You will hear it across Chicago today: “…but the Niners suck.” And there’s no denying that fact. The Niners do, in fact, suck. They are probably the league’s worst team. (I don’t consider Cleveland a team.) But good teams beat sucky teams convincingly. Good teams play meaningless fourth quarters against sucky teams. And the Bears, with their third or fourth-string quarterback, looked an awful lot like a good team yesterday.
- I’ve been using #barkleytime as something of a joke but, you know, I’m starting to think it might not be. As impressive as Barkley was against the Titans a week ago, he was ten times more impressive in the conditions at Soldier Field yesterday. And if het got a little more help from his receivers, he might have been staring down a gaudy stat line. Nevertheless, a near-100 quarterback rating in the slush when the opposing quarterbacks looked like Abbot & Costello Meet the Snow, is exemplary. (More on Barkley coming later today/tomorrow.)
- I can’t remember seeing a two-win team play with the emotion the Bears played with yesterday. Defensively, offensively, everything. They were fired up from the opening whistle. Seeing that makes me want to slap all the “they should lose” people across their faces.
- Jordan Howard. That is all. No, that’s not all. His five-yard touchdown run may be my favorite play of the season. The Niners weren’t keeping him out of the end zone with 18 defenders.
- Say this about Josh Bellamy: he gets open! And I give the Bears coaching staff/QB credit for sticking with him after the second big drop. I would have sat him on the bench and left him there. They didn’t and they were handsomely rewarded for it.
- Noah Spence is having a terrific year in Tampa and Joey Bosa is terrific but Leonard Floyd may now be the front-runner (as predicted here) for defensive rookie of the year. If Floyd can get his sack total into double digits, I’m not sure they can keep the award away from him.
- Marquess Wilson. Again. I’m making a new rule. I’m not writing a word about Wilson until he plays two consecutive games, start to finish. Until then there’s no point.
- Eddie Goldman and Akiem Hicks, especially in tandem, are lethal. The Bears need to add a third powerhouse to that defensive line this offseason.
- Nick Kwiatkoski got a workout yesterday but certainly proved he can play in this league. Bears are set at inside linebacker in 2017.
- A little concerning that Jonathan Bullard was a healthy scratch yesterday. Bears need to be evaluating players but like Bullard but this is a clear sign Fox and Fangio don’t believe he’s picking up the game quickly enough.
- Doesn’t sound like the Cody Whitehair injury is serious. But man, did it look serious.
- Connor Barth going four-for-four in those conditions is a good sign.
- Pat O’Donnell has to be the worst short-punter in the game. Does he ever NOT put the ball in the end zone? Aim for the ten, Pat. Hopefully you’ll get a fair catch out of it.
- Last point. Everybody needs to stop ripping Dowell Loggains. The Bears offensive coordinator is NOT an issue for this team. Yesterday he called as good a game as you will ever see in conditions like those. His play-calling was varied and surprising. His balance was pitch perfect. And his recognition, at the end of the first half, that Barkley was capable of throwing it through the mush, won the Bears the ballgame going away.
From Adam Jahns’ column:
“It does feel good,” coach John Fox said. “Hats off to those guys in the locker room. A lot of the young guys had to answer the bell, and they’ve done an outstanding job.”