On Sunday at Soldier Field, the Bears crushed a hyped up Tampa Bay Bucs team with a final score of 48-10. For fans, it was about time.
The Bears have come a long way since last season. But did anyone think they’d actually be leading the NFC North this year… or, well, ever?
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky threw some excellent stats on the board this week. Finally. He completed 19 of 26 passes (that’s 73.1% accuracy) for 354 yards. He threw five touchdown passes to five different players – Josh Bellamy, Trey Burton, Tarik Cohen, Taylor Gabriel, and Allen Robinson – in the first half! He’s only the second quarterback to throw at least five first-half touchdown passes to five different players (Aaron Rodgers was the first in 2014). Trubisky ended the game with a 154.7 passer rating, and he threw another touchdown in the second half, making him the first Bears player since 1949 to throw six touchdown passes in one game.
So yeah, silly stats!
This is the game that the Bears have been waiting to see from their young quarterback. Trubisky lagged behind others in his draft class when it came to producing results, and there’s been no shortage of critics and naysayers in Chicago. Rumor has it, however, that the Bears locker room saw this breakout game coming. His teammates have seen him in practice and they know he can make the throws. His confidence has grown this season too. It just took four games for it to finally appear.
On Trubisky’s growth, Bears running back Tarik Cohen had this to say: “It’s just his confidence. When he gets in the game and after the huddle, [it’s] him making decisions, him making audibles, him making [hot reads]. That’s when he really turned it on today.”
So not only will this performance surely give Trubisky and Bears fans more confidence in his abilities, but his teammates and coaches are catching good vibes too. And that’s what it’s about for Trubisky, who said, “…I’m out there playing for my teammates.’’
Sure, this was the first time we’ve seen Trubisky make plays of this caliber. And sure, he’s still got some things to work on. He was sacked in the first quarter against the Bucs, he missed a couple of passes he should’ve completed, and he’ll likely do it again before it’s all over with. But he’s making the right decisions and he’s making big plays. Like his 39-yard touchdown pass to tight end Trey Burton who stumbled into the endzone at the start of the game. And his seven completed passes to wide receiver Taylor Gabriel for two touchdowns and 104 yards.
With new head coach Matt Nagy and a ton of support on the field, it looks like Trubisky will just keep getting better and better.
The Bears newly crafted offense finally performed well and they didn’t slow down the whole time, scoring in all four quarters of the game. This matchup is just proof that they can blow out a team with a terrible defense, but it’s also evidence that they can show up against decent opponents too. Nagy rolled in with his experience and plans from Kansas City, and after a few growing pains, the revamped Bears offense showed an explosiveness we had yet to see from the team this season. And the O-line did a great job of giving Trubisky time to make plays.
But it’s the Bears’ defense that’s filled with an all-star cast. New addition, MVP candidate, and potential Defensive Player of the Year Khalil Mack has the support of Akiem Hicks, Kyle Fuller, Eddie Jackson, Adrian Amos, and Prince Amukamara. These guys were able to shut down a strong Bucs offense – a team that had been averaging 27 points per game prior to Sunday – holding them to a mere 10 points. Bucs quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was the highest-rated passer in the NFC up to Week 4, so that’s no small feat. Mack already has four forced fumbles in four games, just one away from his career high of five. The Bears defense now leads the league in sacks with 18 and they’re second in interceptions with 8.
The NFC North ain’t an easy conference, but these stats show the Bears can hang with their tough competition. We’ve seen they can play alongside the Packers in their close Week 1 rivalry game, and the Vikings may not be as strong as we originally thought, falling to the Bills and the Rams. Meanwhile, the Lions are 1-3. Yet the Bears have scored more points and allowed the least points of any team in the NFC North.
Who knows? The Bears might be for real…