THE MORNING AFTER: Don’t stress, just enjoy the defense
CHICAGO – Someday, if everything works out as Ryan Pace envisioned, fans will make their way to the lakeshore to see an offense worth the price of admission.
Mitchell Trubisky will be slinging the ball around in Matt Nagy’s offense, whether his play is scripted or the result of improvisation. Jordan Howard will establish a run game that keeps the defense honest, Tarik Cohen will be causing havoc everywhere along with Trey Burton, while Allen Robinson establishes himself as one of the premier deep threats in the league.
This would be Camelot – a dream often thought of by Bears’ fans only to see it realized now and then, but mostly never. Entertainment coming from the offensive side of the ball has been a pipe dream of the rooters, who’ve mostly been used to mediocrity over the past three decades.
Well guess what? You’re going to have to keep waiting.
Want joy in the now? Look to the side of the ball that your father’s father fell in love with generations ago with the franchise.
This is not the worst thing in the world, nor is it a veiled shot at Trubisky and the way he’s run the offense. But building that right mix of confidence and chemistry along with the knack for making Nagy’s complicated system work is gonna take some time, as the Packers and Seahawks games have shown early in 2018.
Vic Fangio’s defense doesn’t need that anymore, they’re ready to be elite right now, carrying an offensive-minded head coach for at least a little while in his maiden season. It was there big plays that stood out the most in the 24-17 win that gets the Bears on the board for the 2018 season.
” We have to be nasty, ferocious, whatever words that I’ve thrown at you guys since OTA’s,” said defensive end Akiem Hicks of the unit. “We want to build something here that is going to be remembered.”
History has still yet to be written on that, but for the moment, they’re doing just fine in the present. Especially as a new Bears’ offense continues to find itself and a quarterback develops his NFL repertoire. The Bears’ first game at Soldier Field in the Matt Nagy era proved that.
Their constant pressure, mainly coming from Khalil Mack on the outside, had Russell Wilson uncomfortable from the star. The outside linebacker had another first half strip sack – that was one of five in the first half – as Seattle could only muster a 56-yard field goal through the first three quarters. Up until late in the third quarter, Seattle hadn’t gone past 100 yards of total offense.
“Obviously, Khalil, I have tremendous respect for him. He’s one of the best players in the National Football League and he’s been able to make so many plays for the Raiders and now the Bears,” said quarterback Russell Wilson, who was hurried seven times by Mack and the Bears’ pass rush. “He’s a tremendous football player and he’s tough as nails. He’s smart. You saw him in the Green Bay game, him making all those plays, too. Just his instincts is off the charts.
“I think that he’s going to be able to be a big factor for them.”
Others are right now for the Bears as well. An impressive bullrush by Eddie Goldman near the Seattle goal line in the second quarter earned him his first sack of the season. Prince Amukamara got the first interception touchdown of his career in the fourth quarter – which were the eventual game-winning points. Typically known for his open field tackling, Danny Trevathan collected a pair of sacks and his forced fumble late in the fourth ended up taking enough time away from the Seahawks to prevent a comeback.
Major plays are happening all over the field from a defense that currently leads the NFL in sacks with ten and defensive touchdowns with a pair. Yet the unit still wants more, with the performance soured a bit in their eyes due to a pair of lengthy touchdown drives in the fourth quarter.
“That’s just a glimpse, man. We’re just getting started,” said Trevathan. “We finally put together four quarters, although we could’ve done things a lot better and I know that’s how our defense feels because we’re always trying to get better. But it was a start, and we’re feeling good and we’re going to keep it rolling for sure.”
As they do that, the offense will take some needed time to develop. Wide-ranging conclusions are already being formed on Trubisky, who once again led a strong opening drive that ended with a pretty shovel pass touchdown to Trey Burton, yet he tossed a pair of interceptions in the second quarter and nearly had a third An early fourth quarter touchdown drive netted Trubisky the first multiple touchdown game of his career, as he finished 25-of-34 for 200 yards passing.
He along with the rest of the offense are showing flashes of brilliance along with mistakes early. Even though the fan base is skeptical, time is needed to get the system right, so for the moment, the Bears are a defensive team again – and that’s OK.
“For the most part right now our defense is playing fast and flying around. They helped us out offensively. They helped the offense out,” said Nagy of the defense. “There are going to be times when the offense is going to help the defense out.”
But for now, it’s the first scenario that came true in the Bears’ first victory of a new era.