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Bears Beat Rams, Cementing Playoff Position and League Stature

| December 10th, 2018

Photo credit: New York Times.


Last night paid it off. Was it perfect? By no means. But on a cold night in Chicago the 2018 Bears provided their moment; their signature (regular season) victory. Rapid fire…

  • Trubisky was terrible. There’s no reason to sugarcoat it. Young quarterbacks are going to have games like this and all you can do is hope they grow from it. Mitch looked antsy in the pocket, was sailing balls to wide open receivers and made 2-3 decisions you simply can’t make. (The pick at the end of the first half was inexcusable.) Jared Goff was worse. And that’s why the Bears won.
  • Kyle Fuller’s interception late third quarter was the most important play of the game. Fuller’s had a brilliant season but it was clear in that moment this Bears defense wasn’t going to be defeated. Fuller shouldn’t just be going to be the Pro Bowl this season. He should be named an All Pro corner. He’s been the best in the NFL.
  • Eddie Goldman registering a sack/safety made me incredibly happy. Goldman is the unsung hero of this defense; the most important component of the league’s second-best rush unit. (New Orleans is quietly great against the run.) He deserves to fill the stat column every once in a while.
  • Aaron Donald did nothing. Who gets the credit? Everybody. But it starts with James Daniels.


  • Injuries may be the story that lingers from Sunday night. Bryce Callahan’s looked the most serious. Leonard Floyd delivered his most complete performance in years but couldn’t finish it. Bears need both of these guys down the stretch.

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Week 14: Rams at Bears Game Preview, Volume II

| December 7th, 2018

…continued.


Why the Bears Will Win

  • Soldier Field. The Bears are simply a different team at home (5-1), where they’d be undefeated if not for a special teams meltdown against the Patriots. Sunday night this high-flying Rams offense is going to experience 20 degrees on the lake. It won’t bother the Bears. It won’t bother their crowd. Will it bother Los Angeles? I have images of the 2005 Atlanta Falcons and 2013 Dallas Cowboys in my head. High-powered, warm weather offenses that boarded their buses to the airport midway through the third quarter.
  • Mitch’s Return. Trubisky’s ability to stretch the field with his arm and extend drives with his legs was sorely missed during the Chase Daniel period. And this is a defense that can:
    • Be exploited at the back end, with Marcus Peters having a nightmare season and Aquib Talib slowly working his way back from injury.
    • Leave huge gaps if they don’t get home to the quarterback. Russell Wilson put up nearly 100 yards on the ground in his last meeting with the Rams.
  • Jared Goff vs. Bears Secondary. One thing that stands out watching is Rams tape is the alarming number of wide open receivers Goff has over the course of a game. (The Chiefs game was an embarrassment.) But Goff was challenged last week in Detroit and probably delivered his most inconsistent/inaccurate performance of the 2018 season. Aside from a few breakdowns at the Meadowlands last week, this Bears secondary usually forces opposing QBs to hit 4-5 good throws to mount a scoring drive. In these conditions, with this pass rush bearing down, that will be a challenge for Goff.

Tweet of the Week


Why They Won’t.

  • Aaron Donald. James Daniels and Cody Whitehair have never seen anything like Donald in current form. I’m not quite sure many guards/centers have, as the man is coasting to the Defensive Player of the Year prize. Donald may not dominate for sixty minutes but he’s sure to make a big play (or three) at critical moments of the game, especially if he decides to line up over the struggling Bryan Witzmann.
  • Run Defense. The Giants may have laid something of a blueprint for attacking Vic Fangio’s aggressive pass rush. (Eli Manning hinted at such during his weekly radio spot on WFAN New York.) Run right at it. Yes, it helps to have a back of Saquan Barkley’s quality but the Rams have that in Todd Gurley. So Fangio should expect McVay to follow the Shurmur template and run Gurley directly at Khalil Mack for much of the evening. If Gurley gets going, the Rams will be unstoppable.
  • Shootout. If this game gets moving in a particular direction, are the Bears really prepared to go toe-to-toe with a high-powered offense? Are they prepared to score 40 if they NEED 40 to win? They have the scheme. They have the talent. They’re more equipped than any time in history to engage such a battle but they’ve never actually done it. The Rams are seasoned as playing such games. They play them every other week because they don’t defend well.

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The Bears Are For Real

| November 19th, 2018

Much of the focus for the 2018 Chicago Bears has centered around Mitch Trubisky and the offense, but the key to this season’s success is and has always been the defense.

Sunday night, outside of a couple late touchdowns, the Bears were absolutely dominant defensively. They should be. They have to be.

Despite a new, big money quarterback and a vastly improved offensive line, the Minnesota Vikings don’t have a great offense. They entered Sunday’s game about middle of the pack across the board and in the 20s in terms of yards and points per drive. (Good thing the Bears didn’t hire John DeFilippo.)

The Vikings do have a terrific defense. The Bears weren’t going to be able to put up 30 points. The Bears defense needed to win this game.

They did.

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Week 11: Vikings at Bears Game Preview, Volume Three

| November 16th, 2018


Game Prediction

  • Both teams abandon their run games early. These are two of the three best run defenses in the game and neither team has been successful running it themselves. (Chicago’s stats are skewed by Trubisky’s gaudy numbers on the ground, mostly accumulated on broken down plays.) This is a game that will be won through the air and these two passing attacks are pretty evenly matched.
  • Minnesota will do everything possible to keep Kirk Cousins clean and that means the quick passing game. Tackling will be the key for the Bears secondary because if they tackle well it’ll force the Vikings to execute long drives to score points. The longer the drive, the greater turnover potential. And this defense is turning folks over like its the mid-aughts.
  • This game feels like a close one. And close ones often come down to special teams. Right now there’s no way Matt Nagy can send Cody Parkey onto the field and expect a positive result. Will that alter how he calls the game? Doubtful. But it should. The Bears may need to be over-aggressive at big moments to protect their awful kicker.
  • One of these quarterbacks is going to throw a game-deciding interception. And I think it’s going to be Cousins.

Chicago Bears 26

Minnesota Vikings 23

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Week 11: Vikings at Bears Game Preview: Volume One

| November 14th, 2018

I’m traveling on the continent this week so my content will be abbreviated. 


Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears this Week?

I always like the Chicago Bears…

…and I better like them because the game won’t kick-off in Paris until 2:30 AM. And I will be watching.


Why The Bears Will Win

  • The Bears are averaging 34.33 points over their last six games. Now, put your phone down or step away from the computer for a second. Take a breath. And read that sentence again. Yep, the Chicago f’n Bears are a point-scoring juggernaut since Week 4. Hard to imagine this group not scoring a bunch of points, no matter the opponent.
  • Bullies at Home. Bears have played five times at Soldier Field and only lost to Tom Brady’s Patriots. (And even with a one-legged Khalil Mack and two special teams scores, the Bears found themselves a yard from overtime.) Their average margin of victory at home has been 17.75 points, with only the Seahawks finishing within one score after a garbage time touchdown. These are dominant home statistics. And great teams dominate at home.
  • Khalil Mack. When a team gives up two first-round selections for a player, as the Bears did for Mack, expectations rise in the big moments. And nothing the star pass rusher has done this season has curbed those expectations. Minnesota is a team that fumbles the football (8 on the season) and Mack’s ability to get the football on the ground is rare. The only player of Mack’s pedigree the Vikings have faced is Aaron Donald – and they had no answers for Donald. Will they have answers for Mack? Are there any answers for Mack?

Why They Won’t

  • This is the biggest game Mitch Trubisky has ever played. This is the biggest game Matt Nagy has ever coached. And just about the entirety of the other sideline is seasoned. Chicago’s coach and quarterback may respond brilliantly to the intensity and pressure of the moment but that is a complete uncertainty at this point. The moment won’t get to Mike Zimmer’s Vikings. They’ve played far bigger games.

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