By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63
New England Patriots 38 – Chicago Bears 31
Should it be said that Chicago Bears tight end Trey Burton was right and that breaking momentum with an early bye would slide them to a string of losses?
Maybe, but I blame the loss to Miami on the NFL’s Officiating team. The loss at home against a poor New England defense was on the Bears.
There is no point in rehashing the nightmare. Who wants to relive wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson‘s 95-yard touchdown run through the Bears special teams unit like a knife through butter? Poor Bears kicker Cody Parkey. His attempt of running after him was just sad. Or how about the blocked punt from punter Pat O’Donnell that was taken for a touchdown?
The saddest part was that, for one fleeting moment, WR Kevin White almost became the hero. He was just one-yard shy. Ah yes, good times.
But even after these two losses, there are so many positives that an ugly performance can be used to motivate a change of direction. First, let’s get it out of the way:
- Bears need to utilize running back Jordan Howard more. The dude is a power back, let him roll!
- Special teams have got to improve in a big way.
- Receivers need to catch the ball with sticky hands and end the dropsies drama.
- Quarterback Mitch Trubisky needs to land his targets with precision.
- Defense needs to stop relying on linebacker Khalil Mack to make all the plays and dominate with him. Great defenses work as one unit backing each other up, minimizing missed tackles.
- DC Vic Fangio needs to be more aggressive with blitzes and not take the foot off the peddle when going into 4th quarter.
With that all said, it is clear that there is a positive change going on with this team and they believe it. After the loss, wide receiver Taylor Gabriel tweeted this:
Stay together fans players we will bounce back long season ahead of us thanks for being loud today love this city and our amazing fans #BearDown
They know what needs to be done and they will find a way to get there. And what we do know is this:
- Coach Matt Nagy sees the need to get Howard the ball. He didn’t do it a whole lot, but there were instances that, if given a big tight end to pave the way, he could pound the rock.
- Trubisky has now thrown for over 300+ yards in the last three games and doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. He may just have that 4,000-yard season. Massive improvement compared to how he started the season.
- Rookie linebackers Roquan Smith and Bilal Nichols are an explosive tag team that should be played more together.
- Cornerback Bryce Callahan is an aggressive player who needs to be re-signed after the season is over.
- RB Tarik Cohen should never be compared to WR Tyreek Hill. He may not be the “Cheetah” but he sure is like the Brown Jackal: fast, territorial and defends his team.
- Coach Matt Nagy may have made some poor judgment errors on play calling but trusts his team to make plays and knows they will adjust. He defends his decisions but will admit when he is wrong. He owns it and teaches his team to do the same.
- Injuries are on an all-time low. From previous years the entire team would be on the injury list but this year so far players are minimizing injuries that get them back into the active roster within a week or so.
These positives should make fans happy. That means that the Bears can only go up from here. With games against the New York Jets at home and the Buffalo Bills on the road, the Bears will need to dominate going into the final stretch of division games.
All the key players are there. The Bears should make a switch and put in WR Javon Wims to replace Kevin White or WR Josh Bellamy. If Trubisky uses his practice time to focus on distance and accuracy, the sky’s the limit.
And lastly, the defense needs to get it together and stop second-guessing the plays. Read the quarterback, anticipate where he will throw the ball and jump at it. Master the art of stripping the ball, even if that means resurrecting the “Peanut Punch.” Whatever it takes to dominate.
Here is hoping the Chicago Bears stay the course. Bear Down Chicago!
Talk Bears football with Wanda on Twitter // @WandaW63