Roquan Delivers, Cairo in the Clutch, Patience and Perseverance, and Other Bears Bullets

Today’s Bullets are being fueled by the delightful brownie sundae I had at Margie’s Candies last night. Because, sometimes, you need a good Sunday sundae to really put the Bears into the right perspective.

  • That Monday morning pick-me-up I needed:
  • Bears Victory Monday hits different.
  • Winning it in the NFL is incredibly difficult. The Bears did it yesterday, moving their record to 2-1. That’s good. In doing so, Chicago’s football team pulled itself off the mat and rebounded after last week’s sobering loss in Green Bay. Again, that is a positive sign. I’m not sure if the 2020 or 2021 Bears win that type of game, as we saw those teams spiral at times when things began going a little sideways. We really shouldn’t overlook power of perseverance and mental toughness (even if it comes off as cliché).
  • It’s an all too familiar feeling to watch the Bears win while their quarterback is playing like absolute slop. Patrick did a wonderful job diving into everything that went wrong with Fields on Sunday. So if you want to dive deep, I’d encourage you to read this.
  • Justin Fields said it himself when he said “I played like trash.” His words, not mine. There were some real steps backward on display on Sunday. Questionable decision-making. Wobbly passes. An inability to hit open receivers. At the risk of being unpopular, I’d like to see Fields take a page from Matt Nagy’s book and throw with conviction (as the former Bears head coach would say). Ultimately, we should still be patient. But there are real areas of concern that we shouldn’t ignore.
  • I don’t want to get too into the weeds when it comes to Fields’ struggles in Bullets. We’ll dive into that stuff throughout the week. But some good perspective in evaluating the situation in the immediate aftermath of the game include things written by Chris Emma (Marquee) and Jon Greenberg (The Athletic).
  • All that to say this: Yes, you can enjoy the win. And part of me believes you should. There hasn’t been much winning around here in recent years, so you should take the good times when they present themselves. But just know that we have a long road ahead of us this season — and not just in terms of there being 14 games left in the year.
  • How about that running game!?
  • Luke Getsy’s offense leaves much to be desired through three games. But give credit where it is due, Getsy’s rushing concepts have been great to this point. It doesn’t matter who is running the ball (Monty, Herbert, even Tristan Ebner picked up some yards!) for the Bears, they are gaining yards and moving the chains. You can’t be mad at that.
  • And yet, you have full autonomy to roast Getsy’s passing concepts to your hearts content. The passing game has been a tremendous disappointment to this point of the year. It’s just three games, but it has also been three games that hasn’t given us much to hitch our wagons to moving forward. Receivers aren’t getting open. That is a problem. But Fields isn’t doing anything right in the pocket right now. And he isn’t throwing receivers open, which is odd because he has the talent to do so. The pass-blocking hasn’t been consistently good, even if ESPN’s pass block win rate metric raves about their contributions through three games. There is so much work to be done here. And in so many facets.
  • OK, but seriously. I’m going to need ESPN to show its work when it comes to these pass-block win-rate numbers:
  • We can debate the pass-blocking metrics ’til we’re blue in the face. But I’d rather not do so, because I don’t want to turn blue in the face. What can’t be questioned is the Bears’ run-blocking prowess. Khalil Herbert and David Montgomery (who will hopefully be healthy soon) get the highlights. But as Cam Ellis (670 The Score) writes, that run-blocking has been something else. From the article:
  • For all the unknowns surrounding the Bears’ offensive identity through the first month of the season, run-blocking isn’t one of them. There are plenty of question marks about their pass protection – something Borom openly admitted after the line allowed five sacks Sunday – but their approach and attitude on the ground can’t be questioned or even criticized right now. Through their first three games, the Bears have 560 rushing yards. At the end of the early afternoon games Sunday, the Bears ranked second in the NFL with 186.7 rushing yards per game. Their run block win rate, which had been sitting as 16th-best, is probably primed to enter the top 10 after Chicago averaged 7.0 yards per carry during its 40-rush, 281-yard afternoon against Houston.

  • If the math doesn’t have the Bears as a top-10 run-blocking unit, we riot. Sorry. I don’t make the rules.
  • How about some love for Cairo Santos?
  • Cairo Santos has hit all 7 kicks (3 PATs, 4 FGs) in his last two games. And that brings his success rate since re-joining the Bears in 2020 to 90.9% (field goals) and 94.4% (PATs). Santos has been a revelation since his return to Chicago. It’s almost as if the huffing and puffing that came from some areas after his signing an extension to stay with the Bears might’ve been misplaced. Is it a luxury to have a good kicker on a rebuilding team? Sure. I can see where you’re coming from with that angle. But having a sure-footed kicker you can rely on is great for team morale — especially when said kicker saves the offense from empty drives with accurate kicks.
  • Of course, it doesn’t happen without Roquan Smith:
  • As Josh Schrock (NBCS Chicago) points out, Smith’s excellence sent a message. And then he said it with words: “I think it’s a message to myself, just telling me what I always tell myself – I’m the best in it.” Confidence is king.
  • The key to success is getting Eddie Jackson involved in the other team’s offense. Because when Jackson is catching passes from opposing quarterbacks, it is translating to wins:
  • Hot take alert: The Bears-Texans game was far more interesting and entertaining than the Broncos-Niners game. Whatever that mess was last night better not be something that ever sees a primetime slot in the future.
  • Justice for Dan Orlovsky!
  • Looking ahead. Is it mildly annoying that the Bears are underdogs again? Yes. DraftKings Sports Book installed the Giants as 2.5-point favorites against the Bears. But it isn’t unsurprising. The Giants are 2-0 entering their Monday Night Football matchup against the Cowboys and could be 3-0 by the time the dust settles. And New York will be playing a home game in New Jersey (and you thought the Arlington Heights Bears were gonna be a trip!), which gives them a bit of an edge. But I like that the Bears are underdogs. I’m into it. And I think the team is, too. Admittedly, this is all anecdotal to me, but I feel as if the Bears have always played better when the expectations aren’t there. It’s as if they take it as personally as The Last Dance Michael Jordan meme. Hey, whatever floats your boat and gets you into the win column!
  • An old friend makes his debut with a new team tonight:
  • Speaking of old friends, Allen Robinson’s slow start continues:
  • Are we at a point where the pendulum is swinging back to the defense? I’m not ready to be a full-go on that tip, but there is some anecdotal evidence suggesting that defenses are making a climb. Over/under totals from a wagering standpoint seem to be getting more “unders” than “overs” in the early going. And as a friend and I were discussing, fantasy point scoring hasn’t met some of the lofty point projections. Could be some kinks to work through. Or perhaps these are data points we should continue monitoring to see how they trend. At minimum, I feel as if we are starting to see defenses displaying counterpunches that we should be aware of as we assess what’s what in the NFL.
  • The Bulls are back:
  • WHOA:
  • OK, but what if they aren’t joking?
  • Something to keep an eye on as the Blackhawks gear up for hockey season:
  • written by

    Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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