With Mitch Trubisky listed on the injury report as a limited participant in practice, we’re almost certainly going to be given another episode of the Chase Daniel experience this Sunday. And while that would have troubled us earlier in the season, Daniel has looked like a competent quarterback in the two occasions in which he has been given an extended opportunity to sling it.
OK, so we really don’t want to count Daniel’s preseason performance against the Kansas City Chiefs … but how can we not? It’s a different beast than you might expect. Daniel carved up Kansas City’s *first-team* defense and gave us a glimpse at what the Chicago Bears offense is supposed to look like when the quarterback has complete knowledge and command out on the field. And while a low bar was set for his start against the Detroit Lions in Week 12, Daniel played well by every metric you could possibly unearth.
With that said, it’s understandable if Bears fans are still a bit uneasy about Daniel getting a second consecutive start. He’s not Mitch Trubisky. I’m with you, guys and gals. Maybe some video will help ease our concerns.
This completion from Daniel to Allen Robinson makes it look like these two have been on the same page all year:
— NFL Tweets Live (@NFL_Tweets_Live) November 22, 2018
This 29-yard pass to Robinson was the longest completion for Daniel and it featured everything you’d want out of any quarterback. Daniel shows off solid mechanics with a clean drop-back, foot planting, quick throwing motion, and finishes with a completion on a 3rd-and-13 play that put the Bears in Lions territory. That simple completion should be shown to Trubisky as an example of what that particular play is supposed to look like because that was a teachable moment.
The big takeaway from this pass was that the Bears didn’t have any limitations for the offense because Daniel was in under center. They didn’t try to take the air out of the ball or run it for the sake of doing so. Instead, the Bears played their game and thrived. It takes real gumption to do that and skills to be able to pull it off. Now, it’s up to the Bears to do it again.
New QB, Same Anticipatory Throws
On the Bears’ first scoring drive, Daniel missed an open Tarik Cohen deep down the right sideline on a drive in which the team settled for a field goal. You hate to settle for field goals, but you’ll take them. But what you really hate is when a clear opportunity to score touchdowns slips out of your team’s grasp. Redemption would come later for Daniel and Cohen.
Fast forward to the 13:46 mark of the fourth quarter. The Bears are trailing 13-9 in the fourth quarter and Daniel has the offense marching deep in the red zone, where there would be no settling for a field goal:
The only thing nicer than the pass from Daniel was the route run by Cohen. That is an absolute perfect design and execution of an unstoppable wheel route. Poor Nevin Lawson never had a chance. And I can’t get over that throw because it’s the type of anticipatory throw we hope Trubisky can make with more consistency as he refines his skills.
It Wasn’t Always Pretty
I’m almost mad that Head Coach Matt Nagy wasted this play on Chase Daniel because it should’ve gone for more than eight yards:
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) November 22, 2018
LOOK AT ALL THAT OPEN SPACE. AND THERE ARE BLOCKERS AHEAD, TOO. AHHHH!
OK, I think I can get over it. Look, that play was awesome. Great design and execution, but that’s one that should’ve gone for 30+ yards. The Bears had a numbers advantage on that side of the field and could have used a more athletic quarterback with better ball-carrier vision than Daniel in that specific instance. Luckily, the Lions did a Lionsy thing and committed a penalty that added 15 yards to the end of the run. Thanks for always being yourself, Lions.
This was less than ideal:
James Daniels RUNS INTO his own QB Chase Daniels causing a sack 😂 pic.twitter.com/wnMiPNBdyd
— VERSACEBOYENT (@versaceboyent2) November 22, 2018
Stuff happens sometimes and things get sticky in the pocket. I’m just glad James Daniels sacking Chase Daniel didn’t result in a turnover because that would have been flat-out embarrassing.
Nevertheless, the Bears persevered through that moment of adversity to go on and win the game. In fact, Daniels (the offensive lineman) continues to play well at left guard gives me hope that Daniel (the quarterback) will have enough time to get off some quality throws on Sunday. If it happens, the Bears will likely be will positioned to improve to 9-3 and come that much closer to clinching a postseason berth.