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Week 11: Vikings at Bears Game Preview: Volume One

| November 14th, 2018

I’m traveling on the continent this week so my content will be abbreviated. 


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and I better like them because the game won’t kick-off in Paris until 2:30 AM. And I will be watching.


Why The Bears Will Win

  • The Bears are averaging 34.33 points over their last six games. Now, put your phone down or step away from the computer for a second. Take a breath. And read that sentence again. Yep, the Chicago f’n Bears are a point-scoring juggernaut since Week 4. Hard to imagine this group not scoring a bunch of points, no matter the opponent.
  • Bullies at Home. Bears have played five times at Soldier Field and only lost to Tom Brady’s Patriots. (And even with a one-legged Khalil Mack and two special teams scores, the Bears found themselves a yard from overtime.) Their average margin of victory at home has been 17.75 points, with only the Seahawks finishing within one score after a garbage time touchdown. These are dominant home statistics. And great teams dominate at home.
  • Khalil Mack. When a team gives up two first-round selections for a player, as the Bears did for Mack, expectations rise in the big moments. And nothing the star pass rusher has done this season has curbed those expectations. Minnesota is a team that fumbles the football (8 on the season) and Mack’s ability to get the football on the ground is rare. The only player of Mack’s pedigree the Vikings have faced is Aaron Donald – and they had no answers for Donald. Will they have answers for Mack? Are there any answers for Mack?

Why They Won’t

  • This is the biggest game Mitch Trubisky has ever played. This is the biggest game Matt Nagy has ever coached. And just about the entirety of the other sideline is seasoned. Chicago’s coach and quarterback may respond brilliantly to the intensity and pressure of the moment but that is a complete uncertainty at this point. The moment won’t get to Mike Zimmer’s Vikings. They’ve played far bigger games.

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Money Mitch Took A Big Step.

| November 13th, 2018

Facing a third-and-four, the Bears young quarterback had nowhere to go.

Consecutive touchdown drives and a day full of special teams mistakes put the Bears in a curious position with just about six minutes to go.

If they don’t get the first down, the Lions get the ball back with about five minutes left in the game – plenty of time for Matthew Stafford to orchestrate two touchdown drives.

Detroit rushed four and had former first round pick Jarrad Davis spying Money Mitch. He didn’t have anywhere to go.

Then he made something happen.

Trubisky tucked the ball and moved slightly to his left, just enough to make Davis move. Once Davis reacted, Trubisky jetted off to his right into a open space. He picked up the first down then slid for a gain of eight.

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Bears Whack Lions, Move to 6-3

| November 12th, 2018

AP Photo (Edited) / Nam Y. Huh


It felt way closer than it ever was, this Bears v. Lions game. And there was one reason for that. Rapid fire is coming!

  • Cody Parkey doinking four kicks – two field goals and two extra points – was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen in football. And while it is somewhat funny in a game the Bears dominated, the team must know there is ZERO chance Parkey can make a big kick in a big spot down the stretch. Didn’t cost them Sunday. It will cost them down the road.

  • Tweet above should be alarming to fans. The Bears should have kickers in this week. Nagy doesn’t do anybody on this roster any favors with blind loyalty. Parkey has been terrible. Why would you not look to improve the position?
  • Mitch Trubisky spent the week hearing he wasn’t the answer at quarterback. Then he delivered a masterpiece. What’s the criticism going to be now? It’s only the Lions? The same Lions that held Tom Brady to 133 yards? Trubisky’s numbers don’t lie. He’s going to be a top quarterback.
  • Anthony Miller has to know you can’t swat the football out of bounds. Oh, and he’s gonna be really good.

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DaBearsPod (11/9/18): The Great Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press [AUDIO]

| November 9th, 2018

On this episode of DaBearsPod:

  • (0:17) Jeff encourages Bears fans to “wake the fuck up” and realize how a Mike Lombardi operates. Also, you know, enjoy all this!!
  • (5:35) Dave Burkett of the Detroit Free Press on his posture requirements from Matt Patricia, where Lions currently stand in their “rebuild” process & much more.
  • (19:04) Reverend Dave on dodging bricks in Serbia.

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Week 10: Lions at Bears Game Preview

| November 8th, 2018

Detroit has for years been a difficult team to root against. They’ve sort of been lovable losers. But then…they hired…this prick.


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and it’s time for this team to play like they are top of the NFC North table. That means burying the Lions at home. Thanksgiving, in their building, is always a difficult game. This is at Soldier Field, with Detroit coming off two miserable performances. Good teams don’t lose this game. Hell, mediocre teams don’t lose this game either.


The Game Sonnet

In football exists a team called ‘da Bears

Who play beside the greatest of great lakes

Those who do not love them are hapless squares

Mindless joy killers in sea of flakes

Their quarterback is a vigorous stag

Born in an Ohio town called Mentor

He’s more than half human and no part nag

But he plays with the zeal of a centaur

Cometh the Lions to challenge these Bears

Their ill-bearded, unkempt leader in tow

Sweet, sweet victory will never be theirs

One must wonder how it is they don’t know

Oh! To be a fan of the pride and joy

Serving with grace the folk of Illinois


Why the Bears Will Win…

  • When Dave Birkett of the Free-Press can write a paragraph like this, you know things are not going well: “Of the Vikings’ 10 sacks Sunday, I’d attribute five of them to poor play on the offensive line. Two of the remaining five sacks were coverage sacks, an eighth was due to a mix-up by a Lions wide receiver, the ninth came on a cornerback blitz when Matthew Stafford or someone on the offensive line didn’t set the protection right, and the last sack was a result of Stafford simply not pulling the trigger when he had someone who appeared to be open downfield.” (Read the whole piece, breaking down each sack, by CLICKING HERE.) Needless to say, if there was a game ripe for Khalil Mack’s return, this is it. And Mack…is back.

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Grades for the NFC North’s Best Team at the Halfway Point

| November 7th, 2018

The Bears are 5-3. They lead the NFC North at the halfway point. Let’s take stock of how the units have performed through eight games.


Offense

Blurb: The Bears have a real, professional, exciting offense and a play-caller getting more comfortable each and every week. That they’re scoring the way they are while bringing along *essentially* a rookie quarterback is the most impressive thing about this unit.

Key Stat: Jordan Howard is averaging only 3.5 yards per carry, a significant drop from the previous two seasons. But the Bears are 7th in rushing yards per game, primarily due to Mitch Trubisky.

Grade: The Bears are still leaving big plays out there because of a young, developing quarterback. But the overall numbers are good and the arrow is now pointing decidedly up. B


Defense

Blurb: The Bears defense has played two poor games and it’s not coincidence that both of those games featured Khalil Mack on the field, on one leg. When the team has either (a) had Mack at full strength or (b) prepared to play without him, they’ve been the league’s best defense. Mack was the MVP of September. Bryce Callahan has been the breakout star. Kyle Fuller has been the unit’s best player for the duration.

Key Stat: Bears rush defense is allowing 3.7 yards per carry (5th), 84.9 yards per game (3rd), have allowed just 1 rushing touchdown (1st) and recovered 5 fumbles in the run game (1st).

Grade: I’ll give them a mulligan for Edith Wharton’s The Osweiler Affair. They’re dominant against the run. They turn opponents over. They score. They’re a great unit. A


Special Teams

Blurb: They had a nightmare against the New England Patriots, allowing two touchdowns, and Cody Parkey missed his biggest kick of the season against Miami. Pat O’Donnell is inconsistent in the punt game but Tarik Cohen is absolutely electric in the punt return game.

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Bears Have Put Themselves in the Fight. Now They Have to Win it.

| November 6th, 2018

By opening the season at 5-3, the Bears have put themselves in the fight. While they couldn’t win the NFC North in the first half of the season, they managed to put themselves in position to win the division or, at the very least, make the playoffs. They are in the fight. Now they have to win it.

At five wins and three losses, the Bears have the same record through eight games they had in 2013, the last time they were relevant in the NFC North race. We all remember how that season ended. The Bears went 0-3 against NFC North foes — including an overtime loss to a five-win Vikings team — in their last eight games. A win in any of them would have won the division. The Bears haven’t been competitive in the NFC North since.

The 2018 Bears have five divisional games in their final eight, including each of the next three. They’re sitting at the top of the division now and need to win at least two of the next three to stay in that race. It’s impossible to say what will happen but there’s no reason to think the Bears can’t stay in this thing until the end.

Because while it wasn’t flashy, we really shouldn’t undersell what the Bears did to the New York Jets and Buffalo Bills. Those are bad teams, sure, but outscoring them 65-19 without Khalil Mack or Allen Robinson is, well, interesting.

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Bears Take Care of Business, Throttle Undermanned Bills

| November 5th, 2018

Strange game. From the moment Eddie Jackson returned a Roquan Smith-forced fumble for a touchdown with 7:07 remaining in the first half, the entire building knew the game was over. Here are six specific, in-building thoughts from Bears 41, Bills 9.


(1) That was one of the loudest stadiums I’ve ever heard to start the game. The crowd noise was absolutely deafening when the Bears had the ball for the first quarter plus. The false starts upfront were completely understandable. Offensive line miscommunication should have been expected. (I could barely hear a friend two seats away from me.) There is no chance a Soldier Field crowd, with the team at 2-6 and starting a dead weight quarterback, would be anywhere near that enthused at kickoff. Impressive showing from Bills fans, in and around the ballpark.


(2) Good to see Jordan Howard running with some anger. Again, don’t look at the overall numbers. They’re mostly meaningless in a game like this. But Matt Nagy is finally starting to understand how to use Howard, especially down in the red zone. The Andy Reid offense like to throw to score. The Bears are built to ride Howard into the end zone.


(3) Two defenders stood out to me: Roquan Smith and Eddie Jackson. Smith is going to be a star in the league for a long, long time but that is expected from a top draft pick. Jackson is an incredible player. He closes on the football as good as any Bears safety since Mike Brown. He’s the rare back end guy comfortable with the football in the air and tackling in the open field. He’s got great, natural instincts.


(4) The Bears were clearly uncomfortable with the amount of running Mitch Trubisky did against the Jets last week because there were times Sunday Trubisky had acres of space in front of him. If this WAS a coaching decision, I applaud it. Trubisky knows he can run. That’ll be there as long as his legs are. But this season has to be more about processing information, stepping into the pocket and delivering the football. And in a game like Sunday’s there’s no reason for the young quarterback to take any unnecessary punishment.

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