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Bears Beat Niners & Go to 11 (Instead of Making 10 Louder)

| December 24th, 2018

It was not an exciting game. So let’s get right into rapid fire…

  • The score of this game was 14-9 with about five minutes left in the third quarter. That’s how good this Bears defense is. They simply dominate inferior opponents. Akiem Hicks was unblockable, Leonard Floyd has been one of the better defenders in the league the last several weeks and Khalil Mack is, well, one of the best football players I’ve ever seen.
  • Yesterday is the game the Bears need from Mitch Trubisky on the road in the postseason. He was poised, accurate and (mostly) smart with the football.


  • The Trubisky-to-Cohen fumble was an awfully stupid moment for both the quarterback and the coach. Matt Nagy’s signature flaw as a play caller is a failure to recognize when simplicity is working. When Jordan Howard gains 9 yards on first down, you don’t need to run a college option on second down. You turn around and hand Howard the ball again.
  • George Kittle is a pain in the ass.
  • From Dan Pompei on Twitter: “The 49ers are one of the best teams ever at pulling the ball out after the runner is down.”
  • If I were Nagy and Ryan Pace I would have seriously considered benching all my star players due to the conditions yesterday. What was that field? Levi’s Stadium made Soldier Field’s turf look like Augusta National. Kyle Fuller fell down three times in the first half! Once again, if you believe the league is concerned with player safety, you’re a dupe.

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Week 16: NFC North Champions at 49ers Game Preview

| December 20th, 2018

“So whoop-de-do and hickory dock
And don’t forget to hang up your sock.”


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and what’s not to like about this 2018 vintage? Seriously. They’re not just good. They are an extremely likable group of fellas.


Five Generic Thoughts on the Game

  • Does the result matter for the Bears Sunday? Probably not. But the performances of Deon Bush, filling in for Eddie Jackson, and the rotational third edge rushers (Isaiah Irving, Kylie Fitts…etc.) are pivotal. Matt Nagy seemed optimistic when evaluating the injuries of Jackson and Aaron Lynch but neither looked good. If the Bears have to play a postseason game without one or both, they’ll need these depth pieces to step up and play well.
  • If you listened to Tuesday’s Hoge & Jahns podcast – and you’re stupid if you don’t listen to every one of their pods – you heard an interesting discussion on how Nagy will handle these games. My guess? Nagy is done putting anything on tape that will help a postseason opponent. No creative looks. No gadget plays. No defensive linemen in the offensive backfield. Sunday should have a preseason feel to it: one-on-one match-ups the Bears will be expected to win because they’re the better, deeper roster by a wide margin.
  • Quarterback rating is a flawed statistic but it’s the best stat the NFL has to quantify performance at the position. Mitch Trubisky is ten points worse (97.2 to 87.6) on the road than he is at home, primarily because his TD-to-INT is drastically better at Soldier Field. If the Bears expect to make a deep run in January, Trubisky is most likely going to need a great game in either Los Angeles or New Orleans. He could use a confidence builder on Sunday afternoon.
  • The Niners aren’t going to beat the Bears on the outside but tight end George Kittle has been one of the league’s revelations in 2018. Teams have tried to cover him with corners, with linebackers, with safeties. But the Pro Bowler has made plays every single week. Kittle vs. Roquan Smith could be the best match-up of the week but the Bears will likely rotate their defenders to him, including Leonard Floyd.
  • San Francisco does not sport a particularly good pass rush, rarely intercept the ball (2 all year) and all allow opposing quarterbacks to play to a 103.1 rating – better than only Detroit and Tampa Bay. Detroit and Tampa Bay were Mitch Trubisky’s most prolific statistical outputs. This is a good match-up for the Bears QB.

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Three Thoughts For the Final Two Weeks

| December 19th, 2018

It is nice to have such thoughts in December.

  • If Minnesota wins Sunday in Detroit and Seattle loses to Kansas City, the Vikings would jump to the 5th seed. In that case the Bears should ABSOLUTELY mail-in Week 17 and accept whomever (Seahawks, Redskins, Eagles) comes to Chicago on wildcard weekend. Of all those possible matchups, the best single unit is Minnesota’s defense. Let them beat the Cowboys and go rough up New Orleans.
  • Does anyone really believe the Rams will lose one of these final two games? Yes, the Bears broke them. Yes, Philadelphia took advantage of that breaking. But they go to a lifeless Arizona team this week and then HOST the Niners. They’ll be two touchdown favorites in both games. If Los Angeles plays as poorly as they did Sunday night, they’ll still win both of these games.
  • Is there a perception difference between 10 and 11 wins? I think so. And that’s why the Bears should be 100% committed to Sunday’s game in San Francisco even though the result most likely has zero meaning. Go out there Sunday, dominate an inferior opponent and bring the good vibes of a three-game win streak into the postseason.

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Bears Thump Niners & There’s Plenty To Feel Good About

| December 5th, 2016

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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.

Rapid fire…

  • 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.

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