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As the clock dipped below five minutes remaining in the second quarter of the Bears' 24-17 victory over the Seahawks last night, I found myself almost rooting for the Bears offense to wrap up the drive they were on relatively quickly. That way the Seahawks would get the ball back in the final two minutes and Khalil Mack and Co. could resume their relentless pursuit of quarterback Russell Wilson.
That turned out to be a bit of a mistake when Wilson, who let's be clear is one of the top five quarterbacks in the league at this point, led his team to a 56-yard field goal in the closing seconds. But even as that drive was happening, the Bears' collective defensive menace could be felt on virtually every play.
How cool is this?
And then in the second half, when the Seahawks had rallied to within a touchdown and Wilson seemed poised to lead a comeback similar to the one Aaron Rodgers orchestrated the week before, the defense pounced. The consistent pressure had led to the Seahawks calling a number of plays that had Wilson passing quickly, before the rush could get to him.
He did that one too many times, cornerback Prince Amukamara read it perfectly, grabbed his first interception in forever (none last year, only one early-season pick the campaign before) and took it in for the Bears final, back-breaking touchdown.
But even that wasn't the end of the Bears' defensive heroics. On Seattle's next drive, Wilson was flushed from the pocket and moved up and to his left (the Bears did a great job all night of almost never letting Wilson roll to the right, his strong side). He didn't sense Danny Trevathan coming until it was too late and he had opened himself up to try to make a throw. Trevathan's second sack of the evening resulted in a fumble that was recovered by Leonard Floyd, putting a nice little bow on a great performance.
Speaking of throwing one way while moving another, perhaps Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky's best throw of the evening happened on a pass like that, when he rolled left, reared back with his right hand and threw a perfect, pinpoint, 15-yard pass to Anthony Miller for the score that gave the Bears a 17-3 lead.
So let's talk about the signal-caller and his offense for a little while at least. First of all, it is a complete waste of time to make comparisons between his performance and that of fellow 2017 first-rounders Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson.
They are all in different systems with different weapons at their disposal but most importantly, Watson and Mahomes are in their second years with their head coaches and systems while Trubisky is in his first. And yes Mahomes didn't play hardly at all last year but he has the benefit of working with the best play-caller in the business at this point (except for maybe Doug Pederson of the Eagles, who not surprisingly coordinated in Kansas City before getting that job), Chiefs head coach Andy Reid.
Yes Trubisky was disappointing in the first half. That last pass where it looked like two different Seahawks might have picked it off before it fell incomplete was especially disconcerting. But overall Trubisky completed more than two-thirds of his passes and he improved as the night went on.
He and Nagy still have a ways to go to catch up with Reid and Mahomes in terms of experience working together. So let's all try to avoid the Mahomes versus Trubisky stuff until at least halfway through the season OK?
Anyway, the Bears now head into next week's Sunday afternoon game at Arizona with some confidence. The Cardinals have had perhaps the worst offense in the NFL so far this season but it says here that just makes them more dangerous playing at home with the season essentially on the line. On the other hand, when you pull back a bit more, you see a first half schedule for this team that has to potentially be one of the easiest in the NFL.
Just don't tell the players, who will of course be more susceptible to letdowns the more they hear about how bad foes are. The most promising part of the schedule overall is that other than Tom Brady, who comes to town with the Patriots in about a month, the Bears will not play a better quarterback than they have already for the rest of the season (except for the return engagement with Mr. Rodgers I suppose but at least that one will be in Chicago).
I am really looking forward to this Sunday at noon.
Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.