Short-Handed Bears Beat Lions, Cement Lead Atop NFC North

| November 23rd, 2018

Not the most compelling game ever played but the kind of result good teams get. The Bears played three division games in twelve days and went 3-0, outscoring the Lions (twice) and Vikings 82-58.

This three-game stretch solidified them as one of the better teams in the NFC and it would now be a terrible disappointment if there was not a football game at Soldier Field in January. 

Rapid fire…

  • Chase Daniel did everything a team can ask from their backup quarterback. He moved the offense. He avoided crippling errors. Was he good? Not really. Even the touchdowns/big plays were not well-thrown balls. But he got the job done. In the modern NFL, teams need a backup QB that can hold down the fort and win some games for 2-3 weeks every season. With Daniel, the Bears have that.
  • 3rd and 1. Early second quarter. Stafford rolled to his left and had about six minutes to find an open receiver to move the chains. Why? Khalil Mack was floating in coverage. (And “floating” is the accurate word.) This is what Fangio’s defense is. Understood. But without a healthy Aaron Lynch, and with Leonard Floyd struggling to get to the quarterback, not allowing the game’s best edge rusher to rush from the edge feels negligent.
  • As Andrew pointed out on Twitter, the Bears were awful on 2nd and long all game, giving up chunk plays in the air and on the ground. This will be a focal point before they head to the Meadowlands.
  • Eddie Jackson has to be in the conversation now for DPOY now. Right now the award is Aaron Donald’s to lose, mostly because of Mack’s earlier injuries, but no defender has made more big plays in 2018 than Jackson.
  • Every week Roquan Smith makes another play. And every week it becomes more apparent Smith is going to be in the middle of the Bears defense for a long, long time.
  • The running game, or lack thereof, will be a major talking point over the next ten days. But look no further than Matt Nagy’s two-point conversion call to understand why that element is struggling. With an inaccurate backup QB, Nagy called a pass. And not just a pass. A quick, bubble screen that required timing and pinpoint ball placement. Despite what the head coach tells reporters, the answer is simple. The Bears don’t run the ball because the Bears don’t want to run the ball.
  • Taquan Mizzell is more valuable to Nagy than Jordan Howard.

  • Trey Burton did not have his best afternoon. Fumble. Dropped pass. Brutal (and wrong) holding call. His worst game as a Bear by a wide margin.

Highlights Package

  • Jim Bob Cooter took over this game in the third quarter, moving Kenny Golladay across the formation and matching him up with Roquan and Bryce Callahan – both mismatches. Fangio’s elite secondary bailed him out. So did the opposing quarterback.
  • Matthew Stafford’s cap hit in 2018 is $26.5 million. Kirk Cousins’ cap hit in 2018 is $24 million. If don’t have “the guy”, don’t pay “the guy” money. Both of these big money quarterbacks made the crucial, game-deciding mistakes in the big moment. Mitch Trubisky and Chase Daniel did not.
  • LeGarrette Blount’s physical running style was an issue for the Bears defense, especially down around the goal line. Why did the Lions get away from it late in the game?
  • Play-calling on the go-ahead drive end of third quarter, start of fourth was simply exceptional stuff. Bears were probably a three-and-out from losing the game and instead took the ball the length of the field and kept the Lions guessing on every single play.
  • James Daniels carrying Tarik Cohen over the line to gain to ice the contest might be my favorite image of the game.

And now, Club Dub…

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