Bears in Brief – Bears snap losing streak with 36-7 blowout win over Houston

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Bears in Brief is a weekly column by Opinion Editor Anthony Marsicano in which he recaps Bears games and provides his own insight

Anthony Marsicano, Opinion Editor

Entering Sunday the Bears had lost six straight games. There were expected blowouts like in Green Bay, and embarrassing losses such as against Detroit last week. One of the biggest narratives this week was Deshaun Watson coming to Soldier Field for the first time in his young career. As Bears fans will not-so-fondly reflect on, during the 2017 NFL draft they traded up to select Mitchell Trubisky second overall, passing over generational talents such as Patrick Mahomes and Watson. No one could have predicted Mahomes would turn into the MVP we know today, but Watson had just won the NCAA National Championship and was awarded offensive MVP for his efforts. Trubisky had started less than 15 games in college. Every matchup that saw Trubisky take on one of these other two guys was sure to have what I call The Graphic. The Graphic depicts the three quarterbacks, and the right combination of stats handpicked to suggest that the Bears made a mistake. And they did, I’d rather have Watson any day. That being said, it sure felt good to see the tables turn. While The Graphic did pop up as expected, it didn’t sting as much this time.

 

Likes

 

The Bears scored 30 points in a single half for the first time since their outstanding 2018 season. And it all started with David Montgomery breaking off an 80-yard TD run, the longest of his career. Just as they were the last team in the NFL this year to score a rushing touchdown, they were also the only team to not score on their opening drive. They achieved both with this run. This play was a great preview for the stellar offensive line play we would see today. Ever since they shuffled their starting lineup by putting Sam Mustipher at center, moving Cody White hair to left guard, and promoting Alex Bars to starting right guard, there’s been a new energy within the unit. All credit is due to offensive line coach Juan Castillo for seeing the potential and making the changes. When the line is good, the whole offense plays well, but the obvious main two beneficiaries are Trubisky and running back David Montgomery. I’ve been high on Montgomery for a while, it’s my belief that he could be a top-five back in the league with the top offensive line and coach. These last three games from him have been phenomenal, and lots of it is thanks to the offensive line. He ripped off a 56-yard run against the Packers which was his career-long run until this week. The following game he rushed for 72 yards and two touchdowns. 

 

Mitch Trubisky played very well, outshining Deshaun Watson. He threw for three touchdowns and did not fumble or throw an interception once. In fact, the entire team recorded zero turnovers. Trubisky is good when he scrambles, but it must be so refreshing to have substantial time in the pocket to throw.

 

The defense had a great outing all around, showing glimpses of the 2018 season. The unit recorded seven total sacks on the day, with linebackers Roquan Smith and Mario Edwards Jr. each having two apiece. Bilal Nichols and Khalil Mack shined as well, each getting one sack and then combining for a safety in the second quarter. The team was without Buster Skrine and performed just fine without him, if not better. The game ball of the week was awarded to his replacement, cornerback Duke Shelley. Moving forward, I’m confident in him and Kindle Vildor should Skrine remain inactive due to a concussion.

 

Dislikes

 

Watching this game, I didn’t really have any complaints. Some Bears fans will argue that this was a garbage win at a point in the season that didn’t matter, and only serves to hurt our draft pick, but there isn’t much fun in that. Instead, I’d much rather enjoy a blowout win that keeps playoffs a possibility and shows hope for the young, talented players on the roster.

 

Next week the Bears will rematch the Minnesota Vikings, this time at their place in Minneapolis. The defense has shown that they are capable of stifling star running back Dalvin Cook’s production, I believe that the key to this game will be limiting receivers Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen in a similar fashion. This game has huge playoff implications, a win for either team would obliterate the other’s chances of getting in.