had Daniel Brown open on the flat route, but he read the coverage and found the veteran wide receiver open down the field for a much bigger play.

He also made sure new addition Dontrelle Inman was put to work, as they connected six times for 88 yards. The duo’s biggest play was this impressive deep ball that I also covered in my notes this week.

He found Inman on what appears to be a corner route, where the wide out was completely unguarded. If Sunday was any indication, then those two are likely to make many big plays for the Bears for the rest of the season.

Jordan Howard nearly mirrored his performance from his first matchup against Green Bay with his outing on Sunday. The biggest difference? A touchdown.

The second-year back finished with 15 carries and 54 yards, as compared to the 18 carries, 53 yards and a touchdown he put up on September 28th.

Although 10 of Howard’s carries went for three yards or less, he did have one big gain.

Cody Whitehair and Hroniss Grasu opened up the A gap for the running back, and he burst through the hole for a gain of 25 yards.

Howard’s partner in the crime, Tarik Cohen, didn’t have any big plays to his name this Sunday. He only carried the ball once for a gain of one yard and caught one pass for 10 yards. He did have four kick returns for 95 yards and an eight-yard punt return, but that was it.

It’s truly disappointing to see the Bears failing to utilize Cohen to the best of his abilities. After a hot start to the season, the rookie has cooled down, mostly because he isn’t given the chance to prove himself. Why Chicago isn’t using him as a running back on passing downs is beyond me.

With Zach Miller done for at least the 2017 season and Dion Sims out for the game with an illness, it was a perfect opportunity for 2017 second-round pick Adam Shaheen to prove his worth. Although he didn’t necessarily break out, he provided some flashes of what he can be in the future.

His biggest play, which you can find here, was for a 31-yard gain. The Ashland alum was given the ball in space and made the Packers pay for it.

Personally, I would love to see more of these types of plays for the Bears. Trubisky is lethal on those designed roll outs, as made evident in this play. Letting him diagnose the situation while outrunning defensive linemen in the pocket has worked in the past for Chicago, and it would likely continue to work if they do it more.

Cody Whitehair was moved to right guard with Kyle Long limited due to a finger injury. The sophomore wasn’t fantastic, but he wasn’t awful, either. With Hroniss Grasu’s struggles at center on Sunday, though, don’t expect Whitehair to stay at guard for long.

Nick Kwiatkoski showed up in a big way for Chicago’s defense on Sunday in the absence of Danny Trevathan. The West Virginia alum led the team in total tackles with 10, while notching his first sack of the season on a blitz. His workload will likely decrease when Trevathan comes back, but it’s great to see his showing signs of potential.

Leonard Floyd had a decent game statistically, racking up four total tackles and assisting on a sack. However, he had his struggles tackling and shedding blocks.

Floyd got swallowed up by Packers tight end Lance Kendricks on this play, giving Brett Hundley plenty of time to read the field and get the ball off.

I don’t care how good of a blocking tight end a player may be; those are matchups that Floyd should be winning.

The No. 9 pick in 2016 also missed a tackle on Jamaal Williams, Green Bay’s third-string tight end.

Although Floyd has been decent this season, he’s still far from being a finished project. Having another offseason to build more upper-body strength will benefit him.

Cre’Von LeBlanc had another decent game filling in for Bryce Callahan at nickel back this week. He ended up with three total tackles and a sack off the edge on a cornerback blitz. He had a very good 2016 campaign, so it’s encouraging to see him make plays this season, as well.

Side note: all three of Chicago’s sacks came off of blitzes. Per PFF, they blitzed on 17 of Hundley’s 30 drop backs.

Eddie Jackson finished the game with four tackles, all of them being solo tackles. The rookie didn’t make any huge plays, but he wasn’t all that bad. One could argue that this uncalled holding penalty by Jordy Nelson on Jackson allowed Ty Montgomery to run for a touchdown.

Those were the only young guns who did anything of note this week. Jonathan Bullard saw the field on 33 percent on defensive snaps, but didn’t really do much. DeAndre Houston-Carson was the only other first- or second-year player to play on offense or defense (he played two downs). Isaiah Irving, Deon Bush and Ben Braunecker all saw their playing time come on special teams.