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*Pre-editor post (forgive any typos)
You (Bears fan of the moment or diehard) see this as a sad loss…a free win for the Bears, tossed away. How could they lose to Brock Osweiler? I knew the Bears weren’t that good, you say.
I believe this was the game that should be known as the moment the Bears’ future changed.
This game has me believing that the Bears can win the NFC North and ARE the only team that could beat the Rams (or Saints) on the road. This WAS ‘the game’.
First, let’s dispense with this ‘bad loss’/look back over this game team v. team. It’s for sure a missed opportunity the Bears will be kicking themselves over, but consider all that had to happen to give Miami the luckiest win they get this year (to add to the pile of lucky wins they have).
First, Mitchell Trubisky, who would complete 71% of his passes for the game (to maintain his 70% Comp. Pct. rate this season), narrowly missed his first two throws – two medium+ throws that either one hitting would have been a big play to get them into a likely opening drive scoring event. On their 2nd drive, they went for a 4th & 1…and got stopped, another scoring event halted. Later, a Jordan Howard short TD was fumbled/turned over. The Bears were pushing forward…but tripped over their own feet early on.
A comedy of unusual events, and the Bears were only down 7-0 at the half. It felt like it should’ve been Bears 17+ to 7 at the half. Watching the game live it felt like there was nothing to fear…that the Bears would take this over at any time.
It was 21-13 and the Bears were driving down to put a nail in the coffin later in the game. An easy toss short TD put the Bears up 27-13 pending the XP…but, no wait, the world’s cheapest pick penalty was called. Back to 21-13 and the next play, Trubisky throws a pick in the end zone…then Miami takes that gift change of possession for a long drive TD. Instead of 28-13 with pressure on Brock Osweiler to throw, the penalty call/reversed TD helped get Miami to a 21-21 tie.
The Bears marched right downfield for a score to break the tie…something the old Bears would not have done (old as in Weeks 1-2-3)…move down the field with such efficiency on the road in the heat with momentum lost/everything going wrong most of the day. 28-21 Bears with 3 minutes left. Then Miami’s very next drive/play they throw a screen pass, and the defense missed 7-15 tackles and Albert Wilson races for a 75-yard TD and the tie. Heading to OT.
Miami fumbles away their opening drive TD plunge.
Chicago drives down and lines up for the winning FG in OT…missed. Leaving Miami in position to roll down into FG range and hitting a chip shot winner.
Chicago won about 40+ to 20+ in my book. They were CLEARLY the better team…and that’s no major slap at Miami who is a scrappy ‘tough out’. The Bears played well, just had things too many things go against them. It happens. The played well on offense. The defense, which has been great all year, was either gassed from the weather or just partied too hard in Miami Friday-Saturday.
The ‘win’ for me here for Chicago is…how can I say this…that despite initial desires to be a timing pass and run team this year, a funny thing happened along the way – they just realized they have a different model design of Patrick Mahomes at QB. Mitchell Trubisky is about to happen.
You think maybe he has…9 TDs the past two games. No, not yet. Not fully. Needs more time to breathe.
We’re in a phase with Trubisky that similar to when Peter Parker gets his spider powers overnight. He gets sick after being bitten by that radioactive spider. He wakes up the next day and he doesn’t need glasses anymore…his vision is perfect, beyond perfect. His body…suddenly chiseled. Things keep sticking to his hands, he doesn’t know why. The high school kid everyone overlooks suddenly has superhero powers and he doesn’t fully realize what he has the first thing in the morning.
He goes to school and shoots his first web by accident…and he’s baffled by it. Which results in a cafeteria lunch tray of food getting grabbed/attached to his web. He tries to detach from the tray before anyone notices, but the tray full of food slingshots into the school bully. Peter Parker runs away…because he doesn’t realize the powers he has. The bully chases him down. As the bully tries to punch him, Peter is one-step ahead of him on every punch…part of his super powers are off-the-charts vision and reaction time. Eventually, a second attacker/bully approaches and Peter senses it without seeing it because of his newly acquired Spidey senses and leaps to the air to avoid the from behind attack and flips in the air and lands gracefully; mystifying the fight’s onlookers. Once more the bully swings at Peter, who now is starting to realizes the power he has -- and then the would-be Spiderman punches the bully so hard he flies 20-30 yards backwards down the hall. Everyone is shocked and awed…mostly Peter Parker.
Future Spiderman realizes he has some kind of spider power and later in the day goes out on top of a building trying to aim his web shots and swing on them…often crashing into things but he is seeing things quicker and more detail, his skills/abilities are developing him quickly into no mere mortal but he’s still trying to figure out how to use all these abilities.
I think we’re halfway thru that Spiderman awareness day story with Trubisky in this offense. The coaches, to their credit (I think), are just tearing up the Andy Reid playbook and going ‘ride or die’ with Mitch. He’s so good…they realize they have to just let him go. Let him be Mahomes…early warts and all. Early stumbles along the way to becoming The Amazing Spiderman.
Trubisky is more physically gifted than Mahomes-Goff-Mayfield. However, they all know they’re stars. They’ve been treated as such for years and given full reigns to do what they want when they want. Trubisky still has memories of being a nerd no one wanted to date/be their QB (was a backup first three years in college). He’s not fully off the chain. If you put Mayfield’s head in Trubisky’s body, it would be the single greatest QB creation of all time.
I could see in this game…the Bears are starting to just Trust In Mitch. And that’s going to come with a few bumps and bruises, and dumb picks, etc., the next few weeks but it’s the future. It’s the path to the Super Bowl someday. There’s no turning back. There’s micromanaging. There’s just Trubisky time.
Bears fans…do not despair over this loss. This ‘arrival game’ opened the door to a possible take down of New England next week and a possible Super Bowl run this season. It’s probably a year early. Trubisky will probably make a mistake that costs his team in a big game ahead as he’s trying to figure out how to use his new found powers (that he’s possessed all along)…eventually he will swing in on his web and save the day. The Bears have taken off the training wheels…you saw more of it in this game. The future is here…and the future is maybe a few more weeks away from being ‘wow’.
Also, Miami played in this game…and somehow Brock Osweiler threw for 380 yards, beat the Bears, ruined my Blazing Five pick and real-life bet. Miami is 4-2…and, now, with a legit shot at the playoffs considering they have two games with Buffalo left on the schedule. 8-8 is our current computer projection.
Chicago is projecting 9.5 wins…trouble with Detroit suddenly getting good and the Vikings were almost about to fall off the map, but they’re in it now too. Tougher sledding ahead but Chicago is a few weeks from being the ‘best in class’ team of the NFC. They need about 3-5 more game to lock this thing in.
Fantasy Player Notes…
-- So, what do you do with emerging Mitchell Trubisky (22-31 for 316 yards, 3 TDs/1 INT, 8-47-0) for fantasy now?
You want to redraft ditch Baker Mayfield for him now, don’t you? I could see that in a 4pts per pass TD league where Trubisky’s excellent running skills matter more.
FYI, Trubisky has rushed for 50.0 yards per game the past two games, mostly on purpose and is rushing for 32.8 yards per game for the season – which is stellar and why he’s back in the ‘get now’ conversation.
I still think Mayfield is the better passer today, and more used to just going out and letting it rip…where Trubisky is still getting awkwardly comfortable with his superpowers. Plus, the Bears have real weapons, decent coaches…where Mayfield is operating with the worst coaching staff in the league (apologies to Arizona) and his WR weapons are literally CFL-level talents except overrated, overpaid Jarvis Landry.
Mayfield is still more used to gunning it for numbers, but all the other factors while he hurt his foot pretty good Sunday…while Mitch is coming into his own.
I say…do what you wish. I can make the argument for either. Mayfield is the better guy when he gets a set rotation of WRs week-to-week, but Trubisky is suddenly coming on strong. I love them both, so…
In this game, Trubisky sailed his first two passes and then was a laser beam most of the rest of the time. He got lucky with some brilliant catches by Taylor Gabriel…but that’s what Gabriel does. The Bears have gone to an up-tempo passing team, they’ve about 70-90% embraced it…there’s no turning back.
-- State’s evidence of the turn to the passing team…Jordan Howard (14-69-0) had just two carries in the first 14 offensive plays for the Bears this game. You can just feel, between this game and the Tampa game, that Howard is not a major part of the plan. He doesn’t have to be…they have a real passing game now…and Cohen can run the ball, and so can Mitch. 34 of Howard’s 69 rushing yards happened on 3 carries in OT. In regulation, not a big producer. Late in the game, in the heat, defense worn down…Howard gashed some runs.
Howard is now an RB3 in my book with hopes he gets a short TD (he fumbled one away here) to make him worthwhile.
Tarik Cohen (5-31-1, 7-90-0/9) is where it’s at. This is why I wanted him in the preseason and paired with Howard…just to be sure I had the ‘winner’. The PPR winner is Cohen…7.0 rec. (8.5 targets), 105.5 yards, 0.50 TDs as a receiver the past two weeks. He had a 3-yard TD catch stolen from him, which would have sent his numbers and buzz screaming this week.
The price is higher, but you can still acquire Cohen if you wish. Most people see Cohen as more an Austin Ekeler or James White, etc., -- RBs who’s clock will strike midnight anytime now, they think. THEY are not watching Bears games like I am/have…like you have. THEY think the Bears are overrated, Trubisky is a flash, and Cohen is a PPR guy of the moment to them.
Cohen is so much more. He’s the Tyreek Hill-lite of the Bears. He makes the offense go. He doesn’t need a thousand touches to make hay, but he does need 7+ targets a game with 5+ carries for fantasy. This game, more than the Tampa game, I see Trubisky has finally realized what he has here with Cohen. The Trubisky upswing coordinated with the Cohen upswing is not a coincidence. Cohen’s abilities as a runner-receiver changes the entire complexion of the offense.
…and, thus, the end of Jordan Howard as an RB1 threat.
-- Even less detected by the mainstream is the fact that Miami is doing the same exact thing with Kenyan Drake (13-57-0, 4-21-0/6). They gone from making him a lead, power back to making him their Alvin Kamara. Drake is a very comparable Kamara…similar size, ability and as-good/better an athlete.
People see Frank Gore (15-101-0, 1-10-0/1) rushing for 100+ yards and getting the most carries and see Drake as ‘demoted’. He’s really just ‘changed’, and people aren’t changing with it.
Now, Miami O-C Dowell Loggains is horrific…so, he could change to anything at any time. Going away from what works is his M.O., but Miami has visibly shifted its offensive approach…and it’s Drake as Kamara versus Drake as Ingram. You want Drake as Kamara for fantasy more than Drake as Ingram.
-- Another part of the offensive makeover of the Dolphins’ offense the past two weeks is the switch to more Albert Wilson (6-155-2/9), which makes way more sense and is something I was counting on coming into the regular season – but Miami had him running 2nd-team for reasons I’ll never understand.
Wilson is ‘the guy’ now for Miami…what that’s worth week-to-week is up for grabs. This isn’t a high functioning passing game so you have to have Wilson turning screens in 30 and 70+ yard TDs breaking 5-50 tackles per play. He’s good enough to do that, but not two times every game. Get excited but be cautious.
Danny Amendola (8-59-0/11) had his best day as a Dolphin but I trust him way less than Wilson being a fantasy breakout here.
-- Was I right, again? Taylor Gabriel (5-110-0/5) is where it is at among the Bears’ WRs, not Allen Robinson (5-64-1/6).
It’s not that Robinson is killing them, but he’s just ‘there’. No explosiveness, just available. Gabriel is making plays, going deep, taking jet sweeps.
This is a Trubisky-Cohen-Gabriel offense, and not a Nagy-Howard-Robinson one.
-- Trey Burton (4-23-1/4) is efficient…not a major part of the plan. 4-4-5-4 for targets in games the past four games, but a TD in three of those 4 games.
I mean…you could do worse, but I’m not super excited.
-- Bears rookie LB Roquan Smith (13 tackles) had his best tackle tally game of the year…still too many assisted tackles (6 here), too much ‘slightly late to the party’ tackles for me to get IDP excited yet.
-- I don’t know what happened to Kahlil Mack (2 tackles). The guy is unstoppable every week…and he was a ghost this week. Miami either did a helluva a job blocking, or Mack was out very late in downtown Miami the night before.
Snap Counts of Interest:
75 = Amendola
67 = Stills
50 = Wilson
31 = Jakeem Grant
04 = D Parker
36 = Howard
34 = Cohen
49 = Drake
30 = Gore
52 = O’Leary
27 = Gesicki