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I'm not going to say it, yet.
I'm going to start by writing that that was a hell of a comeback by the Bears on Sunday, featuring Mitch Trubisky's best fourth quarter as a pro on his way to a 27-23 victory over the Lions.
After displaying the accuracy issues that have plagued him for more than a season now for the first three, grim quarters, Trubisky hit his stride down the stretch. He stopped with the tunnel vision for Allen Robinson and found a variety of receivers for three touchdowns. It all culminated in a perfect deep pass down the right sideline that Anthony Miller hauled in in stride just inside the pylon for the game-winning touchdown with just under two minutes left.
And then the defense, which was looking up at mediocre all day, blew the game until they didn't, thanks to the worst dropped pass you will see all season. Running back D'Andre Swift had the ball in both hands right in front of him. All he had to do was hold onto it and fall in to the end zone. Instead he tried to move the ball into position to run with it and in the process of making the switch lost the handle on it.
That play was so lucky for the Bears that if there is karma, they won't see the likes of anything like it for at least the next five games.
OK, now I'm going to say it: the Bears benefited greatly from the fact that the Lions had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season and it would surprise no one if the Lions finished in the bottom five again this year. In case that wasn't enough of an advantage, and it wasn't, the home team finished the game with three of their top four cornerbacks sidelined by injury.
And it was a lousy game for the Bears defense except for two plays: The first was the team's one and only takeaway when an ill-advised Matt Stafford pass was deflected into the air by either Eddie Jackson or Jaylon Johnson and hauled in by Kyle Fuller.
The second was when Akiem Hicks recorded the team's only sack to push the Lions out of easy field goal range midway through the fourth quarter.
Akiem Hicks nearly murdered Matthew Stafford pic.twitter.com/n25RNCFDQx— Barstool Chicago (@barstoolchicago) September 13, 2020
Then Matt Prater sent his 55-yard field goal attempt off the right upright and out. The kick had started between the uprights but then slowly faded to the side. If it had been a 50-yarder (and maybe a couple yards farther) it would have gone through.
Danny Trevathan was terrible. When he wasn't shooting the wrong gaps on big Adrian Peterson runs (93 yards on 14 carries), he was getting beaten badly in pass coverage. He looked like the slowest guy on the field on play after successful play for the Lions.
Looks like general manager Ryan Pace choked when he decided to bring back the veteran inside linebacker rather than signing at least one of the two younger faster guys the Bears had successfully developed into quality players at that position.
It really would have cost too much to give new contracts to Nick Kwiatkowski and/or Kevin Pierre-Louis? And you really thought Trevathan's ability to call the signals for the defense outweighed his physical deficiencies? Every indication is that this was yet another brutal screw-up by Pace.
Tight end Jimmy Graham needs to learn to finish running through his routes. He blew a touchdown and a 20-plus yard reception by gathering himself to jump early for balls rather than continuing to sprint his way under touch passes. Happily Graham acknowledged as much after the game.
And there are two bright sides: One, Graham was open enough for Trubisky to drop in catchable big-play passes both times. Two, those are the sort of timing plays that take time for a quarterback and a tight end to perfect - there is reason to be optimistic about that part of the offense getting better as time goes on.
My prediction that the Bears will go 6-10 still looks real good, unless they go 4-12.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.
They set the table.Continue reading "Hail To The Placeholders" »
Posted on Sep 21, 2020