To say the Chicago Bears kicked off their 2019 regular season in disappointment and/or embarrassing fashion would be a slight understatement.
For a team that many Bears fans expected to be a Super Bowl contender, they looked like anything but one on Thursday night against their division rivals, the Green Bay Packers. Despite the score being just 10-3 when all was said and done, anyone who watched the game knows just how bad the team looked. Especially on the offensive side of the ball.
It is important to remember that it’s just one game, but even so, that’s not the type of game you want to set the tone for a season with high expectations.
Even so, there was still some good that happened in Thursday night’s game, even on the offensive side of the ball. So without further ado, let’s jump into the first installment of the Bears regular season game balls.
WR Allen Robinson II
If there was any semblance of an “offensive MVP” in Thursday night’s game, it was absolutely Robinson. The 26-year-old is coming off his second season removed from an ACL tear he suffered in Jacksonville, and he appears to be back in prime form.
He finished the game with seven catches for 102 yards on 13 targets.
Obviously he didn’t get into the end zone because the Bears as a team didn’t, but it doesn’t make his impact any less meaningful. Especially in a game where quarterback Mitchell Trubisky struggled from start to finish. Robinson was the safety blanket, the play maker, and all around best player on the offensive side of the ball for the Bears in Week 1.
Before the season, I predicted that Robinson would break the 1,000 yard mark and even though it was just one game, it’s hard to see how he doesn’t do that, barring injury.
In short, Robinson was excellent on Thursday both catching the ball and after the catch. Hopefully as the offense progresses and the season moves along, he’ll find an even bigger role and more importantly, start finding the end zone consistently.
OLB Leonard Floyd
There’s just something about Floyd and his performances against the Packers. Just to give you an idea, 7.5 of his 17.5 career sacks have come against their most bitter rival.
Last night, Floyd absolutely owned one of the best left tackles in the league in David Bakhtiari. When he wasn’t getting consistent pressure and sacks he was being held. That says a lot about his overall performance.
It also backs up what the Bears new defensive coaching staff has been saying about him all off-season. Each year we’ve heard about how Floyd is due for a breakout season, but this may finally be the year that it happens. It’s also looking like a good choice in picking up his fifth-year option.
Floyd finished the game with four tackles, two for loses and a pair of sacks. To say he was unstoppable would be accurate.
Now, obviously we need to see how he performs against teams that aren’t the Packers to truly gauge where he’s at heading into his fourth season, but this was a big step in the right direction.
If Floyd stays healthy in 2019, he could see his best season yet as a pro. Either way, this was an excellent start for the former first round pick and one that could make this defensive unit as a whole, even more dangerous.
Honorable Mention: DL Roy Robertson-Harris
The Bears defense as a unit was outstanding on Thursday night. So, it was somewhat hard to single out one player to give the honorable mention to, but Robertson-Harris ends up being that guy.
Not only did the converted edge rusher kick off the sack festivities with the first team sack of the year, he was consistently around quarterback Aaron Rodgers all game and was a force as a whole.
Robertson-Harris ended up with three tackles, two for loses and a sack, but his impact was more than what shows up on the stat sheet.
For as much hype as Bilal Nichols had heading into this year, we may have been overlooking Robertson-Harris and his overall impact as a pass rusher. It’s hard to believe that just two seasons ago, he had barely made the team and was viewed as more of a developmental player that had added over 30 pounds of weight for a position change. Now, he’s one of the team’s primary pass rushers on the interior and could be poised for a bigger role and overall breakout year before he heads into next off-season as a restricted free agent.
Long story short, the Bears are not exactly short on players that have a knack for getting to the quarterback and in order to be an elite defense again in 2019, these are the types of developments that need to be made.
Here’s to hoping we’ll continue to see these types of strides made and maybe next week, we can single out more than one offensive player.