The Chicago Bears were victorious on Sunday afternoon on a beautiful day Soldier Field. They beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-17 in OT, shoving it to all the haters, the non-believers, the media, the rest of the NFL, etc. They proved to themselves that they could do it. Don’t get me wrong, the Bears tried as hard as they could to blow the early lead and the game, but in the end, the running game prevailed over an emotionally absent Pittsburgh team.
It’s gotta feel sweet in that Bears locker room. This was a case of “us against the world”. The entire Chicagoland area, the fan base, the media, basically the whole NFL has been blasting the Bears in general, GM Ryan Pace, HC John Fox, OC Dowell Loggains, and QB Mike Glennon for their roster decisions, playing decisions, play-calling, and execution. Much of it is deserved. But don’t forget about all the positive things happening at Halas Hall.
The media is so fickle. Their negative rants about the quarterback situation linger over the entire fan base. They sway the thinking of the common fan. In truth, this Bears team is better than the media wants you to believe. Funny thing is, now that the Bears won a game, you read the papers and turn on the TV and all of a sudden there is playoff talk. Oh brother! The media just kills me. That’s one of the reasons I write about this team. The “Dutch Lion” is here to give you the truth. For example……
MEDIA MYTH – There is a QB controversy. All the media seems to focus on is getting rookie QB #10 Mitch Trubisky in the game. They are the ones creating a controversy, not the players or coaches.
FACT – There is NO QB controversy. Pace and Fox make the decisions and I believe they are sticking with QB #8 Mike Glennon for most, if not all of 2017.
MEDIA MYTH – GM Ryan Pace has no clue what he’s doing with the roster management, mainly with his Draft decisions.
FACT – GM Ryan Pace is doing a fine job increasing the talent on this Bears team both via the Draft and through free agency. Sure he has made some mistakes, like any GM. However, look at all the great talents he and his scouts have found over the last three NFL drafts: C #65 Cody Whitehair, OLB #94 Leonard Floyd, RB #24 Jordan Howard, rookie RB #29 Tarik Cohen, rookie TE #87 Adam Shaheen (1st career TD on Sunday), and injured WR #81 Cameron Meredith to name just a few.
MEDIA MYTH – Coach John Fox will be fired unless he has an 8-8 record minimum, maybe even a playoff berth.
FACT – Unless the media has been told by GM Ryan Pace, they are making this up. They are guessing and assuming things based on their own preconceived notions, their impatience, and their interest in firing up the fan base. In reality, the only person/people who know the truth are Pace and Fox. My personal guess is even THEY don’t know yet. Either Pace is totally fine with Fox’s performance based on his own talent acquisitions as well as the bad luck with the injuries and will therefore keep Fox……..OR, maybe he does in fact have a minimum W/L requirement for Fox to keep his job……..OR, maybe Fox will just be tired of coaching this team and he’ll retire unless the W/L record improves. Bottom line, the media THINKS they know, but they DON’T KNOW.
Anyway, let’s get to the tape and review Sunday’s big win:
CB #23 Kyle Fuller – For the second week in a row, we’re giving Fuller a Game Ball for his coverage on Pittsburgh’s big play WR’s Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant. Fuller recorded 5 tackles and 2 PBU’s while helping the other two Bears CB’s (#31 Marcus Cooper and #20 Prince Amukamara) in a 3 man rotation. Overall, these 3 CB’s played really solid football against some excellent deep threats.
RB #29 Tarik Cohen – It’s pretty obvious after 3 games that Cohen is a legitimate NFL playmaker. Sure he had that bad game last week in Tampa including the fumbled punt return. But when OC Dowell Loggains uses him correctly, watch out! Cohen had 12 carries for 78 yards and 4 catches on 4 targets for 24 yards. If not for a close call on the sidelines, Cohen would’ve had the game-winning TD in OT. Of course, Cohen coughed up the ball again but luckily it was recovered by……..
RT #70 Bobby Massie, which was a huge pounce by the way. Massie and the entire Offensive Line deserve Game Balls just for that, much less his solid run blocking and pass protection. Along with his Offensive Line mates, the Bears ran for 220 yards on 38 carries (5.8 avg). Wow! It was nice having RG #75 Kyle Long back for the 1st time since his injury in last year’s Tampa game.
CB/ST #27 Sherrick McManis – McManis is an underrated special teamer. He might get noticed around the league after what he did Sunday. It might even propel him to the Pro Bowl at the end of this year. McManis blocked the FG at the end of the 1st half. He also recovered the muffed punt in the 1st quarter which gave the Bears the early momentum.
CB #31 Marcus Cooper – ??????????????????????? Do I need to expound? As you’d imagine, Cooper’s boneheaded play led off the “C’mon Man!” segment on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. If I were a coach, and I’ve been saying this for at least a decade, I would coach my players to always run ALL the way to the back of the end zone before slowing down or releasing the ball. Cooper is/was a moron on this play. What was he thinking? If you ever watch ABC’s sitcom “The Goldbergs”, as you watched this play you were reminded of Mr. Murray Goldberg’s (played by Chicago native Jeff Garlin) common phrase when speaking to his kids, “Don’t be a moron!” I wish Marcus Cooper watched this show.
Player of the Game
RB #24 Jordan Howard – Questions were creeping in after the first two games when Howard had a rocky start. On Sunday, Howard looked determined. He ran angry. The OL was pumped to block for him. The OC was focused on getting Howard the ball. And look what happened! Howard had 138 rushing yards on 23 carries (6.0 avg) and 2 TD’s. He also caught 5 passes for 26 yards on 5 targets. That’s 28 touches for a guy that was in obvious pain. His shoulder injury kept popping up and Howard had to leave several times but he kept returning to the game because the Bears needed him. Howard gets my “Player of the Game” Award for the 1st time in 2017 after earning it twice last year.
In our “All The Right Moves” Preview, we wrote:
“I still think this Chicago Bears team is good. The injuries are killers but Chicago can and will rebound. For some reason, I believe in this team more than almost anyone and everyone else in the country. The “Dutch Lion” might be nuts, but he’s calling for an upset.
Chicago Bears 20, Pittsburgh Steelers 17
Needless to say, the “Dutch Lion” is elated over Sunday’s outcome. He is now 2-1 in the young season, winning 9 of his last 10 Bears predictions going back to last year! Remember how we addressed the media earlier in this column? Let’s show the Chicago newspapers predictions for both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times:
The “expert” Chicago sportswriters: 0-12. The “Dutch Lion”: 1-0.
I applaud much of their work. I think Brad Biggs man for man is excellent, but their shortcomings must be acknowledged sometimes too. You know, in the quest of truth and fairness we must point out their foibles.
Despite the many accolades the “Dutch Lion” has deservedly received, Chicago’s 23-17 victory puts added pressure on the “Lion’s” next pick at Green Bay. That’s right, the Bears now go to Lambeau Field on a short week of preparation for a Thursday night tilt at the Packers. Look for my Preview on Wednesday or Thursday prior to game time.