It’s 2018 and the Bears played a football game. Bears football is 100% officially back, and I’m still basking in the fat furry ursine glory of it all.
In a game where the Baltimore Ravens brought out two Heisman-winning 1st round picks to start at quarterback, the Bears held their own with two undrafted signal callers due to impressive performance from their defensive depth pieces. Preseason scores don’t matter. If the Bears win, the appropriate response is to pretend that preseason scores matter and rub it in to whoever you can. But if they lose, there’s really no reason to hold up the charade.
OLB hope: Kylie Fitts flashes and Isaiah Irving shines
Isaiah Irving first got our attention in this game with an off-sides penalty, but on the replay he actually pulled himself back before rushing, so he didn’t technically get an advantage on that play when led to a pressure.
He followed that up with an early sack and an impressive 1st quarter run stuff, and may have been the defensive star of the first half.
Kylie Fitts also flashed with his own combination of penalty, sack, and pressure, but Irving looked like the more developed player in this trial against backups.
The NFL wasn’t kidding about that new lowering helmet penalty
I counted four 15-yard penalties for players lowering their head to make contact, which probably means there is at least five. If you’ve been following along the Roquan Smith contract saga, this was originally a sticking point in his contract, that reports say Bears conceded on (now allowing language that Roquan can not lose guaranteed money because of suspensions due to this rule.)
An interesting tidbit about this was a broadcast announcer reporting that the current hold-up is about language stating on-the-field-behavior related suspensions other than this penalty could lead to voided guaranteed money. I’m sure more will come out about the details of this in the next day or two.
Do not dive: Bears linebacker depth came looking a little shallow.
In the Raven’s first scoring drive, they attacked the middle of the field without meeting much resistance. John Timu and Johnathan Anderson let a big run through, and Timu himself—certainly the better of the two—was beat in coverage for two plays including the touchdown. They performed better through the rest of the game, but did nothing special to reassure my concerns.
After Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski, the Bears have only Timu, unsigned rookie Roquan Smith and unproven rookie Joel Iyebuniwe to rely on. This is starting to seem like a scary proposition remembering the plays given up due to exhausting linebacker depth last year, when Christian Jones was literally struggling to relay the play calls.
Dive with impunity?: DHC and Deon Bush both representing safety depth well.
DeAndre Houston-Carson showed up early with a rare interception appearance and Bush showed some of what Fangio and Pace have been raving about with a great tackle and nice pass-defense. Both safeties showed good position and inspired confidence in the back-end of the Bears defense.
New and improved Dion Sims looking a little too much like “The Sims 4”
I have to be honest, I had to ask google’s help to find out what the worst Sims franchise game was, but there seemed to be a unanimous response. Dion Sims single-handedly stalled a first-quarter drive, with a holding penalty that brought back a long run followed by an incomplete contested pass to him. It’s still a small sample size, but after a disappointing 2017 season, my patients is thin
Roy-Robertson Harris slowly making the case for passing Bullard on the depth chart
Both players showed promise in this game, but RRH was simply more impressive. His bull-rush sack may have been a clearly unfair match-up against a 3rd string guard, but it was so much fun to watch.
Bullard had a sack of his own, but he also had a play where he clearly jogged after the one Ravens quarterback who he had a chance of catching (Josh Woodrum). That lack of effort revealed enough to me to drop him behind the high-hustle promising UDFA.
This is also a good time to note that 5th-round rookie Bilal Nichols showed up for a big-loss sack on Lamar Jackson.
Beezo can make plays
Josh Bellamy is due for a rebranding among Bears fans, so for the rest of his tenure as a Chicago Bear, I’ll refer to him by his rap handle, Beezo. The truth is, he’s a good special teamer, he’s always been a capable route-runner, and his hands have been better the last couple years. In spite of his history of high-profile drops, he’s actually the exact type of player you want shoring up the bottom of your receiver depth chart. He showed it in his brief start tonight, looking like the best receiver on the field when he was out there.
Speaking of which, is Bennie Fowler the new Josh Bellamy? Either that or it’s 2004 and he’s just trying to make Snoop Dogg proud #dropitlikeitshotttt
Rashaad Coward climbs up my favorite-Bears power rankings.
The 2017 UDFA at defensive tackle was switched to offensive line for the first time this off-season. The early reports were that he would try out at guard. By the time this game started, he was listed as the 2nd-string RT on the Bears depth chart. My hope for him was to make it through his snaps without getting a penalty. He accomplished that. He also didn’t give up a pressure, and at least on one occasion laid a defender n the ground. Perhaps more importantly, he looked appropriately plump for a Bears offensive lineman. Add that to the last name, and I have high hopes for this Bear.
All he do is Wims wims (wims)
At contested catches. If it’s not obvious, this refers to 7th round rookie Javon Wims, who showed some impressive contested-catch ability, and the 2010 DJ Khaled banger, All I do is Win.
Wish I’d seen more
Of Adam Shaheen, Taquon Mizzell, and Ryan Nall. And at the risk of being rude, after more than a half of Tyler Bray, I would have loved to see some reps of Trey Burton or Tarik Cohen at QB.
It’s hard to complain about an evening of actual Bears football. I would have loved to see some more offensive fireworks, but seeing promise from young pass-rushers is probably the most important thing for my hopes for this Bears season. It would have been nice to see a new improved offense march down the field on a deep Ravens defense, but it’s hard to expect much from the vanilla play-calling you see in the preseason.
For what it’s worth, if Nagy’s willing to go for when down 1 in the 4th with Tyler Bray behind the helm, I’m excited to see what he’s willing to do with Trubisky.
Hibernation is over. It’s time to wake up and Bear down.