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.
(5) Paid close attention to Leonard Floyd throughout the game. The speed is there. The burst off the line is there. He was dynamic yesterday in run support. Hell, he even scored a touchdown! But he’s simply doing nothing in the pass rush department. And it doesn’t really make sense for a player of his ability. My guess would be he’s too reliant on the speed rush approach and opponents know that and are content simply pushing him up the field. But this is probably more a confidence issue than an ability one. And Bears fans should hope Sunday – Floyd’s best game of the season by a wide margin – provides that confidence.
(6) Nagy has to handle a blowout better than this. And it’s not just about protecting the health of an Akiem Hicks or Taylor Gabriel – two of the team’s most essential players. It’s also about utilizing the situation to get guys on the field. Why didn’t Chase Daniel get out there for the fourth quarter? Why not throw a few balls to Javon Wims? Also, Matt, the Bills were ready to go home in the third quarter. Run the ball. Run the clock. End the damn game.
Still, your weekly reminder…