We’ve all seen the “Hot Takes” from the last weekend’s games all over the net.
In this series, I’m letting some time pass, and after reviewing the game tape a couple of times, I’m going to share some “Cold Takes.” about the Bears suffocation of NFC North rival Minnesota. I’ll also sprinkle in a few thoughts about our division rivals. These are just a series of my thoughts and observations about the game as well as the Bears in general up until this point, presented in no particular order.
- My game ball goes to Eddie Jackson for the game winning pick 6. Runners up include Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and Leonard Floyd.
- This game was ALL about the defense. Yes, the offense made some plays, but the this was a game of defensive domination by Chicago.
- We had that feeling on the first drive when Minnesota got the ball. After a pass to Stefon Diggs and a run got the Vikings a half-yard short of a first down, Chicago’s defense absolutely stuffed the third-down run. That’s when we knew “it was on”.
- On that play, Kyle Fuller got the stop but if you watch the game again, Akiem Hicks absolutely destroyed two players to penetrate three yards into the backfield. BEAST.
- On the Bears first drive, Mitchell Trubisky’s scramble was great up until the time he was tackled. By Cody Whitehair. Seriously, watch the play.
- Good news? Cody Parkey broke out of his funk with the first of his three field goals absolutely splitting the upright. The bad news? He kicked the ensuing kickoff out of bounds giving up the ball at the 40 yard line. Good Cody? Meet Bad Cody.
- The whole kicking game was interesting. Yes, Parkey did his job, but man I was flabbergasted when we went for two on that first TD. That’s off the charts (literally). I in fact was wondering if Parkey had hurt himself on the bad kickoff after his first field goal. Turns out no, it was just Matt Nagy being Matt Nagy.
- Let’s take a look at that defense & key players. Khalil Mack? What more needs to be said about the future Defensive Player Of The Year? Sack. Forced fumble. Recovery. Otherworldly.
- Akiem Hicks had 5 tackles for loss and a sack, but numbers do not do justice to the man’s destruction of the middle of that (admittedly iffy) Vikings offensive line.
- Leonard Floyd was everywhere, destroying the run, getting a ton of pressure and playing great coverage. Another fine game for Floyd, even though a lot of fans are screaming about his sack numbers.
- Kyle Fuller and Prince Amukamara both had excellent games again, as did Bryce Callahan.
- Adrian Amos had the big pick... yes, it was a deflection but bottom line is, he caught it.
- Roquan Smith had some great moments, but he had one really, really bad missed tackle that he would like to have back. Rookie was being a rookie. It’s too early to judge how good he will be, but I think he’s a future Pro Bowler. He’s already not a draft bust.
- Is everybody noticing the outstanding year Danny Trevathan is having, both as a player and as the man calling the defense? Danny’s having the best year of his Bears career by far, and probably the best overall year he’s had.
- How good has Aaron Lynch been this year? Well, the fact that the Bears really, really missed him in the fourth quarter as we were rotating pass rushers should tell you how solid he’s been.
- On the other side of the ball, I feel for Adam Shaheen. He made a huge two point catch, but to be concussed after only a few plays? Not good.
- As good as Allen Robinson was against Detroit, he was not nearly there against the Vikings. True, the Vikings defensive backs are about 10 zillion times better than Detroit’s (without Slay), but hey, AR didn’t have his best game.
- Anthony Miller is worth the price of admission.
- I have no idea when Mitchell Trubisky got hurt. I’m hoping it’s minor, but I do feel reassured a bit remembering how Chase Daniel absolutely dismantled Kansas City’s firsts with our seconds in the preseason. Took. Them. Apart.
- One might note that while it is pre-season, that Kansas City team is actually not bad.
As I often do, I asked my fellow contributors at Windy City Gridiron to share some of their own Cold Takes, so here you go!
Eric C. Duerrwaechter
- Khalil Mack just loves to bully offensive tackles who reside in the NFC North. Meanwhile, Trubisky showed that he can play winning football while posting mediocre stats against an elite defense. While his two picks were 1) ill advised and 2) ugly as can be, he made the Vikings pay with his ability to scramble for first downs. We’ve also seen some balance develop on offense, as Howard was fed the ball for quite a few stretches during the game. And Cody Parkey got himself out of a funk in inspiring fashion. Just a good team win against a good team in the Vikings.
- The Bears are the gold standard on defense in today’s NFL. With rule changes heavily favoring quarterbacks, the level of play from the position is the best it’s ever been on a league-wide scale. The fact that this defense is continually flummoxing offenses in this climate is nothing short of brilliant. Of course one can gripe about garbage yards and points, and I do, but even with the fourth quarter numbers being skewed, the Bears are obliterating opposing offenses. This may not ultimately be enough to get the Bears to the promised land this season, but there isn’t a team in the NFL that is going to want to play them in the playoffs. The future is bright Bears fans. Savor this season but know that as good as this team is, they should be markedly better next year, and that is the stuff that dreams are made of.
- The Bears are one of the NFL’s five best teams.
- At 7-3 that may seem a bit premature but their defense gives them a leg up on almost every team in the league, even with an offense that has been inconsistent. This may not be the ‘85 defense but in terms of today’s NFL, this is an elite defense by every stretch of the imagination and like they always say “defense wins championships” even if the Bears are a year away from fulfilling that destiny.
- Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Leonard Floyd at their best like we saw on Sunday night is the best weapon the Bears have for a deep run in the playoffs. Not Mitchell Trubisky and the offense firing on all cylinders. Not an offense exploding every now and then. No. It’s this pass rush trio pinning their ears back and deciding to wreck a game like they did against the Vikings. No one else in the active NFL possesses that kind of salvo on defense. No one else has that kind of flexibility and potential to wreck a game defensively. Mack, Hicks, and Floyd are so unique together in that respect, that they’ll be the main key and trump card in winning against the Saints or Rams in January.
- Suffice to say: the Bears should like their chances with this star trio getting rolling.
- The Bears are 5-1 at home, the most home wins they’ve had there since 2013. Nagy has brought homefield advantage back to the lakefront.
- The Bears have more than six wins for the first time since 2013 and have seven wins before December 1 for the first time since 2012.
- This team is really taking on the personality of its coach and for the better. After three straight head coaches that, for the most part, were completely devoid of personality, it’s fun to see Swaggy Nagy rubbing off on the Bears. This team is fun and has personality and is winning to boot.
Lester A. Wiltfong Jr.
- Matt Nagy could have used another year of play calling under his belt, but he’s learning on the job with a young offense that is doing the same. Even with the second half hiccups, his offense is still in the top half of the league and is capable of exploding at any point. Once it gels, this offense could be special.
- This team is SO CLOSE to being a juggernaut. A few mental mistakes, and some play calling issues (especially late) is really all that stands in between this team and true greatness. I know they’re frustrating to watch at times, even in the wins, but it’s important to not miss the forest for the trees. This is already a very good team, and they are only getting better. We all need to occasionally take a step back, realize what a fun team this is, mistakes and all, and given the time of year, be Thankful for what we have the privilege of witnessing. The mistakes will come less often. The play calling will adjust and improve. The players will get more comfortable and experienced. And this team will grow into it’s potential. And we get to watch it all happen. Plus, as it stands, they’re 7-3 and kings of the north! Enjoy the ride Bears Fans! Enjoy the ride.
OK, Chicago Bears fans, there you have it. What do you think? Spill the beans!