It’s rather pointless to write these breakdowns every week. The Bears have a terrific defense and an abysmal offense. That’s what they’ve shown for two and a half months. That’s what they’ll show the next month and a half. Nevertheless, here are some thoughts heading into Thanksgiving.
Chicago Bears 23, Detroit Lions 16
Oh what a difference a year makes. After last year’s Thanksgiving game against Detroit, I wrote an article about how much fun the Bears were to watch, and encouraged fans to have fun too, regardless of what came next:
Being a sports fan often means you’re in store for a lot of heartbreak, so take a minute to savor it when things are going well.
Many words can describe the Bears’ 2019 season, but “fun” is definitely not one of them, and no one is savoring this season. Even wins like Sunday against the Giants aren’t really enjoyable. Go watch the post-game interviews with Nagy and Trubisky and you’ll see neither is particularly pleased, even though they got the W.
The main reason I haven’t written much about the team this year is because I’m not having much fun watching. It’s not just that they aren’t very good (they = the offense = mostly Trubisky). I’ve watched a ton of Bears football over the years, and many of those teams were way worse than what we’re seeing in 2019, but I still managed to find more joy than I have this season.
Part of that stems from the expectations we all had for the Bears. They were supposed to contend for a title this year, and instead they’re likely to finish below .500. But it’s not just that. Ever since London this season has become monotonous and disappointing. It’s like watching the same boring, predictable procedural every week.
A typical episode tends to go something like this:
The Bears come out and the offense is flat. The defense plays well. Maybe they bend a little, but they don’t break. The offense has chances, but the run game stalls and the offensive line can’t block. Trubisky misses wide open receivers, and when he does manage to actually hit them in stride they drop the ball. And so it goes….
Three and out
Three and out
Three and out.
The playoffs are almost certainly out of the picture, but the Chicago Bears still have a chance to at least make the 2019 season a respectable one.
And while disappointing, respectability matters.
One could argue the only real difference between the 2007 and 2014 Bears is the fact that one was able to remain respectable, no matter how frustrating the losses and how apparently bleak the quarterback situation looked. A year after a Super Bowl berth, the Bears managed to win their final two games – including a 35-7 win over NFC North Champion Green Bay – to finish 7-9. (The 2014 Bears embarrassed themselves on and off the field.)
The difference between those two seasons was just two games, but those two games can define perception and perception can determine if a coach keeps his job. If a GM gets another draft. If a quarterback gets to compete for his job. Those two games matter can be the difference between bad and respectable. The Bears have a chance to make the 2019 season at least respectable.
What shouldn’t be lost in this, of course, is the fact that the Bears don’t have a first round pick, so there really is no benefit to losing games. If they can finish .500 or better, however, they can argue they were at least close. They were a couple of missed field goals, a few bad interceptions or a blown assignment away from actually making the playoffs. And, if they can craft an argument that they were competitive and bordering on being a contender, they can possibly convince players to leave money on the table for a chance to compete for a Super Bowl. We saw that last year with Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
Travel day for me. (Buffalo rocks.) So here are some quick thoughts on a tedious, boring win over the Giants.
“The roni cup, also known as “cup and char” pepperoni, has long been a hallmark of pizza in Buffalo…”
by J. Hughes
While you’re watching Chicago play offense (I think),
I’ll be in Buffalo, at the Old Pink.
While the quarterbacks (plural) are doing their thing
I’ll be in Buffalo, having a wing.
You’ll get to see defense, Chicago does that,
But I’ll be in Buffalo, drinkin’ Labatt.
Maybe you’ll watch from your fav-o-rite bar?
I’ll be in Buffalo, for the cup and the char.
What happens from here, not sure anyone cares.
The title won’t be ours, it will always be theirs.
I’ll still be in Buffalo,
Yes even in Buffalo,
I’ll be in Buffalo, watching the Bears.
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and if they don’t win this game Sunday, they could lose the remaining games on their schedule. They won’t be a bigger favorite the rest of the season. (And the line was set at 6.5 without a quarterback announcement. This means Vegas – who are quite good at this – see no difference between Trubisky and Daniel.)
I. No Interest in Rebuilding (And No Need)
It’s very easy to get down on an organization when they fail to meet lofty expectations. And expectations could not have been loftier in 2019. (Believe me, I know.)
But fans, and to a lesser extent the media, have to understand the present circumstances. The Bears are playing zero offense not because they lack talent on their roster but because their quarterback can’t play. He can’t run the system. The Bears have essentially sacrificed 2019 for the sake of “developing” their young QB because what other option did they have? The whole of the offensive structure was built around Trubisky. And he failed to deliver.
Allen Robinson can play. Tarik Cohen can play. David Montgomery can play. This offensive line can block this system. Put a veteran quarterback in this lineup and the offense will at least run. Open receivers will be hit. Correct protections will be called. Combine that with a top ten defense and the 2020 Bears are looking at a ten-win season.
II. 4th in Points Allowed With Limited Mack Production
The Bears are one of the best defenses in the league. And that is happening with opponents essentially neutralizing Khalil Mack, their best defender. (They will certainly be looking to add an edge opposite Mack this off-season, as Leonard Floyd has become far more productive as a cover man than a quarterback harasser.) When the Bears start scoring more points, their opponents will be forced into more must-throw scenarios and that is when a player like Mack thrives.
And while the popular belief is Akiem Hicks may never be at full strength again, I’m hearing the Bears expect a full recovery in 2020. Hicks is the team’s second most-feared defender and pass rusher. His absence has made scheming Mack to death possible.
As the Chicago Bears once again prepare to dive into the market for a quarterback, the list of players who are going to be available is becoming clear. Which direction the Bears go depends on what, exactly, they are looking to find.
If the Bears are looking for a clear-cut new starter, there should be several options.
If they’re merely looking for competition, there are some good options there too.
If they’re looking for a new franchise-type quarterback, that’s unlikely. But last week may have opened an option there too.
Here is a quick look:
When Ian Rapoport goes on TV and specifically mentions the Bears as a team Cam Newton would be interested in, there’s a reason for it.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 10, 2019