The tendency to get reactionary in the midst of a crushing defeat can be overwhelming to some. The Bears lost a difficult and frustrating game to the Dolphins on Sunday: a game where they had their fair share of opportunities to come out on top. No one’s arguing that. What is notable is how they were able to stay afloat against Miami and what ultimately sunk their efforts for their fourth victory of the 2018 season.
For one, Mitchell Trubisky continues to look more and more like the franchise quarterback the Bear have believed he could become. Two great to solid performances are hardly a referendum on his entire professional career. But there’s no doubting Trubisky has taken immense strides in his last two starts against the Buccaneers and Dolphins.
Trubisky’s latest outing in the Miami heat saw the 24-year-old attain a 138.9 passer rating when passing from a clean pocket, according to Pro Football Focus. That was by far the highest of any NFL quarterback on Sunday and bears out when you see how Trubisky excelled in the second half against the Dolphins. Give him time and he’ll make you pay.
Notably, Trubisky was pressured on just 10 of his 36 drop backs. When under pressure, Trubisky was only 2-of-6 for 20 yards, with two scrambles and two sacks. An aspect of his developing game that he has to answer for when Chicago plays better defenses.
Part of Trubisky’s stellar second half effort came in part thanks to the effort of Tarik Cohen, who had 88 of his 90 receiving yards come after the catch per PFF. That’s, uh ... very good. The Bears may want to have Cohen test defenses more vertically in the future, but he’s incredibly proficient at making defenders miss. That much we already knew.
To the defensive side of the ball, at a glance it looks like Brock Osweiler shredded the Bears with 380 passing yards. Look closer and 280 of those passing yards came after the catch with the Bears defense missing 19 tackles as a team. Miami’s receivers and running backs did nearly all of the work for Osweiler. Chicago’s safety turned out to be the biggest culprits in this as Adrian Amos (5) and Eddie Jackson (3) had a rough day in the open field as the last lines of defense.
Finally, the Bears’ lack of pass rush pressure on a banged-up offensive line was even worse than it looked. An inside linebacker in Danny Trevathan turned out to be Chicago’s best pass rusher with four hurries on 12 pass rushes. Seeing as how he hurt his ankle and also had heat as a factor, Mack was a non-factor against Osweiler with one hurry on 33 pass rushing snaps. Mack’s primary front seven partners in Leonard Floyd (1) and Akiem Hicks (1) didn’t fare any better.
If the Bears are going to rebound against the class of pro football in the Patriots, they’ll need more of the same from Trubisky (in the second half) and a more dialed-in effort on the part of their defense this Sunday.
Robert is the Editor-in-chief of The Blitz Network (subscribe here!), the managing editor of Windy City Gridiron, and writes for a host of other fine publications. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.
*All numbers in this article are courtesy of Pro Football Focus.