Two in a row and somehow Bears fans are more upset with this win than they are with the last one. Only in Chicago can your team start to win and fans are more upset than when they were losing.
Let’s get right to it.
1. Khalil Mack …
I don’t know whether to keep being shocked, remain in awe or start getting used to the fact that 52 is in navy and orange. Mack is like finally being allowed to eat after an intense diet, we forgot how good great actually tastes. Mack is the Bears most talented player since Hall-of-Famer Brian Urlacher and it’s not even remotely close. Mack finished the game with another performance that should net him a defensive player of the week award.
More importantly, that performance rewarded the Bears with a win that put them in first place in the NFC North and gave them a winning record for the first time in nearly four years. Say that out loud.
2. Speaking of Mack …
His arrival has been welcomed with open arms by not only Bears fans but by almost everyone who isn’t affiliated with the Raiders. The media loves the fact that the NFL’s founding franchise is relevant again and it gives them a huge fan base to cater to. Bears fans get a franchise face and a dominant defense that has always garnished the narrative of the team since it’s beginning and wins.
However, there’s a downside to Mack.
Fans seemingly forgot that this team is still a big step away from hitting its ceiling. Getting Mack has made everyone lean towards the side of instancy over patience. Because he’s here, people expect the offense to be at the level the defense is at. As I stated in training camp, the defense is supposed to be ahead of the offense. Vic Fangio has been developing this defense for the last 44 months and counting. Matt Nagy has been developing this offense for the last eight. Let’s all slow down and give this unit time.
If the secondary can step its play up one more notch, it’s realistic for this unit to contend for the top spot.
3. Mitch Trubisky …
Was not as bad as live tweeters made him out to be. We as influencers need to take some time and limit our emotional tweets until the film is made available publicly. After further review, Trubisky did not miss as many throws as people thought, he absolutely made the right reads multiple times and the Cardinals’ defense deserves more credit schematically. I still see promise in this kid.
The Score’s Danny Parkins used to cover the Chiefs. He made an interesting point when he stated that former quarterback Alex Smith didn’t complete a passing touchdown to a wide receiver the entire first year in the same offense that Trubisky is charged with leading. The following year, he was one of the best deep passers in the league and his last season, he was number one in that same category.
In regards to Trubisky, the kid’s got to grow up, sure. You didn’t go from being a toddler to an efficient adult in eight full months either did you? Give him time.
4. I firmly believe …
Nagy is developing Trubisky slowly and protecting him with play calling and limiting the complexity of the offense. You can see the number of reads is shrunken from what we saw in training camp and there isn’t as much pre-snap motion to confuse the defense currently. This because if the defense makes a drastic adjustment in its scheme, the quarterback may need to make a drastic check and process their response quickly.
It’s all intentional.
Nagy has still proven to be aggressive and gutsy and it’s going to pay off. Experience is the best teacher, and the more Trubisky connects on these plays, the more he’s locking in his calibration and timing with his receivers.
5. This team is energized …
“All that matters is that dub”. Those words shouted with emphasis in an electric locker room after a road win are a good reminder to not only us but the team. Imagine being in the Raiders position who aren’t too much different from us. We both have a quarterback learning a very complex West Coast Offense. We both have new head coaches who call the plays in this system. We both are having issues on the offensive side of the ball that need to get sorted.
The difference is, they’re 0-3 and we’re 2-1 on top of our division. I’d much rather be winning and making adjustments to figure it out than losing.
Think about this. What if Trubisky and the offense clicks next week or right after the bye?
The defense is playing with their helmets on fire. If it gels and the Bears are still winning games, this team has a chance at the playoffs and the defense to maybe even win a game or two when they get there. I can guarantee, the team inside the locker room is having too much fun dancing with a disco ball and club lights to be concerned that the win wasn’t “pretty”.
6. The defense is now officially Top-5 …
In almost every category that matters, your Chicago Bears defense is in the upper echelon this season. The Bears are first in touchdowns, sacks and forced fumbles, fourth in fumbles recovered and third in interceptions. While I won’t crown them with the “elite” title yet, they are something. That something is – special.
7. Bears leading the league in time of possession …
Is going to benefit them greatly Sunday versus a sneakily good offense in Tampa Bay. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is leading the league in passing yards and is second in passing touchdowns. He did gift the very bad Steelers defense with three interceptions and he hasn’t seen a pass rush remotely close to what the Bears are as a unit, let alone a single pass rusher as good Mack. The Buccaneers have been in three shootout games relying on Fitzpatrick’s arm and their receiving corps talent.
I expect Fangio to be stingy, keep a lot of men in coverage, play zone and trust his front four to get to the quarterback without a lot of blitzing. If the Bears control the clock, the Buccaneers won’t have enough time to run up the score as they have been doing so far.
8. Leonard Floyd has …
Quietly been very good against the run. He would’ve had a sack Sunday as well on the play where Mack was triple teamed (you read that correctly). The lineman recovered and pushed him away but Akiem Hicks was there to clean it up. He’s going to continually improve and flash as this was his first week playing without the “q-tip” club on his dominant hand to protect his fractured fingers.
9. If the Bears can go win …
They’ll be 3-1 going into a bye week. The amount of momentum that would have would need to be measured on a Richter scale. They’d get two weeks to prepare for the currently undefeated Miami Dolphins that has to play two road games before the Bears head to the sunshine state.
The Dolphins have yet to play a tough team this year. In my opinion, they’re already overrated seeing how they won against Blaine Gabbert in Tennessee, the Jets, and the winless Raiders.
These next two games are very winnable and if Trubisky continues to progress, this team could legitimately be 5-1 before Belichick and the Patriots come to town on October 21.