Notes on the game to follow.
Yesterday began a series of joint practices with the Miami Dolphins that will culminate in the preseason opener Saturday. Weather delayed the day. Quick thoughts.
I really like the way Justin Fields is getting the ball out there. He appears to be the real deal.
— David Furones (@DavidFurones_) August 11, 2021
Nobody who has physically watched the Bears practice this summer has come away with any other opinion. It is a matter of time, and that matter of time should be around four days.
First joint practice between the Bears-Dolphins has concluded. I spent it watching the Dolphins offense vs. the Bears defense. We’ll have plenty of takeaways up later but two main things here:
1. Khalil Mack is a game-wrecker.
2. WR Mack Hollins was a problem for Bears D.
— Adam Jahns (@adamjahns) August 11, 2021
Mack’s practices have not been significantly valued due to the injuries on the Bears OL. Hearing he dominated the Dolphins should provide hope that he’s finally beyond his injury issues and ready to rejoin the best pass rushers in the sport at the top of the sack sheet.
For those of you who don’t remember, this is the Joe Anderson Boner. Johnson seems to catch a big pass from Fields in every single practice.
“Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself;
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)”
Walt Whitman was waxing poetic about the human condition here, but he might as well have been describing my reaction to Sunday’s loss to Miami. It was a gut punch, a heart-breaker, a golden opportunity that slipped away.
It was also exciting, competitive and full of promise.
So this week’s column embraces the contradictory nature of a game like this, both as stand-alone event, and as part of a much larger puzzle we’re still in the process of piecing together.
The Bears are a great defense AND they played terribly vs the Dolphins.
The Bears defense we’ve seen for the past four games was not the defense that showed up on Sunday.
Kyle Fuller had a solid game with two big interceptions, and the defense played well enough in the first half, holding the Dolphins to 154 yards and just 7 points. However, they collapsed in the second half and OT, allowing 387 yards and 24 points. They let Brock Osweiler and Albert Wilson beat them on bubble screens, and when all was said and done the Dolphins produced 274 yards after the catch.
That’s terrible. That’s embarrassing. That’s inexcusable. But…
Excuses mean nothing in the NFL. All that matters are wins and losses, but it’s ridiculous to not concede those first three issues factored into Sunday’s loss, and that as a rule, good teams can have bad games without it spilling over into the rest of the season.
Right now, I’m not worried about this defense. Not one bit. But…ask me again in a few weeks.
Each week I spend a considerable amount of time assembling a game preview. Last week, other than my top ten for The Office, that time was wasted because nothing that happened Sunday in Miami made much sense.
I simply didn’t see any of it coming. And you won’t see this coming! Rapid fire!
— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) October 14, 2018
Winslow Townson, AP Images
This is a big moment for a franchise devoid of big moments lately.
Last time the Bears played, the Cubs were still the top story in Chicago and in the aftermath of their Bucs dismantling it was hard for this surging team to even find air time on local sports radio. But now the attention of the entire city is on the Bears. And everybody has one question: are they the real thing?
I always like the Chicago Bears…
…and the match-up of Bears Defense vs. Dolphins Offense is about as lopsided as you’ll find on the Week Six slate. Miami is bottom five in just about every relevant offensive statistic and – watching a few of their games this week – those numbers may be flattering. I never understood the frothing over Adam Gase in Chicago, unless endless bubble screens triggers one’s salivary glands. His “system” is not working with this talent group in Miami. And this will be the best defense they face in 2018.
(It’s the Old Town Alehouse. Noon. Wednesday. DUKE and DICK sit in the corner, one reading the Sun-Times and the other the Trib. They do not look at each other when they speak.)
DUKE: You believe in ’em?
DUKE: The Bears.
DICK: Do I believe in ’em?
DUKE: Good defense.
DICK: Great defense.
DUKE: But you don’t believe in ’em?
(DICK takes a sip of the Old Style he smuggled in because the bar refuses to serve the legendary beer.)
DICK: No. But I’m willing.
Four games in the books, which means we’re a quarter of the way through the regular season, and it’s time for the first edition of “Rivals Round Up”. This is a new feature wherein I’ll take a look at how things stand in the NFC North.
And we’ll start at the top.
Almost a week later, and last week’s win still feels every bit as good as it did on Sunday. (If you’re a Cubs fan like me, the Bears’ early season success might be the only thing getting you through this first week of October.) Chicago leads the division for the first time in years. They’ve won three games in a row for the first time, again, in years. And Mitch Trubisky’s offense took a hugely positive step forward with a dominant performance over Tampa Bay.
Oh, and that Khalil Mack guy? He’s pretty good, too.
Next Opponent: Miami Dolphins.
I don’t love that Chicago’s bye week comes so early this year, and after last week I’m antsy see them play again. But I expect the Bears to stay focused, keep learning, and go into Miami next week without missing a beat.
The Dolphins crashed back down to earth last week after a 3-0 start, getting pummeled by the Patriots 38-7. They play the 3-1 Bengals in Cincinnati this Sunday. Ryan Tannehill is having a nice season and seems to function well in Adam Gase’s system.
However, their offensive line is shaky and I fully expect the Bears to put pressure on him the entire day. On the defensive side, the Dolphin’s secondary will definitely be a step up from what Trubisky faced against Tampa. They’ve managed a league-leading nine interceptions in four games, so Mitch will have to play smart and stay accurate to keep from making costly mistakes.
Game Prediction: It won’t be another Bears blowout, but I think they earn their fourth straight win in Miami: Bears 24, Dolphins 17
I’m putting $100 on each of these bets all season. Will be keeping my total down below. (For those of you who are not gamblers, if you lose a $100 bet you actually lose $110. If you push a $100 bet, you lose the $10 vig.)
Anti-Manziel pick. When I watch Johnny Football on an NFL field he reminds me of a young kid wearing his father’s suit. His lack of awareness inside the pocket is usurped only by his lack of understanding that the men sharing the field with him are faster and smarter than just about every player he faced at Texas A&M. Titans 23, Browns 16
Washington v. Miami was the worst game played last Sunday. Neither deserved to win. Now the Redskins, without Desean Jackson, face the most ferocious defense in the NFC? Rams win on the road. Rams 20, Redskins 7
Line is too high. Simple as that. Dolphins 24, Jags 21
Record Through One Week: 1-1-1
Having not watched the game live, I was following along on Twitter and with a few friends via text message. It was absolutely astounding the level of hysteria permeating the Tweets whilst my friends were all texting me things like, “they look ok” or “not much to actually learn from this crap”. When I woke up this morning and saw some of the work by the illustrious Chicago media, I expected to be viewing a train wreck. That was not the case. My thoughts on the game last night were overall positive.
Things you can actually watch tonight if you have very little else to do: