The Chicago Bears (5-11) finally finished the long 2017 season by losing at the NFC North Champion Minnesota Vikings (13-3) by a score of 23-10. Let’s get straight to a quick recap of this season finale that was played on New Year’s Eve.
WR #17 Dontrelle Inman – One of the few bright spots for the Bears offense on Sunday was Dontrelle Inman. Inman was a mid-season acquisition by GM Ryan Pace. He’s had his ups and downs but against the Vikings he may have posted his best game in a Bears uniform. Inman caught 5 passes from QB #10 Mitch Trubisky for 94 yards on 10 targets. He ran some really solid post routes and deep seam routes. Trubisky has shown his talent on those types of throws in his rookie season. With an offseason and preseason of work together, these two players might mesh to form a solid duo in 2018. Inman is probably one of the few WR’s that will return next year, in our opinion. I guess if you include Kevin White and Cameron Meredith, there are 3 returning WR’s. Other than those three guys, I don’t see anyone else returning. Maybe Kendall Wright as a slot receiver in addition to the others mentioned, or maybe instead of one of those guys. It’s time to clean up this always inconsistent, usually underperforming unit. That means getting rid of Josh Bellamy and Marcus Wheaton for sure, along with Tre McBride and Deonte Thompson who have already been waived.
OLB #93 Sam Acho – Another solid game for Acho as he recorded 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 Sack, 1 PBU, and 3 QB hits. He provided intense pressure on Vikings QB Case Keenum, often forcing throwaways. Acho has really stepped up in place of the injured Leonard Floyd, Willie Young, and Pernell McPhee.
K #1 Mike Nugent – Nugent is the 3rd kicker for the Bears this season. Did he do enough to be considered as the 2018 starting kicker? In this game, he drilled a 55 yard FG! He also made his only PAT. Nugent is 35 years old and has been a journeyman. He’s kicked for the Jets, Cardinals, Buccaneers, Bengals, Cowboys, and now Bears. He had some really good years but would you believe that his 55 yarder at Minnesota was his career long? Since teams don’t usually draft kickers, I bet Nugent will get a crack at the job in next Summer’s Training Camp in Bourbonnais along with several other free agents.
Player of the Game
S #38 Adrian Amos – Adrian Amos was seemingly EVERYWHERE on Sunday. It might have been the best game Amos has ever played. Amos totaled 11 tackles, 7 of which were solo tackles. He also recorded 2 TFL’s. Talk about making a statement going into the offseason! Amos solidified his future with not only this one game, but his overall 2017 season also. His season totals: 69 tackles, 2 FF, 1 FR, 1 INT for a 90 yard TD, and 3 PBU’s. Lining up next to rookie S #39 Eddie Jackson (who also had 11 tackles in this game), maybe the Bears have finally figured out their starting safeties.
In last week’s Preview, we Predicted:
“Will the Vikings “blood eagle” the Bears? More or less, I think they will……The “Dutch Lion” is calling for a Minnesota win on New Year’s Eve. Take the Vikings S/U and probably ATS also…………Minnesota Vikings 28 Chicago Bears 13″
RESULT: Minnesota Vikings 23 Chicago Bears 10
Solid prediction by the “Dutch Lion”, even though I saw no evidence of a Blood Eagle. However, he was right both S/U and ATS (Minny was favored by 11 points). He had the Bears losing by 15 and they lost by 13. Very well done.
Bears 2017 Record : 5-11
Dutch Lion’s 2017 Season Record : 9-7 (Ended on a 3 game winning streak)
Bears 2016 Record : 3-13
Dutch Lion’s 2016 Season Record : 10-6 (Ended on a 7 game winning streak)
So that’s it for 2017. Next year will be a better year. Trust me. The Bears are headed in the right direction, which is up in the standings. There’s plenty of good young talent on this roster. Give Pace another solid draft and give Trubisky a full offseason of work and we’re looking at real improvement next year. Can the Bears stay healthy next season for the first time since at least 2015? Can Chicago catch any breaks?
Once again the Bears will have the 4th place schedule, which is SUPPOSED to be easy. Instead, our 4th place schedule this year turned out to be the HARDEST schedule in the league, according to opponent’s winning percentage. I know! How typical of our luck. How typical of John Fox’s bad luck. Can this guy catch a break? Well, not with Chicago. He was fired on Black Monday, New Year’s Day.
It’s a shame really. The guy did plenty of good things but all the injuries and the schedule just didn’t allow him and the Bears to get over the hump. It’s all gonna change……soon. Unfortunately for Fox, it will change for a new coach. Fortunately for Bears fans, we’re gonna reap the benefits nonetheless.
But who will be the new coach? GM Ryan Pace will be around through at least the 2021 season, as his contract was extended two years. That goes hand-in-hand with hiring a new coach for 4 seasons so that they will both be on the same schedule. I would suspect that Pace hires a young offensive minded coach to develop Trubisky. Meanwhile, will the new coach retain DC Vic Fangio? Will Pace force the new coach to retain him? Does Fangio want to stay if he’s passed over for the head coaching job? It was just reported that Fangio did in fact interview for the head coaching position today. As you can see, there are plenty of questions. I don’t have all the answers but “Dutch” has the answer for our 2018 won/loss record. Our 2018 prediction: 11-5! #MarkItDown
I know what you’re thinking……..the “Lion” is nuts. Maybe so, but he’s serious on this one. You also thought that the “Lion” was nuts in his Draft Review. And look at how that turned out?!? Remember that this 5-11 season was actually much closer to 8-8. Don’t take it just from me. Remember Troy Aikman’s AER? As of today, AER has the Bears right in the middle of the pack at 17th out of 32 teams in his final 2017 Ratings (25th best offense, 6th best defense!). Making another big leap with better health, an easier schedule, and the growth of the young players and we’ll be talking playoffs in one year. Playoffs! #MarkItDown
So get pumped Bears fans! It’s gonna happen. It’s only a matter of time. Moving forward, this will most likely be our last post on the Bears until our NFL Draft Preview in April. Until then, it’s been another wild ride. I hope you enjoyed the “Dutch Lion’s” 2017 weekly previews and recaps. Stay cool out there……and remember,
“The only way to become Champion…….Never Lose!” – Gannicus in “Spartacus: Gods of the Arena” & “Spartacus: War of the Damned”