The Bears made an impressive run last season. Quarterback Mitch Trubisky shined brighter than expected. The addition of Khalil Mack made their defenses one of the best in the nation. But now that we know their roster is capable, will the Bears perform to fans’ expectations this season? Their Week 1 rivalry loss to the Green Bay Packers was a bit of a letdown, but at least they managed to defeat the Denver Broncos in Week 2… if only by two points. Here’s a look at the Chicago Bears this season, including a quick look at the troubles facing their QB and a recap of Monday Night Football this week!
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The Quarterback Quandary
Chicago Bears QB Mitch Trubisky finished last season with over 3,000 passing yards, a 66.6% completion rate, 24 touchdowns, and a passer rating of 95.4. In his final four games of 2018, his accuracy was even higher and he had a passer rating of over 100. He and new head coach Matt Nagy seemed to thrive together, and Trubisky finished the season by leading the Bears to the NFC North Division Title for the first time in 9 years.
During the first two regular season games this year, however, Trubisky was pretty terrible, completing only 58.3% of passes with zero touchdowns and only 348 passing yards. (Way worse than this time last year.) When he attempted deep throws, he missed them, and he seemed uncomfortable inside the pocket. Trubisky is known for being an athletic quarterback with great running skills, but he’s just not running the ball that much yet, which is concerning. In the first two weeks, it almost looked as if the 25-year-old hadn’t fully developed those innate quarterback playcalling instincts yet. It took the Bears seven quarters to get their first touchdown, which is definitely not the start they were hoping for.
On the bright side, he’s still got that athleticism, he works hard, and he’s popular in the locker room with his teammates. Nagy also took some of the blame for the offense’s performance in the first two games, citing his own uneven playcalling.
So, needless to say, Monday Night Football this week was a big test for Trubisky…
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That Bears Defense Though
According to ESPN, the Bears’ defense looks ready for a potential Super Bowl… even if Trubisky isn’t. Their defense under new coordinator Chuck Pagano is just as elite as they were last year (remember when they were ranked number one in the nation?), even if they only forced one turnover during Weeks 1 and 2. We know they’re still great at generating pressure and halting the opposition, and in light of the offense’s struggles, they’ve stepped in to lead the way. And they’re not even mad about it.
According to defensive end Akiem Hicks, “There will come games where one side of the ball will struggle. This happens throughout the entire league, and it’s the other side of the ball’s job to pick them up […] So those types of things happen. It’s just our job as an entire football team to pick one another up.”
Do or Die in Monday Night’s Game
As the Bears took the field against the winless Washington Redskins on Monday, they were looking for a breakout offensive performance. And since they were playing one of the worst defenses in the league, it was entirely possible. Chicago went into the game as a 5.5-point favorite and needed a win to avoid falling solidly to the bottom of the NFC North right out of the gate.
Before Monday night, Trubisky said, “We haven’t been executing the way we want to. There are definitely some things that we are missing on film, but we’re coming together and we’re correcting them. The most important thing to me is that my guys still believe in me. I believe in myself, and we’re one unit. We’re together.”
Well, Monday was Trubisky’s 30th career start and he really turned things around, throwing for 231 yards and THREE touchdowns (all of them to Taylor Gabriel and all of them in the first half). While he still didn’t run the ball much, he looked way better than he has in previous weeks. Trubisky even took a few sacks at the start of the game but bounced back with no problems. He finished the game with 25 of 31 completed passes, but he had the most completed passes of his career in that first half with 20 of 23. Maybe not an offensive explosion, per se, but it’s a step in the right direction.
Nagy said, “I want to give credit to Mitch […] He understands that throughout this process, there’s a lot of weight on his shoulders to do well … I like where he’s at. We’re slowly getting better.”
The Bears defense also had their first pick-six of the season and several big plays, even if they did have a few penalties in the first half which allowed the Redskins to score. HaHa Clinton-Dix, Hicks, and Mack all had great games, forcing fumbles, generating offensive opportunities, and getting some sacks in. Kyle Fuller also had a pick. Clinton-Dix had two interceptions and over 60 yards. While the defense wasn’t as strong in the second half, their overall performance was a relief to Bears fans.
There were also worries over dependable Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro – who saved the team in Week 2’s game against the Broncos with a last-minute 53-yard kick – after he suffered a knee injury that almost kept him out of Monday night’s game. He ended up playing, however, and put 7 points on the board for his team (for a total of 20 of his own so far this season).
The Bears take on the Minnesota Vikings in a big division game at Soldier Field on Sunday, September 29th, and they’ll need to turn it up even more to win that one. Tune in or grab tickets with Razorgator.
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