I had so many feelings going into the Bears’ Thanksgiving matchup against the Detroit Lions yesterday, but I was mostly keeping my eye on the long term playoff implications.
Indeed, after beating the Lions and Vikings in back-to-back contests, the Bears playoff odds were absolutely soaring up near the 90% mark and that had me feeling GREAT (more on this later). But my high came crashing down when Mitch Trubisky’s name popped up on the injury report and the chance of a Chase Daniel start became ever more likely. I didn’t have anything against Daniel, obviously – in terms of a backup QB he’s perfectly fine – but Trubisky had been leading this team gloriously and I didn’t want anything to slow the momentum.
Worse even, after being flexed into prime time on Sunday night, the Bears were operating under a SUPER short week, were heading out on the road, and playing a divisional rival they faced literally 11 days earlier. Backup quarterback or not, that’s not a great hand. Sure, the Lions aren’t very good this season and Daniel is supposed to be intimately familiar with this offense thanks to his previous experience in Kansas City, but to say this was anybody’s first choice would miss the mark by a magnificent mile.
But, hey, the dude was hungry and that was obvious before the game even started.
Chase Daniel was a little too excited yesterday …😅
But he showed up. pic.twitter.com/lxjgeOKMCf
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) November 23, 2018
Think he was excited to get on the field?
Well, like I said, Daniel wasn’t Trubisky out there in Detroit, but he got the Bears a much-needed win at a critical point in their very competitive season against an NFC North rival. And it was even fun to watch! Just check out some of the highlights from yesterday’s game:
— NFL (@NFL) November 23, 2018
Daniel did everything you would have hoped the backup could do, completing 72.8 percent of his passes, posting a 106.8 passer rating, and throwing two touchdowns en route to a W. That is what competent backup quarterback play is supposed to look like. Indeed, if only for a moment, Daniel made me forget about the likes of Caleb Hanie, Jonathan Quinn, Todd Collins, Jimmy Cluasen, and others.
And, yo, 37 pass attempts is a ton for a guy making his first start since 2014. Perhaps you thought that was too much for someone like Daniel, but it’s hard to push hard against the decision when Bears running backs carried the ball just 11 times for 34 yards yesterday. That’s only 3.1 yards per carry! In an ideal world, they would have deployed a more balanced attack, but games aren’t played in a vacuum. Head Coach Matt Nagy called a game that gave his team its best chance to win and that’s just what they did.
Now let’s take a look at all those passes:
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) November 23, 2018
Whether he needs to throw left more or not, that was one hell of a game from Chase Daniel. And as we pointed out, he finished with a 106.8 passer rating, which, if you can believe it, is a better mark than all but three Bears quarterback who’ve attempted at least 37 passes in a game – including Mitch Trubisky (who’s thrice beaten the rating, but always with fewer attempts) – since 1999!
- Brian Hoyer 10/9/16 (@Colts): 33/43, 397 yards, 2 TD, 120 rating
- Jay Cutler 10/12/14 (@Falcons) 26/38 381 yards 1 TD, 109.6 rating
- Jim Miller 11/14/99 (vs. Vikings) 34/48, 422 yards, 3 TD, 1 INT, 109.9 rating
It’s rare folks. Quite rare.
There won’t be any calls for Daniel to replace Trubisky any time soon, but let’s give credit where it’s due. Chase Daniel stepped up in the starter’s absence, used his deep knowledge of this offense to put on quite a show, and brought yet another win to the seemingly playoff-bound Bears when they needed it most. I hope very much to never see him on the field again, but I am very grateful for that performance and happy to know the Bears have a competent backup behind Mitch Trubisky. Well done, man. Well done.