I've watched two games back-to-back today where I had the one feeling going in but had a different feeling going out after the rewatch. Both with Dallas-Denver and here with Tampa Bay-Chicago, I walked away from the Sunday live watch thinking the winning team totally dominated the losing team. And in both cases, after rewatching it, I didn't think it was as bad for the losing team as advertised.
This game was another example of games played in another universe, where the team that got killed (Dallas, Chicago) might've won the game with a couple different breaks early in the game. Tampa Bay drove down the field on the first series, a nice time-consuming drive, and then—as usual with the Jameis Winston-led Buccaneers offense—they failed when they got closer to the red zone and settled for a field goal. The Bears answered right back with one of their best drives in years. Mike Glennon went six for six meticulously walking his team down the field. As soon as everyone was impressed by the drive, Glennon threw a bad pass that got picked… ending any chance at a score.
The Bears defense held the Buccaneers on that post-pick series, and the ensuing Tampa punt bounced short but then rolled and bounced like crazy down towards the 10-yard line where Tarik Cohen, surrounded by four Tampa Bay Buccaneers, inexplicably decided to try to field the short hop and surprise everyone and take off with it... but he bobbled the bouncing ball and Tampa Bay recovered in their own red zone. Tampa Bay converted the gift into a TD and a 10–0 lead. It should've been 7-3 Chicago, or worse for the Bucs…but instead it was 10–0 Tampa and the momentum totally shifted.
The next thing you know it’s 26-0 Bucs at the half. What was an evenly matched game looked like a joke of a blowout.
The Bears won the second half 7-3 but that was little consolation for the losers.
I walked away from this game thinking the Bears really blew this game and were the better team. Or, at least, I have no new respect for Tampa Bay… nor do I think any less of the Bears because I think they're mediocre anyway.
Fantasy Player Notes...
-- I think I've written enough about Tarik Cohen (7-13-0, 8-55-0/9) to get my point across the last 3-4 weeks. All I can say now is this: The more I watch, the more sure I am that something special for fantasy lies here.
Congrats to those who grabbed him early or made deals to get him. I can't even give you an idea on the proper trade-for valuation because some of you are paying a lot more while others are stealing him. Deals are all over the map. It all depends on the league and the current owner's thoughts. I want to buy him as an RB2 or cheaper in PPR… act like and start discussions as if he is an RB3. I'm willing to overpay in most cases.
Cohen getting 8 catches in each of his first two games is shocking to me, in a sense. The Bears are using this extreme talent right away, the same exact way I would have dreamed. I would have never imagined me and John Fox on the same page. Tyreek Hill didn’t and still doesn’t get this type of treatment. It's not that Cohen is getting lots of targets… it's that he is catching everything in sight, no matter where the ball is thrown. He's also impossible to tackle after the catch. He's a fantastic weapon the Bears see the value in.
The first 10 plays of Chicago's first drive down to the red zone…
1) Cohen straight up lined up as a flanker but came in motion for a fake jet sweep
2) Five wide as a flanker
3) Flanker… made an incredible diving catch for a 1st-down
4) Solo tailback
9) Five-wide flanker
He plays 62% of the offensive snaps, and that's perfect. He's not being overused but is a primary receiving option on most plays on a team decimated by injury with little other options. He's another RBaWR (running back as wide receiver, our trademark term)...classified as an RB for fantasy. You can't rule out a move to 'WR' designation ahead...that may be good or bad for you. I think Ty Montgomery qualified as either in some leagues last season for a bit.
This is not a story of the moment or game flow. People didn’t realize what was happening with Tyreek for several weeks last year… and still didn’t believe it this preseason. Same with Cohen, to a degree.
Tarik Cohen is the Christian McCaffrey everyone dreamed of.
Tarik Cohen is better than Christian McCaffrey in every phase of the game: better hands, better runner after the catch, more explosive RB. McCaffrey does run better routes… he can have that nod.
Let that valuation sink in.
-- I feel bad for O.J. Howard (1-17-0/3). The very first play of the game he was the target downfield, racing down the middle. Covered by three defenders, Winston threw it anyway to no avail. That will be OJH's lot in life for a while.
Howard is redraft-useless right now, but in a few weeks I bet we're talking about him as a TE2 bye week sleeper to cross your fingers on. He's too good but stuck in a bad situation.
-- If Chicago loses to the Steelers this week (which is likely) then the drumbeat for Mitchell Trubisky will get louder. It's already starting. No way Chicago beats PIT Week 3 and GB in Week 4 (at GB). I think an 0-4 Bears team heading to a Monday Night Football game, at home, versus the Vikings, is the prime spot for Trubisky. No way the Bears want their home fans booing the team on a national TV game. See: Giants Week 2.
The early get-in on Trubisky is this week, and then tougher next week and then potentially impossible Week 4 into 5 and after his debut…if I'm right.
I don’t know what Trubisky can do/produce with this Bears’ offense minus all its WRs… but I’d like to see. I'd like to have a fantasy ticket on it in redraft leagues where my current QB2 is a sad sack. I might drop Goff for Trubisky on a gamble this week or next if Goff is my QB2 in a 12-team/15-16 man roster league.
If the Bears beat the Steelers Week 3, then all this gets pushed back weeks.
Oh, and I don’t think anything will change with Tarik Cohen when Trubisky takes over if that's what you were wondering.
-- Do I have to write about how Jameis Winston (18-30 for 204 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) still sucks/is wildly overrated as an NFL QB? The only TD pass of the game was set up by a turnover gift in the red zone. Aside from that, he had just failed drives leading to punts or field goals mostly.
-- Bears' rookie IDP Eddie Jackson (8 tackles, 1 TFL) is playing much better football than I would have anticipated. I'm not a huge fan, but so far he seems engaged.
-- I'm not saying he's a star TE1, but with all FF TEs dying… Zach Miller is averaging 5.0 catches per game. He's their best non-Cohen weapon in the passing game.
-- Kendall Wright (7-69-0/10) is the WR to have from this Motley Crew. A PPR WR3 with WR2 potential because someone has to catch the ball.
As I have been saying, Deonte Thompson (4-57-1/9) is the sleeper to have from the Bears…he snagged a TD late in garbage time in this one. He's a fringe WR3-4… a small uptick when Trubisky arrives.
Snap Counts of Interest…
40 = Cohen
31 = Jordan Howard (came into the game hurt, and then pulled back when the game got out of hand)
59 = Bellamy
55 = K. Wright
36 = Deonte Thompson
48 = Zach Miller
05 = Adam Shaheen
46 = O.J. Howard
38 = Cam Brate
36 = DeSean Jackson
29 = Chris Godwin
57 = Chris Conte
36 = Keith Tandy
24 = Pernell McPhee
58 = Kendell Beckwith
17 = Kwon Alexander (sick)