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It’s on, George

I hadn’t really considered the schedule when the season started but the Bears are actually matched up against George R.R. Martin’s Jets this week.  George has been lamenting the fact that his rookie QB is prone to turnovers, which will hopefully play right into the hands of a Bears defense that has been out of sorts in our past two losses.  Simply put we’ve forgotten how to tackle and gave up too many big plays on both defense and special teams that have cost us victories against the Dolphins and the Patriots.  Trubisky is still showing an uncomfortable tendency to be INACCURATE AF but what’s more concerning is he continues to throw right into coverages when we’re in the red zone; opposing defenses have dropped more passes than they’ve intercepted, meaning his stats should actually be worse.  And yet, the offense kept us in the game against the Pats despite our other two phases performing poorly.

Our division is way too tough this year to think that losing these past two games won’t hurt us but I guess there is consolation in the fact that we’ve been close in every contest.  I like the culture that Nagy seems to be building so let’s hope the tough losses end up making the team more resilient down the road.

Ok, the Bears have potential

So after our Bears barely eked out a victory in game 3 against the lowly Arizona Cardinals I was actually feeling pretty apprehensive about the rest of the season.  Instead of showing growth Trubisky had easily his worst game this year—numerous inaccurate throws, multiple turnovers, and worst of all a complete inability to read a defense and improvise when a play breaks down.

And then game 4 happened.  The Bears demolished the Buccaneers 48-10, producing the most deliriously amazing first half of a Bears game I have ever seen. This was the performance they needed, not only for the fans but for themselves—almost every play Nagy called was delightfully unstoppable, and for the first time our staunch defense got to wreak havoc with a healthy lead.

No, I’m not crazy enough to think that throwing six touchdowns against a pretty weak defense proves Mitch is the real thing.  But in terms of a positive signal and a confidence-building experience it doesn’t get much better.  If the offense can continue to improve and everyone stays healthy we actually have a chance of being one of the more complete teams in the league.

But there’s a lot more football to play, obviously.  There will be more ups and downs.  And yes I’m worried the early bye week this year might interrupt our momentum but boy does it feel good to go into a bye with a blowout win.

Football is back

Inspired by the fact that George R.R. Martin blogs about the Giants and Jets on a regular basis, I’m gonna try to post some regular thoughts on the Bears week to week.

Our beloved Chicago Bears had more hype than normal going into this season—the hiring of an aggressive young coach in Matt Nagy, a slew of free agent signings, a decent new draft class—and then they went for broke and traded for Khalil Mack, one of the premiere defensive players in the league.  Against my better judgment I found myself impossibly hyped for this past Sunday’s prime time opener against our archrivals the Packers.

Deep down I was still just praying for a close game—I knew the Bears were probably too inexperienced across the board to win such a tough opener on the road—but when we led 17-0 at halftime and Aaron Rodgers had sustained what looked like a season-ending injury I was ready to believe anything: we’d scored a touchdown on our opening drive, there were more offensive playmakers on the field wearing Bears uniforms than I can ever remember seeing and Nagy’s creative play-calling had me literally laughing out loud in delight at times.  Most incredibly, Khalil Mack looked like he was worth twice the steep price we’d paid for him.

And then, as everyone knows, the bottom fell out.  Rodgers came back in the most dramatic fashion possible (literally playing on one leg) and the Packers won the game 24-23.  It was excruciating to witness but there were so many missed opportunities to close out this game that I do feel like it just wasn’t meant to be.  The innovative play-calling disappeared and we got way too conservative on offense.  The Packers adjusted to our pass rush.  Trubisky thought he was a running back instead of a quarterback.  Our defense couldn’t tackle any receiver after a catch, or catch any ball thrown directly at them.

But ultimately it’s okay.  We were closer than anyone thought we’d be in our first game of the year.  We’re in such a tough division that even making the playoffs will be tough, so what matters this year is that the team gets better every week.  Yes, it stings extra that the way we lost only adds to the Packers’ and Rodgers’ legacy.  Yes, I’m worried about the depth of Nagy’s playbook and the lack of experience overall.  Yes, the jury’s still out on Trubisky as a franchise quarterback.   But there were also enough encouraging moments to think the potential is real.  Let’s see what happens next week against the Seahawks.