The other day in our Preview we asked which animal would win a fight to the death out in the wild jungle…..a bear or a bengal tiger. Based on the unofficial count of 3 votes for bengal tigers and 2 votes for grizzly bears, the “Dutch Lion” went ahead and picked the Bengals to win by a ‘closer than the experts think’ 13-10 score. On Sunday, our raging debate was answered. A bear would most definitely win!
The Chicago Bears (4-9) went into Cincinnati’s jungle, Paul Brown Stadium, and beat the tar out of the Bengals (5-8) by a score of 33-7. The Bears probably played their best game of the season. Meanwhile, the Bengals looked like they had been shot by a tranquilizer gun in their hind quarters. They sleepwalked through Sunday afternoon while the Bears looked surprisingly spry.
It was refreshing for a change to see a team other than the Bears look dismayed while dealing with multiple injuries. Chicago had plenty of their own injuries but somehow worked past it. Rookie QB #10 Mitch Trubisky probably played his best game yet of his young career while the ground game worked magically despite RG #75 Kyle Long being out with an injury or three. Everything clicked on Sunday.
Will the coaching staff keep their jobs past Black Monday? They might. Will GM Ryan Pace decide that this staff must be overhauled despite what happened on Sunday and what will happen over the remaining three games? He may. For all we know, he already has a successor picked out. Maybe he already has a tentative agreement in place. Or maybe he’s just waiting to see what transpires down the stretch. What if the Bears keep playing this way and finish at 7-9 with a four game winning streak going into the offseason? Too little too late…….or a sign of better days ahead?
RB #24 Jordan Howard – 23-147-2 rushing; 1-8-0 on 2 targets; Howard ran like a beast on Sunday. Of course, the Bengals laid down like a tired 4-year-old at the airport but……Still, Howard was incredible. What a strange year it has been for Howard. So inconsistent! This is much more a statement on the Bears offensive line, the play calling, and the rhythm of the game than anything Howard is doing. Howard is very consistent in one regard. He had his customary drop as usual. Doesn’t it seem like he has one drop EVERY game?
WR #13 Kendall Wright – 10 catches, 107 yards, on 11 targets. Awesome game for Trubisky’s #1 target.
TE #87 Adam Shaheen – 4-44-1 on 5 targets. Shaheen is continuing to develop chemistry with Trubisky. Shaheen’s size makes him very hard to defend, especially in the end zone. He’s going to score plenty of TD’s before his career is over.
CB #23 Kyle Fuller – 3 tackles, 3 PBU’s, excellent coverage. Fuller has really shown me something this season. He’s had an off game or two, but usually he’s very solid and at times he’s excellent. This was one of the “excellent” games. His tackling in run support was good as usual. He covered WR’s like #8 A.J. Green like a manhole cover over a street tunnel. On the year he has 64 tackles, 1 interception, and 16 PBU’s. He’s becoming a guy that Ryan Pace will probably want to extend with a new contract now that his 4 year rookie contract expires at the end of this season.
CB #20 Prince Amukamara – Prince had one of his best games of the season against the Bengals. He was credited with 6 tackles and 1 PBU. Overall, he was very solid in defending against QB Andy Dalton and company.
Player of the Game
QB #10 Mitch Trubisky – 25-32-271-1-0 passing; sacked twice, no turnovers, 2-5-1 rushing. Mitch was unreal in this game. He played like a poised veteran. His numbers earned him a 112.4 rating, his second highest of the season, just under last week’s 117.2. For the season he has now upped his rating to 80.0 which is 27th overall in the NFL. Just ahead of him on that list are Cam Newton, Jay Cutler, and Eli Manning. Just below him are Joe Flacco, Brett Hundley, and Marcus Mariota. Interesting…….I am very excited about Tru’s future! He’s got the work ethic, the leadership capabilities, the mobility, the strong arm, and the moxie to become a very good to great NFL quarterback. Just wait for Mitch to progress and you will be so impressed. The Bears have a franchise quarterback! How good does it feel to say that! And from all accounts, he’s a great kid. #Pumped!
- In our “Watch Out For” feature in last week’s Preview we tagged Jordan Howard and wrote, “Look for Chicago to establish the run and force feed the ball to Howard.” Also, we wrote about Cincinnati’s 28th ranked run defense, “……..[it is their] one weakness. They are poor against the run.”
- Jordan Howard carried the ball 23 times as the Bears established the running game and dominated the Bengals, taking advantage of their poor run defense. GOOD!
- “[The Dutch Lion] does have concerns about Cincinnati taking the Bears too lightly, especially after the wild game on MNF which included injuries, suspensions due to targeting, and a Bengals team record 13 penalties for 173 yards! Wo! It was just a dirty rivalry game all the way around.”
- It looked like the Bengals were a wounded animal on their last gasp of air. They had no energy, no motivation, no reason for playing the game. The Bears took advantage of 7 penalties and 2 turnovers by Cincinnati. In a reversal of Chicago’s previous game, they dominated time of possession (38:09 minutes to 21:51) and number of plays (72-53). GOOD!
- “Take Cincinnati to win S/U (straight up) but not ATS (against the spread).” [The spread was Cincinnati by 6.5 points.]Cincinnati Bengals 13 Chicago Bears 10″
Chicago Bears 33 Cincinnati Bengals 7 BAD PREDICTION! At least we won ATS.
Bears Record : 4-9
Dutch Lion’s Record : 6-7
Next up : The Bears travel to Detroit for a rare Saturday game looking for revenge after their loss to the Lions in Week 10. Look for our Preview later this week.