This was finally the game Bears’ fans have wanted to see from the team, particularly the offense, all year.
Not only was there another dominating performance by the defense, but Mitch Trubisky had his first explosive arrival on the scene since the Bears drafted him a year ago.
While the Tampa Bay defense has been generous to opposing QBs, it’s still nice to see Trubisky exploit that. An average or bad QB would struggle to do as well as Trubisky did on Sunday.
The defense was its usual bad self: Forcing fumbles, picking off passes and just generally being disruptive and aggressive until they called off the dogs and allowed a garbage time TD.
There was a lot of good this week, so it might be tough to find three players for the ‘stock down’ portion of this article, but there are things to be done! I would say then, take any criticism through the lens of a 38-point victory rather than strong criticism of a bad player.
And for clarity’s sake: Khalil Mack is not on the list because I am trying to highlight improved and struggling players, but Mack’s stock cannot go higher right now. He is simply the best player on the field whenever he is on it. Pretty simple there.
Mitchell Trubisky, QB - How could a record setting performance, especially after the struggles and lumps of the first three games, go unnoticed? This was the breakout performance and hopefully the sign of what’s to come. Granted, we know he can’t throw five first half TDs every single week, but this is hopefully the confidence boost he needed to turn the corner. Take advantage of a weak opponent and use it to get your head right and hopefully the game is beginning to slow down for him. Very promising.
Eddie Jackson, S - For the second week in a row Jackson found himself in a position to make a play on the ball. On his interception he broke from about six yards back of Mike Evans, just as Ryan Fitzpatrick cocked to throw, and closed for the pick. Jackson has rarely been out of position. In fact, since a couple of missed tackles in the first couple of games, he’s really been mistake free. He’s a great playmaker in the secondary.
Taylor Gabriel, WR - I realize that this isn’t so much as a change Gabriel has made, as I think he’s been open a lot through the first three games, this is more on Trubisky actually delivering throws. However, I still thought Gabriel warranted a shout out. He had a career high in yards (104), receptions (7) and matched a career high in touchdowns in a game (2). He previous highs in yards and catches came as a rookie when he was on the Browns back in 2014. Gabriel adds a different dimension to this offense and I think he’s looking to prove he’s more than a speed threat.
Honorable mentions: Kyle Fuller, Cohen, Aaron Lynch
Jordan Howard, RB - I am not worried about Howard, yet. I think this week is more of an indictment of the game plan (Nagy seemed to see something in Tampa’s D that favored the match up Tarik Cohen gave them) and the fact that the one thing Tampa’s defense actually does well is stop opposing running backs. Howard will get going, but this wasn’t his strongest outing.
More to consider on that from Lorin Cox:
Jordan Howard ran the ball 11 times against the Buccaneers.— Lorin Cox (@CoxSports1) October 2, 2018
On 9 of those runs, he was met by a defender at or behind the line of scrimmage.
The other 2 were gains of 5 and 11 yards#Bears
Kevin White, WR - This isn’t exactly a surprise, but at the same time, with Anthony Miller down, it was surprising to see that White earned an increase in snaps but no targets. He played well when he did, throwing a block on a screen, but he’s still a non-factor in the passing game.
Kevin Toliver, CB - Toliver was put in a tough spot and he didn’t do terribly. He was always going to be targeted a ton with Prince Amukamara out and Kyle Fuller locking down Mike Evans most of the day. He was on DeSean Jackson on his 47 yard catch, and was also targeted on Evans’ 13-yard twisting grab. He had some tough assignments, and the damage could have been much worse, but someone had to be here.
Who did I miss? Who made your list; good and bad?