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The Infantry: Recapping Bears rookie and sophomore performances from Week 12

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There’s always next week, I guess.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Philadelphia Eagles
Jordan Howard couldn’t get anything going against the best run defense in the NFL.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

This game sucked. That’s all I’ve got for this week. So long, everybody!

I wish I could do that.

In case you didn’t watch the game, the Chicago Bears got absolutely walloped on Sunday. Their 31-3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles marked the hitting of rock bottom of their 2017 season. John Fox hasn’t been fired yet, but this loss pretty much put the final nail in the coffin. In fact, this most recent loss even has some questioning whether or not he has even done a better job as the team’s head coach than Marc Trestman. After all, Trestman did win the Grey Cup as coach of the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts recently.

There aren’t many positive things to take away from this game, so I might as well get them out of the way first.

Cre’Von LeBlanc had an excellent game this week. He had a forced fumble, even though Nelson Agholor recovered it in the end zone for an Eagles touchdown. He also ended the game with seven total tackles and two pass deflections. PFF credited him with five allowed catches for just 35 yards. They gave him an 86.7 overall grade, which was the highest grade on the team. The second-year nickel back has been fantastic filling in for Bryce Callahan so far this year.

Jonathan Bullard started his first game of the season this year, and he ended up doing pretty well. He finished with three total tackles and a sack, his first of the year.

The 2016 third-round pick has had a fairly lackluster tenure with the Bears thus far, so it’s nice to see him making plays.

With Leonard Floyd out, Chicago has had to dig deep to find some sort of way to replace him. Undrafted rookie Isaiah Irving played on 36 (46.2 percent) of the Bears’ defensive snaps, after having played only five defensive downs all year. He totaled two tackles for the day.

It seems as if Cody Whitehair has finally gotten into a groove at center. The sophomore didn’t have any bad snaps, and he had one of the better outings on the team. PFF gave him a 79.4 overall grade.

I hope that was enough fun for you all. It’s only going to go downhill from here.

Our Golden Boy, Mitch Trubisky, had what might have been the worst outing of his NFL career to date. He finished the game off going 17-for-33, throwing for 147 yards, no touchdowns, two fumbles and two interceptions. Chicago’s offensive line wasn’t great, but a lot of his errors from this Sunday fall upon his shoulders.

Per PFF, he was only 12-for-26 on passed attempted beyond the line of scrimmage. He threw multiple passes over the heads and out of reach of his receivers. His decision making wasn’t as sharp as it has been in recent weeks, either.

Check out this video of his first interception of the game:

This is a textbook example of staring down one’s target. Trubisky failed to make any other reads on the defense, eyeing Dontrelle Inman on the entire play. Ronald Darby read the rookie’s eyes and took advantage, tipping the pass for Malcolm Jenkins to snatch it in mid air.

His second interception of the game was a dumb mistake on his part, as well.

Right off the bat, you can tell that this throw shouldn’t have been made. Jalen Mills, Corey Graham and, to a lesser extent, Kamu Grugier-Hill, were all in the vicinity of Trubisky’s target. He had Dontrelle Inman open on an in route up the middle. Even Benny Cunningham was open as a safety valve, although passing to him may not have gotten the first down.

At least Trubisky led the team in rushing yards. That’s a good thing at least, right? Well, no. Not when that leading total was 12 yards.

Neither Jordan Howard nor Tarik Cohen were able to generate anything that even remotely resembled momentum against an Eagles defense that entered the game as the best run defense in the NFL. The former finished up with six yards on seven carries, while the latter ended up with two carries for......

-11 yards. Yikes.

Howard ended up with two catches for 13 yards - his first receptions since Week 8 - while Cohen hauled in two balls for eight yards. That’s all the running backs could do this week. There weren't any holes for either of them to get anything going.

Sure, Cohen had an impressive kick return for a gain of 33 yards, which was a bright spot in an otherwise uninspiring special teams performance from the rookie. Those 33 yards, though, were more than five times the total amount of yards that the Bears had running the ball (six).

Here’s a not-so-fun fact: the Bears have scored less than 10 points twice this season - this game, and their loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2. In each of those games, Jordan Howard ran for less than 10 yards. This shows just how important getting a ground game going is for them. Until they surround Trubisky with some talented weapons at wide receiver, the run game is going to be the most important thing to this offense.

Eddie Jackson, who has been solid for most of the season, had the worst outing of his career this week. He finished with three total tackles and a pass deflection, sure, but he also allowed six receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown. He was also the victim of this nasty hurdle by LeGarrette Blount:

He’s still a rookie, so games like this are bound to happen at some point. Still, it certainly wasn’t a good showing by any means.

Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains said this in a press conference on Wednesday:

“But we’ll continue to play him more, and each game will be a little bit different, how it dictates. But yes, we do see him, his role just like Tarik (Cohen’s) to continue to grow weekly.”

That “him” he’s talking about is Adam Shaheen. The rookie tight end was only targeted once, catching one ball for one yard, and only played on 17 offensive snaps. So much for that.

Nobody else made a sizable impact this week. Nick Kwiatkoski only ended up with one tackle, despite playing on almost 63 percent of Chicago’s defensive drives. Deon Bush saw a season-high 17 snaps on defense and ended up with a tackle. Howard Jones - not the British pop star or the former Killswitch Engage vocalist - saw some time on defense at edge rusher, but didn’t do anything of note. Ben Braunecker, DeAndre Houston-Carson and Roy Robertson-Harris saw the bulk of their playing time come on special teams.

Will next week’s edition of The Infantry be more positive? I hope so. Then again, with this Bears coaching staff, nothing is ever a given.