The Bears Were the Better Team for About 55 Minutes and Other Bullets

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The Bears Were the Better Team for About 55 Minutes and Other Bullets

Chicago Bears

If the players can be positive after last night, then I suppose I can be positive too:

  • Taylor Gabriel was on the Falcons team that blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl against the Patriots two years ago and last year’s Atlanta team that coughed up a 10-6 lead in the divisional round against the Eagles. Gabriel’s perspective is valuable and much needed as we try to wrap our minds around what happened last night.
  • The Bears were the better team for most of the night at Lambeau Field, which says a lot about where the team has come since we last saw them play a meaningful game. In their last two games in Green Bay, Chicago had been outscored by a 61-24 margin in a pair of contests that weren’t all that competitive. Losing sucks, but raising the talent level and the ability to compete with a team that’s handled you in recent years is not something that should go overlooked today.
  • And how about Khalil Mack? He lived up to the hype and then some, last night. A strip-sack while the Packers were in the red zone and a pick-six to give the Bears a 20-0 lead in the second quarter? That’s the kind of performance you expect from a player you trade two future first-round picks to acquire. Mack played on just 70 percent of the team’s total defensive snaps last night, so it’s clear that he still needs time to get acclimated with his teammates and playbook. But to put up that kind of show on a reduced work load? WOWZA.
  • Roquan Smith was limited to just eight snaps in his NFL debut, but filled the stat sheet with three tackles, one sack, a tackle-for-loss, and QB hit. Just wait until Smith and Mack can handle a full game’s worth of snaps, then we’ll probably see a more complete effort out of the defense.
  • Mitch Trubisky getting off to a good start was a testament to solid game-planning and strong execution. Trubisky completed 8 of 9 passes for 99 yards in the first quarter. That comes out to a 112.5 passer rating, which is pretty darn good. Trubisky wrapped up the first half completing 11 of 14 passes for 109 yards and a 99.1 rating. The Bears used short passes to get playmakers in space and establish a rhythm, which is something last year’s game-planners never really did for Trubisky during his rookie season. It felt like Matt Nagy went conservative with Trubisky after the first two drives, though, and while it was a bit frustrating to watch, Trubisky’s decision-making and accuracy were decidedly not great. Maybe it was the right call.
  • I don’t vibe with this sentiment from Cris Collinsworth at all:

  • It’s a loss. It hurts. Losses are supposed to hurt. When losses hurt, that means you care. I know there is a segment of Bears fans who found it hard to care when Marc Trestman and John Fox were running the show, but this new era of Bears football has brought a lot of people back into the fold. I’d encourage you to stick around because it’s only going to go up from here.
  • In the end, the Sunday night match-up came down to quarterback play – as it so often does. And once again, the Bears were on the short-end of the stick. Aaron Rodgers isn’t just good, he’s ridiculously valuable. I’m not sure there is enough web space to fully capture and explain the drop-off from Rodgers to backup DeShone Kizer. Make no mistake, the Packers don’t win that game if Rodgers doesn’t come back. Rodgers has two 20-point comeback wins in the last four years, while all other NFL quarterbacks have two such wins combined in the same time span (CBS Sports).
  • The Bears kept blitzing Rodgers in the second half, but struggled to mount consistent pressure. And Rodgers kept picking them apart over the middle. It was uninspiring to say the least, but Rodgers has been great when pressured for as long as I can remember. Rodgers posted a 105.0 passer rating when pressured in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus. Blitzing Rodgers is one of those “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” things. And the Bears were simply left saying “damn” at the end of the day.
  • On the other end of the spectrum, Trubisky didn’t perform to his capabilities when they needed him the most. The second-half numbers for Trubisky aren’t pretty. A 57.1 percent completion rate, 62.2 passer rating, and two sacks (both in the fourth quarter) after halftime shows how much Trubisky has to grow for this whole thing to work.
  • I don’t want to re-watch this, but I’m doing it for the sake of this post:

  • It’s a minor miracle that Kyle Fuller didn’t get charged with a penalty for throwing the ball away like he did in the end. I don’t think anyone had a rougher night than the Virginia Tech product. He was beat in coverage on Geronimo Allison on the Packers’ first touchdown because Rodgers threw an absolutely perfect pass. Frankly, I’m not sure there’s a cornerback who could’ve done anything other than what Fuller did. Unfortunately, the worst sequence of the night came when he dropped what could have been a game-sealing interception, then watched as Randall Cobb score the game-winning touchdown two plays later.
  • I feel sick for Fuller, who I remember watching in training camp work on catching balls from the JUGS Machine. Fuller’s inability to catch a Rodgers pass wasn’t for a lack of trying, but he needs to continue to put in that work in order to fully become what he is capable of being.
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
  • And because I want to end on a high note, let’s talk about a guy who caught passes yesterday – Jordan Howard. In addition to gaining 82 yards on 15 carries (seriously, the Bears really should’ve gotten him the ball more), the Bears running back caught five passes for 25 yards. Seeing Howard gain 100+ scrimmage yards is encouraging, considering his past with slow starts. And seeing him catch that many passes was even better. It was something he had been working on over the offseason and something that’s absolutely critical for running backs in this era of the NFL.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.