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Cold Takes: A Look At Chicago’s Win Over Arizona

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Things look a bit different when you set emotions aside and go back and watch the tape a couple of times...

Chicago Bears v Arizona Cardinals
Linebacker Aaron Lynch #99 of the Chicago Bears celebrates on the field during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on September 23, 2018 in Glendale, Arizona.
Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

We’ve all seen the “Hot Takes” from Sunday’s Bears game against Arizona 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.”

These are just a series of my thoughts and observations, presented in no particular order.

  • My game ball goes to Sherrick McManis, two HUGE plays in the fourth quarter. Special mention goes to Bryce Callahan.
  • Speaking of Bryce Callahan, I’m hoping a contract extension for that man is a top-priority on Ryan Pace’s to-do list.
  • Prince Amukamara... he’s always been able to play corner, he’s not always been able to stay healthy. Let’s hope this is not a bad pull...
  • Can Kevin Toliver II turn his admittedly high level of talent into performance? I fear we are about to find out... in a position, outside corner, that’s one of the hardest to learn in the game. Toliver’s best friends right now? Khalil Mack & company. Other than one really off miss, he didn’t play badly... which is good, obviously, with the need for 4 solid DB’s.
  • Josh Rosen may have a stellar NFL career, but man, what a way to get thrown to the wolves... down by two, facing what we now know is the most ferocious pass rush in the league. That last play, were Vic Fangio threw the house, the kitchen sink and even the picket fence it the back yard at the kid... that was just ugly. No prevent, Fangio unleashed monsters. Welcome to the NFL, rook.
  • I’m not even going to talk about Mitchell Trubisky, because everybody else is, seemingly 24/7 these days. Instead, let’s take a look at the rest of the Bears.
  • Cody Parkey was right... he didn’t get redemption with that last FG... he missed earlier, and that’s what put Chicago in the position they were at. We shouldn’t expect perfection from a field goal kicker in December, in Chicago, in the wind, when it’s zero. This was Arizona. Inside. The air conditioning doesn’t create enough draft to move a ball. He needs to hit those FG’s in perfect conditions under 50 yards, he just does.
  • Megapunt Pat O’Donnell didn’t shank the most important punt of the game. That’s new and pleasant.
  • Jordan Howard had a 2.1 YPC average on 24 carries. He also had a couple of receptions. I keep hearing people say “run Howard more, run Howard more!!!” but 25-30 touches a game (especially when the runs are going for 2.1 YPC and the catches are at 7.5 YPC) is enough.
  • The first quarter’s defensive struggles were something I’m not worried about. A couple of breakdowns, those can be fixed. After that? Lights out.
  • The Cardinals offense is just very, very bad. After we got over our little “oopsies” due to missed plays on D and bad field position from our own offense falling flat, there was no real chance of Arizona doing much.
  • The Cardinals defense, however, is a different matter entirely. They have two huge playmakers, including last years #1 pass rusher in Chandler Jones. Charles Leno joined a long list of Left Tackles who have struggled to do anything positive with Jones.
  • The hype train was off-the-charts when we got Khalil Mack. Expectations were ridiculous and nobody could live up to them.
  • That is, nobody could live up to them until Mack got to Chicago and immediately exceeded all the hype... he outperformed in historic fashion.
  • The way Mack has played to open this season is a story you will tell your grandchildren. You are seeing greatness. Enjoy it.
  • Linebacker Aaron Lynch keeps doing things. Good things. Who knew?
  • Admit it, when the Bears did a 3-and-out in their last drive of the game, deep down didn’t you just “know” they were going to blow it?
  • Know who’s playing well under the radar? Defensive lineman Bilal Nichols. Rook played some solid minutes, That tackle for loss right before the two-minute-warning was huge, it turned a third-and-two into a fourth-and-five. Then Bryce Callahan happened.
  • Speaking again of Callahan, Ryan, are you listening? That extension done yet? Might want to go ahead and drop a dime to his agent... m’kay?
  • Above is a video of the Bears after the win. It’s about a minute long, and in it Matt Nagy says some words to the team then turns it over to the players. Know who steps up to be the players spokesman/leader? Second year safety Eddie Jackson, that’s who. That’s a good thing. A REALLY good thing.
  • Speaking of Jackson, that’s a pretty good fourth round pick by Ryan Pace. I’m not the biggest Ryan Pace fan ever, but Jackson is a first-rounder kind of player we got in the 4th.
  • Kevin White is still healthy. Not so you would notice.
  • So far this year I see several Pro Bowl level players on the Bears. Mack, obviously, but also Eddie Jackson and Akiem Hicks for sure.
  • Have you ever stared deeply into Staley’s eyes? Totally creepy, right?
  • The Bears are now 2-0 this season in games they were favored, after going 1-8 in those games under John Fox.
  • Matt Nagy is a work in progress, but I like that he admits when he screws up.
  • Perhaps Matt Nagy’s biggest contribution to the Bears so far is one nobody else is talking about... Nagy reaching out and finding a way to keep Vic Fangio in Chicago. The odds of that happening at the end of 2017 were somewhere between a zillion-to-one and a fufillion-to-one... and they were closer to the fufillion end than the zillion end.

Here are a couple of non-Bears cold takes

  • Clay Matthews is whining about being penalized by the league for hits he considers legal. The NFL says that both of the quarterback hits he’s complaining about are not only illegal, but textbook examples of the new quarterback protection rules. The league is right, both of those plays were perfect examples of what the new rules call illegal. Having said that, it’s a stupid rule, both of those hits were 100 percent legit and should not be illegal.
  • I’m not losing too much sleep because a cheap-shot artist like Clay Matthews is whining, though. The rule is dumb, but... it is Clay Matthews, after all...
  • Jon Gruden is as dumb as a sack of hammers.
  • Sorry, hammers, I have defamed your intelligence. Let me offer a correction.
  • Jon Gruden is dumber than a sack of hammers.
  • Minnesota. Woof. Just... woof.
  • Green Bay is not a very good football team, and Washington is better than people think.
  • New England?*

*See entry for Minnesota.


So what do you think, Chicago Bears fans... let’s hear it, spill the beans!