The Chicago Bears (3-1) throttled Tampa Bay (2-2) 48-10 Sunday afternoon. The potential of HC Matt Nagy and QB Mitchell Trubisky was on full display. The offense and defense organized a clinic on how to stop a high profile Bucs offense while exploiting its porous defense.
Chicago needed this win on so many levels to solidify its case atop the NFC North Division. The meltdown in Week One haunted them in Green Bay (2-1-1). In Week Two, the offense fizzled late against Seattle (2-2). In Week Three, Arizona (0-4) kept the game close by stifling DaBear offense. But this week, Trubisky and Nagy’s offensive unit made a statement, scoring at-will throughout, punting only twice in 60 minutes.
The Bears offensive players earned their paycheck, as five different players were on the receiving end of Trubisky’s touchdown attack in the first half alone. It started with a beautiful 39-yard TD pass to a wide open TE Trey Burton on the opening drive and ended with a three-yard shuffle pass to WR Taylor Gabriel with almost five minutes left in the half. This performance helped legitimize a once controversial trade to move up from three to two in the Draft for Trubisky two short years ago. Somewhere GM Ryan Pace is smiling with confidence for his dealings.
Trubisky finished with a passer rating of 154.6, only missing on seven total passes while throwing for 354 yards and six touchdowns, both career highs. He had never thrown more than two touchdowns until this point. He contributed to breakout performances from WR Taylor Gabriel and RB Tarik Cohen. Each finished with seven receptions, over 100-yards receiving and a touchdown (Gabriel finished with two).
“I knew all week long he was going to have a good game,” HC Nagy via chicagobears.com
The defense was business as usual, holding the #1 passing offense to 251 yards while collecting three more interceptions and four more sacks. This unit has forced a QB switch for poor performances in two straight weeks. The Bears currently lead the league with 18 sacks and move into second in interceptions with eight.
The squad was led by none other than OLB Khalil Mack, who is making a strong early case for Defensive Player of the Year. He earned another sack and a forced fumble in this one, making that four straight games with one of each.
Rookie DE Bilal Nichols added to the destruction combining with DE Roy Robertson-Harris for a sack. He stood out again with a beautiful swim move to earn a huge tackle for a loss. DE Akiem Hicks and OLB Aaron Lynch added a sack apiece. Stand-out second-year safety Eddie Jackson added another interception to his tally (2) to go along with a pass defensed.
The only blemish in this game came early in the first half when a scuffle started near mid-field and Hicks was ejected for pushing a referee during the melee. But the depth of the squad shined in his absence.
“It feels really good to sit here with a smile on my face,” veteran OL Kyle Long shared with ESPN.com’s Emily Kaplan. “For the last five, six years I’ve been saying, ‘We’re getting better, we’re getting better, we’re young. We’re going to get there.’ And you could see it. But now you guys get to see what I’m seeing. It feels good. The secret is out.”
The Bears head into the Bye Week with an opportunity to rest and recover before heading to South Beach to face former OC, now HC Adam Gase and his Dolphins (3-1). One thing is for certain – Chicago has revitalized a fan base and the Monsters of the Midway are here to stay.
Until next time, stay thirsty. JT out!