This flag hangs at Reardon’s, a DBB Top 100 bar, outside of Limerick, Ireland.
There once was a man called Trubisky.
Believing in him had proved risky.
Then the Lions were tamed,
and the Cowboys were maimed,
by a quarterback now looking frisky.
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and I think they have something cooking right now.
The Chiefs, Eagles and Bears don’t run the exact same offense. But all three take a similar approach to playing offensive football. They use the pass to open up the run. (Historically, this has been the most consistent criticism of the Andy Reid style, dating back to his early Eagles days.) They want athletic offensive linemen that can move well in space. (Screens are everything.) They value speed over all things on the outside. And perhaps most importantly, they rely on major production from the tight end position.
Travis Kelce, the Chiefs All-Pro tight end, has been targeted 109 times this season. He has 75 catches for nearly 1,000 yards. Without Kelce, the Chiefs offense simply doesn’t work.
Philadelphia’s tight end combination of Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert have more than 150 targets. And with the club’s inability to field a healthy receiving corps, these two have come to be the bulk of the their passing attack. Monday night, with their season on the line, Ertz was the best player on the field, catching touchdown passes to both tie and beat the New York Giants.
The Bears paid Trey Burton a bunch of money and drafted Adam Shaheen in the second round. In 2019, the two have combined for 37 total targets. Not catches. Targets. Are there multiple factors to the pair’s lack of production? Sure. But there are two primary ones.
Burton never plays.
Shaheen never plays well.
The Chicago Bears will go only as far as Mitch Trubisky takes them, but they need the offensive line to hold up so they can see exactly what the quarterback can do.
The line play has ranged from awful to mediocre until the last two games when we’ve seen holes opening up. It certainly appears that the unit is beginning to come together, which will be important for both the immediate and longterm future of the club.
Trubisky earned all the headlines after his dynamic performance against Dallas, but lost in the shuffle was the dominant performance by the offensive line. They didn’t just get the better of one of the best defensive lines in the league. They bullied them in what was unquestionably the best performance the Bears blockers have had all year — and maybe in several seasons.
That was the second straight game in which the Bears controlled the line of scrimmage. Trubisky was hurried just six times and hit once on Thanksgiving, according to Pro-Football-Reference, as the Bears also gave their runners 40 yards before contact on 23 attempts. Compare that to a week earlier when Bears rushers had just 25 yards before contact on 26 attempts. (The advanced data for the Cowboys game won’t be available until Wednesday.)
The difference was seen in Trubisky too. While he wasn’t pressured that much against the Giants, it was enough to throw him off as he had 10 of what PFR deems to be bad throws, compared to just four against Detroit and four against Dallas.
The Green Bay Packers know how much pressure impacts Trubisky and they blitzed him 17 times in Week One. They got home a fair amount, sacking him five times, hitting him five more, and hurrying him seven times.
Trubisky was bad that game, but he didn’t have much of a chance to be good.
After the ugly, hard-to-watch victory over the putrid New York Giants, Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago Bears started a new season, a new play. It’s gone a little something like this.
After a slow start on both sides of the balls – Kenny Golladay is still wide open – the Bears reinvigorated their fans and their season with a brilliant comeback, all of it on the broad shoulders of their much-maligned quarterback. Still, it was the Lions. Just the Lions. And no one anywhere near this franchise was ready to overreact.
The Cowboys were meant to be a step up in class, a championship contender suffering through a disappointing string of results. (Sound familiar?) But at Soldier Field on Thursday night, the Bears delivered their best performance of the 2019 season and the quarterback reminded everyone of his limitless potential.
Now the stage is set for the final act of this in-season play. If Mitch Trubisky and these Bears can deliver another inspired performance and beat their oldest rivals in their building, they will change the narrative of this entire campaign. Yes, not being in the tournament will be a colossal disappointment for a team with such high expectations. But that disappointment will be assuaged by getting the record to .500 or better; assuaged by finishing the season with a winning record in the NFC North; assuaged by the quarterback potentially “finding it” down the stretch.
This was a dreary, boring season. But the last two weeks have been thrilling. Now the Bears have an opportunity to complete this somewhat-redemptive tale, building confidence in the locker room and among the fans. No one will be content with 2019, no matter the result at Lambeau Field. But many will find reason to believe for 2020 should the Bears beat the Packers.
It’s Packer Week.
Mitch Trubisky was the Black Knight.
With his arms cut from his body, he turned to a Pythonian King Arthur and declared it “just a flesh wound”. We, the fans and media alike, reacted like Arthur does moments later in the immortal Holy Grail: “You’re a loony”.
But is it possible we’re the loonies?
Trubisky’s performances against the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys do not, by any means, cement his status as the Chicago Bears starting quarterback in 2020. The tape don’t lie and too often this season Trubisky has looked the part of a back-up. Uncomfortable in the pocket. Unable to read defenses or get the line into the right protection. Unwilling to get easy yards with his legs. Unbelievably inaccurate.
But since the whistle blew to start the second half against the New York Giants, he’s quite simply been a different player. Yes there are still accuracy issues and yes there are still decisions that leave us scratching our heads. But most quarterbacks in this league have those moments. What Mitch hadn’t been doing was compensating for those moments with production. With first downs. With great throws. With touchdowns. With wins.
Now he is. And the mistakes are far more forgivable in Club Dub.
Last night, against the Dallas Cowboys, Matt Nagy called his best game as Chicago Bears head coach.
Last night, even with a few wonky moments, Mitch Trubisky looked like the future at quarterback for the Chicago Bears.
Last night, with another starter heading to the locker room and new faces all over the place, the defense of the Chicago Bears looked like the group everyone expected to make them title contenders this season.
And David Montgomery.
And Anthony Miller.
And Cordarrelle Patterson.
And Holtz and Horsted and Mack and Fuller and…
…can’t we go back and start this 2019 campaign over again?
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and it would be a big moment for this coach and his program to get this season over .500. I think he does it.
I saw Rick Pearson
at the Billy Goat Tavern.
That’s all I recall.
#Cowboys ST ranks through Week 13:
27th in PR average
29th in FG %
32nd in KR average
32nd in Gross Punt average
32nd in Net Punt average
T-32nd in Kicks Blocked (offense)
T-32nd in Return TDs
T-32nd in Blocked Kicks (defense)
— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) November 30, 2019