Sigh! For the next six days, Chicago can revel in the relaxation of knowing that the Bears are not as bad as we thought they were; the Washington Redskins on the other hand…ho-lee-shit are they terrible.
A victory on Monday Night Football saw a LOT more good than bad, but it was far from perfect. That said, a 31-15 (which didn’t feel nearly that close, until it did for a few minutes) win on national TV is exactly what this team needed for their own collective mental health.
What set the tone for the Bears offensive breakout was Matt Nagy’s decision to come out of the gate going up-tempo, no huddle. This change in philosophy got Mitch Trubisky and the entire offense into an early rhythm that they never got out of. Along with going up-tempo, Nagy got Trubisky out of the pocket far more than he had in the first two weeks. This change obviously caters to the QBs athleticism but also affords the Bears O-Line the chance to get away from their natural pass-pro sets, which have been lacking at various times this season.
Although the first Bears drive didn’t result in a score, the defense handled the points on the next possession as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix turned a Case Keenum overthrow into a 37-yard pick-6 up the Redskins sideline. At this point in the season, the Bears defense had as many TDs as the offense – sooooo, that kinda sucked – but who cares? The Bears were winning a football game and actually looking OK doing it.
After penalties, and more penalties, and a missed kick, and some unwatchable periods of football, the Bears were able to do something they haven’t done since last January 6th – throw a touchdown pass. What was even more encouraging about this play was that it wasn’t the Trubisky’s first, second, or maybe even third read. Mitch was given a lot time, stayed composed in the pocket, went through his progressions, and made the right throw to Taylor Gabriel. This drive, while still littered with some inaccurate throws, was certainly the most promising of the season.
Seconds later, Khalil Mack did some Khalil Mack shit – which is beat his man off the line (again), swipe at the ball on a fly by, and force a fumble. Danny Trevathian recovered the ball deep in Washington territory, which led quickly to another Trubisky TD throw to Taylor Gabriel on a well-designed play action pass. This was the moment you could feel a collective sigh in and around Chicago. The Bears were the better team tonight, and unless they would suffer a historic meltdown over the remaining 35 minutes, a 2-1 record heading into week 4 vs. Minnesota at Soldier Field was a given.
After yet another forced turnover by the best defense in the league, Trubisky & Gabriel continued their historic night as the duo connected on a 36-yard TD pass. Gabriel became the first player ever with three receiving touchdowns in the same quarter in the long history of Monday Night Football. The Bears were now up 28-0, which is 9 more points than they had in their first two games combined.
Aside from a seven-minute span where Washington decided to act like a real-life NFL team, the 2nd half was largely uneventful. The Redskins eventually returned to being the Redskins and this “get-well” for the Bears game was on ice – a 31-15 road win that could have not come at a better time.
• There are extended periods of time when the only reason to watch this team is to see how dominant the Bears defense is. They are a unit, that with any sort of help from a competent offense, can win a Super Bowl. It’s a rare thing in sports these days to see a defense which is more entertaining to watch than an offense – but this what we are lucky enough to be witnessing in Chicago this season.
• My personal highlight of the Redskins 3rd drive was Adrian Peterson getting stuffed on yet another 1st down run attempt and showing his frustration with his horseshit O-Line. Fast forward then to the 3rd quarter where Peterson was visibly pissed about not getting any red zone carries. To be honest, I’m not sure how much longer we are going to see Peterson in a Redskins uniform. Even though he seems to think its 2009, he’s not a featured back at this point in his career – which means he’ll probably get released, sign with the Patriots, and average 100 yards per game.
• Why was Booger McFarland incessantly calling for the firing of Jay Gruden? Say it once, fine. But to continue to say it over and over shows there is more to his comments than just his own professional opinion. I am a big Jay Gruden fan – I played for Jay and he’s a great dude. He hasn’t exactly been put in a position to succeed in Washington, and on top of that, his boss is a certified weirdo how still doesn’t know how to run a professional football franchise after all these years.
• Mitch Trubisky finished 25/31 for 231 yards, 3 TDs and 1 INT – he was much better tonight against a very bad defense, but I still don’t trust his accuracy. Even a handful of his completions were poorly thrown balls, which gave his receivers no chance at any YAC numbers. Sunday afternoon vs. Minnesota will give us all a very good picture of where we are with Mitch Trubisky as the starting quarterback of a team that has very strong Super Bowl aspirations.
• Remember when Tarik Cohen & Anthony Miller were the offensive weapons of the future? How’s this working out? Cohen rushed four times for -2 yards. Miller had one catch. Matt Nagy needs to get these two guys involved if he not only wants to keep them happy, but also wants to see this offense flourish this year and beyond. Aside from QB play, the lack of production from Cohen and Miller is very disheartening.
So, What Does It All Mean?
The Bears won a game they had to win against an opponent that deserved to lose. I am not sure how much we learned this week, but it’s better than the alternative, which would be knowing for certain that Trubisky and Nagy and the O-Line all suck and this teams has no chance. Minnesota on Sunday will be a realty check for this team. I am excited to see how they respond.