Sunday’s game at Soldier Field was ultra weird. What a strange game! It was kinda fun, very exciting……at times, kinda frustrating, kind of embarrassing. Yet the Chicago Bears won their second game in a row, moving to 3-4 on the season by beating the Carolina Panthers, who fell to 4-3.
Carolina moved the ball more than Chicago did for virtually the entire game. They had possession of the ball most of the game. The time of possession edge was 38 minutes to 21. The Panthers had 20 First Downs. The Bears put up only five First Downs! QB #10 Mitch Trubisky completed 4 of 7 passes. That’s it!
So how did the Bears win? By winning the turnover battle three to zero and returning two of those takeaways for touchdowns. That and the Bears suffocating defense dominated the game. Overall, it was, it was……..it was simply nuts!
The entire Bears Defense led by DC Vic Fangio – I know what you’re thinking. This Bears defense is starting to bring back shades of Lovie’s greatest defenses starring Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, Charles Tillman, Mike Brown, Alex Brown, etc. Ironically, this realization is hitting us as we just played against Lovie’s old DC Ron Rivera as he’s now moved on to Carolina’s Head Coach. To take it a step further, this current Bears defense is even resembling the 80s Bears defenses in which Ron Rivera played (you know, the greatest defenses of all time!). Again, I know what you’re thinking, “HOLD YOUR HORSES Dutch Lion!” I agree with you, but look at the last two weeks. In these last two games against the Ravens and Panthers, the Bears D has given up 14 points total: 3 FG’s by Justin Tucker last week plus a 2 point conversion by Flacco to Boyle in the Ravens game and 1 FG by Graham Gano in the Panthers game. That’s 7 ppg allowed if you’re scoring at home (I know you are). Meanwhile, the Bears D has scored 3 times accounting for 21 points on their own over these two games by gaining 6 takeaways and 8 sacks of Flacco and Cam Newton. What! These are incredible numbers. They certainly won’t continue as such but the point is, this Bears defense is underrated and getting better.
ILB #52 Christian Jones – Jones is filling in for #50 Jerrell Freeman and/or #44 Nick Kwiatkoski. So what did he do as a 3rd stringer? He led the team with 11 tackles, 1.5 of which were TFL’s. Very good game. Let’s give a ‘Game Ball’ to Jones.
OLB #94 Leonard Floyd – If you’re a religious reader of the Dutch Lion, you know how highly I think of Lenny Floyd. You know I’ve been thinking since his Draft Day that he’s a future superstar. Well guess what? I think the Future is now! Floyd has been so much more consistent in his sophomore year. Recently, Fangio is putting him in great position to rush the passer and cause mayhem. Needless to say, it’s working. Floyd caused havoc on Sunday making 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 QB hits. I actually think he was deserving of more sacks but sometimes the guy that actually causes the sack doesn’t get credit. That’s ok. It helps everybody else. 5 sacks for the entire D this week were largely the result of Floyd and his supreme pass rush skills. Floyd is easily the most fun guy to watch on the Bears. Enjoy him!
CB #23 Kyle Fuller – The biggest surprise of the Bears thus far this season, Fuller is making a name for himself once again, for the first time since his rookie season. It must be a contract year for Fuller. He’s playing excellent football at the CB position. His coverage is tight. His tackling is solid. His attitude is great. On Sunday he made 5 tackles and recorded 1 PBU. His presence at corner is a big reason for the D’s recent success.
DT #91 Eddie Goldman – Eddie doesn’t get talked about enough but his contributions need to be acknowledged. Goldman is a run-stuffer. On Sunday he had 6 tackles (5 solo), 0.5 sacks, and 1 QB hit. Like Floyd, his presence is undeniable. He’s a big part of the D’s success too. All these guys are. That’s why I’m handing out so many ‘Game Balls’ this week.
ILB #59 Danny Trevathan – One more ‘Game Ball’ goes to Danny Trevathan. As my long-time readers know, I’m a big fan of Trevathan too. I actually was a big fan of his before he was signed to Chicago. I liked him on Denver. Going further back, I even liked him when he was on Kentucky in his college days. In Denver, he was the leader of those two Super Bowl teams in 2013 and ’15. GM Ryan Pace got a great ILB to lead this team over the last two years. On Sunday, Trevathan produced again, totaling 4 tackles, 1 sack, 1 interception, 2 QB hits, and 2 PBU’s. Now that’s filling the box score!
Player of the Game
S #39 Eddie Jackson (Starring as 2001 Bears S #30 Mike Brown)- Despite all of those great performances that deserved ‘Game Balls’ this week, there was really only one guy we could name as ‘Player of the Game’. Eddie Jackson is that guy. After breaking his leg one year to the day prior to Sunday’s game, Eddie came out there against Carolina and proved how much hard work can pay off. Jackson recorded 4 tackles and 1 PBU. More importantly, he returned not one but two takeaways into 75 and 76 yard Touchdowns! Isn’t that nuts!?! It truly was a performance for the ages. Nobody in NFL history had ever done that before, scoring twice on defense in the same game from 75+ yards. For me, it brought back shades of 2001 when my favorite player S #30 Mike Brown returned interceptions for TD’s in back-to-back weeks. If memory serves one was against San Francisco and the other was Cleveland. Let me look it up quickly………Yep! Check out this fantastic video:
Wow! That 2001 season was an underrated season in Chicago Bears history…….the lore of 2001 lives on 2017! (Thanks to NFL Films and Youtube)
In last week’s Preview, I wrote:
“Don’t get me wrong, this game could be awesome! I love the possible confrontations between Bears pass rushers such as #94 Leonard Floyd getting tangled up with Cam Newton. Funny thing is, Cam probably outweighs Floyd! It might be fascinating.
Nonetheless, as of Thursday morning’s Chicago Tribune, Carolina is favored by 3. I just think Carolina is a better team right now. I’ll take Carolina with the points.
Carolina Panthers 21 Chicago Bears 13″
I’m happy to report I was wrong. Like most Chicago media, we all picked against the Bears again except for two writers out of 13 (including “Dutch Lion”). Congratulations to Dan Wiederer from the Chicago Tribune and Adam L. Jahns from the Chicago Sun-Times for correctly predicting a Bears victory.
Chicago Bears record: 3-4
Dutch Lion’s record: 4-3
Next: Chicago travels to New Orleans to take on the Saints in an NFC battle. Can the Bears win a third game in a row? Will Dutch Lion predict a victory? Look for my Preview later this week. Until then, enjoy this recent Bears success. Go Bears!