Let’s be real, Bears fans. The last two weeks have been brutal, coming so close in losses to Miami and New England. Would Matt Nagy and company be able to muster up a win after back-to-back losses and stop the bleeding? They would accomplish that by beating the Jets 24-10. The win may not have been pretty, but the Bears defeated a Jets team that they were supposed to beat. Let’s jump into my takeaways and evaluations from Sunday’s victory over the Jets.
Another week in the books, so that means it’s time for the Mitchell Trubisky report. First, his stat line and then we’ll break it down from there. Trubisky was 16 of 29 for 220 yards through the air and no interceptions. He would also carry the ball 6 times on the day for 51 yards. With the wind swirling around Solider Field, we didn’t see the usual deep passing game. I saw a tweet from ESPN Stats that said Trubisky failed to complete a pass 10 plus yards downfield in the opening 30 minutes of the game. Even with the short and intermediate passes, Trubisky struggled at times to hit his targets. That has been an issue that has shown up throughout his 2018 film thus far. His ability to use his legs to get out of trouble was on display on Sunday as well. Trubisky has rushed for at least 47 yards in four consecutive games. Trubisky did make corrections and came out more efficient in the second half. Sunday wasn’t Tubisky’s greatest outing. But he keeps showing us those flashes that we hope can be more consistent as the season moves on.
The Bears have had their fair share of problems putting together a consistent running game all season. Both Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen have been sharing time in the backfield. With that, it’s been hard for Nagy to get a balanced attack from his two-headed monster. On Sunday, the Bears had 34 rushing attempts. 22 of those came from Howard, who would finish the game with 81 yards and a touchdown. Howard didn’t have a big-time game, but he was efficient and gave the Bears offense some stability.
Cohen shined once again as he had 110 yards combined receiving and rushing, with 40 of those yards coming on the ground on 5 carries. Cohen’s only reception of the day was a big one. In the first quarter, 2nd & 10 at Bears 30, the Jets came with a zero blitz. Cohen found his way through the traffic in the A gap on the line and took a screen pass 70 yards for a touchdown. It was good to see both backs have success on the day. The Bears will need more of that if they want sit atop the division and stay there.
I have a couple more things I need to get off my chest about the running game and then I’m done. I still think we need to see more of Howard and Cohen on the field at the same time. I understand Nagy’s offense. But I would love to see Howard get the ball more out of the I-formation, like we saw a couple times on Sunday. Get him back in his element while making the opposing defenses work harder during the week to prepare for more variety.
In the 4th quarter with 8:23 on the clock, Howard took a hand-off for 24 yards. One thing’s for sure: As the weather starts to shift, the Bears will have to grind out games while controlling it on the ground. That’s where Howard is highly valuable.
The Bears defense stepped up and had a bounce-back game after last week’s loss to the Patriots. It was great to see their ability to wipe out the Jets running-game all day. Vic Fangio’s guys held the Jets to just 54 yards on the ground. The Bears defense didn’t get the sack we have been accustomed to seeing. But they did find a way to generate pressure to make rookie QB Sam Darnold feel uneasy in the pocket at times. They did all of that without Khalil Mack, who was inactive with his ankle injury. Best-case scenario, Mack sits out this week against the Bills and makes his return for the division games after. Sound good, Bears fans? OK then, let’s move on.
The Bears found a way to win a game. It wasn’t pretty, but they got the job done. During a long season, you’ll have games like the one on Sunday. When you’re the team that is most likely going to win the game, you win the game by any means necessary. The W in the win column looks the same if you blow a team out or win by the skin of your teeth. This Bears team is far from a finished product. But the culture they are creating is so much fun to be around. This team knows they have a ways to go, but they feel like something special is on the horizon. The next thing on the Bears’ plate is the Bills. They will end their AFC East competition and then it’s divisional games against the Lions and Vikings. There are a lot of games left on the schedule. But, like old saying goes, let’s take it one game at a time. See you next week, Bears fans. #BearDown