Payton Presser: Bears defense shines in 24-17 win over Seahawks
Bears fans, the last time we talked, I was sitting in my kitchen trying to process the Sunday night dismantling that took place in the second half in Green Bay. I’ve had a lot of ups and down as a lifelong Bears fan, but last Sunday was a tough one to swallow. Through the disappointment in the loss, I had to step back and look at all the positives that took place at Lambeau Field. The nagging question all week was how would the Bears bounce back in Week Two against the Seahawks? Would they be able to look at the film and move on or would the heartbreaking loss linger into the home opener on Monday night? We know the answer now and the cheese curd hangover didn’t get in the way of the Bears’ first regular season victory of 2018. Matt Nagy’s squad is now 1-1 on the season after beating the Seahawks 24-17 on Monday Night Football. There are always good and bad things to discuss after a game. But let’s face it: It feels so much better talking about them after a win!
Before we get into the takeaways from the game, I want to address all the Mitchell Turbisky hate that I saw on Twitter last night during the game. Trubisky may not have been your first QB choice in the 2017 Draft, I get it. To be honest, I was a Deshaun Watson fan myself. But Ryan Pace saw something in the young QB to move up to number 2 to select him. After the pick was made, I didn’t get mad. I went to the film to see what Pace saw in Trubisky. Trubisky was only the starter for one year in college and, after reviewing hours of film, I saw a young man that had a lot of potential and would need to be molded into an NFL QB. If you did your homework, then you would understand there will be growing pains with Trubisky. Not only does he have limited starts in the NFL, he had to learn a new offensive system. So instead of writing Trubisky off, I just want people to give him a chance. Let’s see what he turns out to be. He took a step forward Monday night, in my opinion.
Now on to the game. Trubisky and the offense came out strong like they did last week. Opening drives this year have been his thing. For the first 10 or so scripted plays he feels so comfortable and it’s understandable. Trubisky is now 10 of 11 for 154 yards with a TD pass and rushing TD on opening drives this season. After the opening drive there were tough times, but Trubisky overcame two interceptions on back-to-back possessions to finish 25 of 34 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. He will see on film the throws he wishes he could have back, the under-thrown ball to Allen Robinson resulting in an INT, missing a wide-open Taylor Gabriel in the first quarter and almost throwing a third INT right before half in the end zone. Those are the growing pains that you must expect with having a young QB. However, watching Trubisky in the fourth quarter with an 11 play drive that ended in a beautiful touchdown pass to Anthony Miller on the run in the end zone was enough to realize there is plenty of potential. Of course, the goal is to get him to feel as comfortable throughout the game as he does in opening drives. And he has flashes of that, like the fourth quarter drive. The only way to achieve consistency in the NFL or in most things in life is repetition. His play will improve as he takes more snaps. I know one thing, he’s far from a finished product.
I tweeted during the game that I wanted to see Jordan Howard get 20-plus touches tonight and that didn’t happen. He finished with 14 carries for 35 yards. That is unacceptable in my opinion. If you want to help out your young QB, then getting the running game going is key. Last season, we saw Howard have success running out of the shotgun, but we also saw him carve up defenses on stretch plays out of the I-formation. With this new Nagy offense running out of the I-formation is almost non-existent. I love this new-look offense, but I’m old-fashioned and love old-school football. The Bears offense will have more success if Howard is more successful. Words spoken from a retired running back. More Howard more success for all. The one thing that we’ve seen through two weeks of the new season is that Allen Robinson is the real deal. He finished the night with 10 catches for 83 yards on a team high 14 targets. Those are not eye-popping numbers. But, like last week, Robinson established that he can be Trubisky’s go-to guy. Their relationship and chemistry will only grow as the season moves along. What I see is a guy that is fully healed from a knee injury and ready to make plays for the orange and blue.
Now we get to talk about the Bears’ defense! One thing’s for sure: The Bears’ defense is real, and they will only get better as the year goes on. This is a scary unit and they terrified Russell Wilson all night on Monday. Vic Fangio’s unit sacked Wilson 6 times, 5 of those coming in the first half. If it wasn’t pressure coming off the edges, it was blitzes coming at Wilson all night. I have to say, watching Khalil Mack live is pretty amazing. Standing on the sideline before the game, I was watching him warming up and said to myself, “I’m so glad he’s on my favorite team.” He was unblockable Monday night at Soldier Field. When he forced the fumble, he benched pressed the tackle into Wilson so he could knock the ball out of his hand. He has injected a new level of swagger into this Bears defense. Teaming up Mack and Akiem Hicks is a thing of beauty. You have two guys that blow up the opposing offensive line. This list goes on for the defense. I’m also a huge Danny Trevathan fan. That guy can ball! Trevathan had two of the Bears six sacks on the night. I cannot wait to see how Trevathan and Roquan Smith gel together as the season progresses. What I would like to see is a Leonard Floyd sighting next week because the former first round pick has been nowhere to be found. My hope was that Mack’s addition would free Floyd up more, but that hasn’t been the case. With that being said, the sky is the limit for how good the defense can be.
One thing that stands out is the Bears’ inability to hold on to a lead. They did find a way to pull out a win on Monday night, which is comforting. Next week in Arizona, I would like to see the Bears play a solid four quarters of football. I have to say the vibe at Soldier Field was unreal! The fans were waving their towels and making noise. It is a far cry from how the stadium was at the end of last season. People are excited, and they should be, but there has to be a splash of patience in there somewhere. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will this Bears squad. My son has me playing this game, Hay Day, on my iPhone now. When I started playing, I would go back and check my crops a minute after planting them. My son told me something: “Dad, you just planted your corn, give it a minute.” Bears fans, I’m going to tell you something like my six-year-old son told me: “We just started this season, don’t doubt the process, give it a minute.” Same time, same place, next week Bears fans. #Beardown