Wow. The first away game for the 2017 Chicago Bears was a complete encapsulation of the Chicago fan experience for the last couple of years. With the emotional
ups and downs trials and tribulations body-slamming fans might have taken this Sunday, Windy City Gridiron is here to do the heavy lifting for the fan-on-the-street. In this case, Josh is going to look at the bright side while Robert is going to try to find something to be negative about (not too hard on this occasion). We’ll bring you the highs and lows of being a Bears fan in an easy Week 2 discussion. Ready? Here we go.
Josh: Any discussion of the positives from Week 2 has to start with the way the team responded to adversity. Despite four turnovers and a truly inept offense, the Chicago defense was pretty solid. They recorded their first turnover of the season, a smart heads-up play by Leonard Floyd. In years past, that ball would have sat on the ground, waiting for a Buccaneer to scoop it up and run it in for a touchdown. Instead, No. 94 went until the whistle was blown. Add that play to the fact that the defense managed a pair of sacks and four tackles for a loss and it’s clear that the defense stayed in the fight, despite having to have been absolutely gassed.
Robert: That positivity seems like a bit of a stretch, no? Isn’t hustle what we should generally expect as the baseline for a football team? And especially in regards to Floyd, who has largely been invisible as a pass rusher over the first two weeks of the season. I see him as the face of this defense, but am not afraid to call it out like it is: he absolutely has to be better. A franchise edge rusher can’t be neutralized so well as he has been against the Falcons and Buccaneers. He didn’t register his first quarterback hit until the third quarter on Sunday. His fumble recovery was the first legitimate big impact play he’s made all year and it took almost two games. While the defense has played better than at first glance considering some of the short fields they’ve had to defend, Floyd right now is an emblem of the Bears defense: overwhelmed as games grind on. (Oh don’t worry, we’ll get to quarterback play in a second.)
Josh: Saving the quarterback discussion for later, it’s worth pointing out that the Bears receivers are not as bad as advertised Kendall Wright and Deonte Thompson showed up to play. Although he’s a tight end, Zach Miller also did much of what was asked of him. Leaving aside the absolutely ridiculous commentary by Schlereth (who seems like he’s personal friends with Glennon or something), it should have been obvious to anyone watching the game that most of the problems faced by the Bears receivers were caused by a quarterback who put them in harm’s way and who seemed to know only how to throw to the middle. Despite those limitations, the weapons for the Beloved came through time and again. Even with the secret out on Tarik Cohen, that man played with fire. It’s a pity that the obvious limitations in the passing game clearly bottled up Howard, but that too will change with time.
Robert: I’m glad to see someone sees that the Bears receivers aren’t as bad as they seem at first glance, because Glennon almost certainly is. Most predicted his performance would be in line with the way it is now all the way back in March, and after an uneven preseason performance to go with his start to 2017 - he hasn’t disappointed. There’s no way you can justify three lackadaisical first half turnovers which effectively buried the Bears and did all of the work for Tampa Bay. There’s also no way you can justify a five-year veteran that doesn’t go through his progressions, that stares his receivers down again and again, that has virtually no zip on his passes, and does everything in slow motion. Tampa Bay’s defense isn’t good. In fact, it might not even be mediocre. Glennon’s 301 yards might be the most hollow of any Bears quarterback in a long time. It’s difficult to keep perspective of a worse recent Bears quarterback performance, but that’s been par for the course of late in recent years.
Josh: I would like to point out that this outing was an improvement for the offense compared to the Bears’ last performance against Tampa Bay.
That said, wasn’t it nice to see the Bears rally at the end, though? Thompson looked sharp in that touchdown to avoid the shutout, and instead of phoning it in Glennon actually found his man and delivered the ball. In doing so, Glennon managed to climb up from the absolute dregs and get a fourth-quarter touchdown for the second straight week.
Robert: Ah yes, Glennon finally managed to get the Bears on the board on his third straight red zone drive against a garbage time defense. My, my, how he responded to adversity. That’s effective quarterbacking. That’s who the Bears deserve under center, at this rate. Let’s just ignore all of his other problematic play and praise the man who continually misses open receivers and who it seems like is somehow is being coddled by the organization, instead of the No. 2 overall pick. Better yet, aside from all of this, let’s see Glennon move this offense well when the outcome of the game is still well in doubt. When the defense is still attacking him and playing aggressively. I have quite the hunch we probably won’t. Those still on the hill of Glennon have even less to work with this week, even if all of Chicago’s issues are almost certainly not on him.
Josh: Look, there’s no doubt that change is needed in Chicago. Change at the top of the roster and perhaps even change in the coaching staff. Today moved Chicago one step closer to that moment of healing, and that has to be a good thing.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for the Rock River Times and is an editor for Windy City Gridiron. Josh Sunderbruch is a writer and the numbers man for Windy City Gridiron. You can follow Robert on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.