So much went wrong for the Chicago Bears on Sunday. And yet, they only lost by one touchdown.
The Bears fell just one yard short of sending their matchup with the New England Patriots into overtime. Whether or not they would have ended up winning that game is unknown, but the fact that they came so close to tying it up stings for Bears fans.
In an attempt to shake up the way I do my day-after notes, I’ve decided to change the format of how I organize my takeaways. Instead of doing a chronological scattering of my thoughts in real time, I decided to go with a more organized format. I’ll include a poll at the bottom of the article regarding which format is better, so please let me know your thoughts.
So, without further ado, let’s begin.
If you have Mitchell Trubisky on your fantasy team, then odds are you were very happy with his performance on Sunday. If not, then it was an outing full of ups and downs.
Trubisky ended with 333 passing yards and two touchdowns, and he added 81 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Simultaneously, though, he only completed 52 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions. The latter total could have realistically been much higher, as he made several terrible throws that Patriots defenders dropped. His deep ball placement was subpar, and his decision making was inconsistent.
At the same time, Trubisky looked better than he did earlier in the year. His pocket presence, though not perfect, has improved throughout the season. This was particularly evident in the third quarter, when he threw a deep go route to Josh Bellamy in a collapsing pocket. The pass was incomplete, but it would have been a completed pass had Bellamy made an adjustment to get towards the ball. Trubisky’s arm strength and focus were unfazed on the throw, showing off traits of a franchise quarterbacks.
What was most impressive, though, was his athleticism. He picked up 81 rushing yards on six carries, he escaped multiple defenders throughout the game, and he showed off top-end agility in space and the ability to climb the pocket. As Trubisky develops as a passer, his athleticism ensures that he will make a consistent, positive impact on their offense.
Running the ball with players not named Trubisky was an issue, however. Jordan Howard continued his trend of making several short plays, as he failed to pick up a run for more than six yards. He did score his second touchdown of the year, though. Tarik Cohen didn’t pick up the slack in his place, as he only ran for 14 yards on six carries. Most of his value came as a receiver, where he caught eight passes for 69 yards and a touchdown. He continues to be one of the most valuable pieces of the Bears’ offense.
Outside of Cohen, the only offensive weapon that stood out was Trey Burton, who caught nine passes for 126 yards and a touchdown. He was an effective weapon underneath and up the middle for the Bears, and he was a common target when they wanted to go for a more aggressive approach. Allen Robinson was essentially a nonfactor, Taylor Gabriel had an underwhelming game, and Anthony Miller didn’t light up the stat sheet, even though both of his two catches resulted in gains over 10 yards.
Chicago’s offensive line had an up and down outing, as well. They gave Trubisky his fair share of clean pockets, but they also had some issues with communication and matching New England athletically on the edge. Their run blocking was less than ideal, continuing a worrying trend that has drawn out throughout the year.
In a word: yeesh.
The Bears now know what their defense would be without Khalil Mack, as his injury has resulted in his not being effective for two games now. This hurt Chicago’s pass rush as a whole, as barely anyone did anything of note to put Tom Brady under duress. Akiem Hicks was quiet. Aaron Lynch didn’t do anything of note. Leonard Floyd had arguably his worst game of the 2018 season, allowing a touchdown in coverage to James White and being ineffective as both a pass rusher and as a cover linebacker. The only player to sack Brady was Roquan Smith, who wasn’t too shabby despite his middling stats. Danny Trevathan had a good performance against the run, too.
Chicago’s secondary was lackluster in almost all aspects. Kyle Fuller had two pass deflections and an interception - his third of the year - but he also made a few gaffes in coverage. Prince Amukamara wasn’t anything special, and Bryce Callahan was hindered by an injury. Eddie Jackson and Adrian Amos also both had fairly poor games.
The bright spot for the Bears’ defense, though, was fifth-round pick Bilal Nichols. He tallied four tackles and picked up a forced fumble. The Delaware kept his hot streak going, penetrating gaps and making plays in the backfield. With his athleticism and strength being complemented by technique, he can be a long-term starter for their defense.
Three and out
This is a section where I will drop three general takes about the game, as well as the Bears in general.
3. I normally won’t talk too much about special teams unless the Bears play poorly. Let’s just say that they did exactly that. Dont’a Hightower blocked one of Pat O’Donnell’s punts for a touchdown on a play where nothing went right. Ben Braunecker was bulldozed on a blocking attempt, and O’Donnell took forever to get his punt off. Chicago’s kick return coverage was terrible, as well, as they allowed a touchdown to Cordarelle Patterson. Patterson had 179 yards on four attempts. It’s tough for any team to beat the Patriots when they allow two special teams touchdowns.
2. With Chicago’s third loss of the year, they sit at .500 in the competitive NFC North. This game was never expected to be a win for them, but the loss puts them in a tough situation. The Bears have to play five divisional games for the rest of the year, as well as the undefeated Los Angeles Rams. The odds are not in their favor to make the playoffs, but it isn’t impossible. Things could change between now and the end of the season.
1. We’re about to enter Week 8 of the regular season, so we have a good idea of which players are doing well, and which players may need to be replaced. In my opinion, these are the positions I feel the Bears need improvements at:
- Right tackle
- Cornerback depth
- Safety depth (and a potential future replacement if Amos leaves)
- Edge rusher
The Bears have much more talent than they have at any point in Ryan Pace’s tenure as their general manager, but they aren’t perfect yet. They won’t have much of a chance to make moves in free agency due to their lack of cap space, and they don’t have draft picks in their first two rounds. However, Pace has made smart picks on Day 3 of the draft, and one shouldn’t be surprised if he finds a few more diamonds in the rough.
Which format should I use for upcoming day-after notes articles?
This poll is closed