Chicago Bears: Trying to stay calm after Sunday’s performance

Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Chicago Bears (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

It’s easy for Chicago Bears fans to fly off the handle both positively and negatively. It would be best to seek out the middle path.

When you’ve been scarred so many times, as Chicago Bears fans have about their quarterbacks, you can understand that the emotions are still raw. It’s annoying, but you at least see why. When you’ve been thrown over the cliff and into the big dump of quarterbacks time and time again, every overthrown receiver or bad decision that should have ended in an interception but didn’t stoke the fear that you’ll be hurtling downwards again.

Conversely, any big game or big-boy throw from any quarterback promises salvation from yet another swan dive into the garbage below. It’s all Bears fans have asked for their entire lives; to be spared the trash compactor on the Death Star once again in the quarterback department. So you can see why the excitement swells to delirium after a game like Sunday’s.

I was never down on Mitch Trubisky after the first three games. I was antsy, I had hoped to see more, but I also saw the good plays. I also understood that with a new offense, an NFL offense for the first time, and completely new receivers it was never going to be an instant thing. We longingly looked at Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson, without taking time to see that Mahomes learned the same offense last year and so did Watson.

Which is why I’m not going to be looking for a new pair of pants after Sunday. Yes, it was enjoyable. No, more than that, it was exhilarating. We haven’t enjoyed a Bears game like that since the 55 points they put up against the Tennessee Titans in 2010? The win over the Green Bay Packers on Brett Favre Night? Even that wasn’t a great game or all that enjoyable until the end because we were so sure the Bears would blow it. Let’s just say it’s been far too long.

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But honestly, given the time Trubisky was given, and the utter incompetence of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense, if Trubs hadn’t been hitting receivers open by monster truck margins with enough time to read Proust in the original French, there would be a real problem.

It was more than the minimum requirement, to be sure. And the throws he made were better than you think at times, as for the first time, he was throwing guys open. His throw to Trey Burton for the opening touchdown was made before the defender fell down. There was another to Taylor Gabriel and a couple to Tarik Cohen as well. That’s upper-echelon quarterback play.

But we’re not there yet. What Bears fans can get excited about is that they finally have an offensive coordinator who actually can identify a mismatch and exploit them. After years spent watching Ron Turner’s vanilla schemes or Mike Martz’s genius in his own mind that nearly got Jay Cutler decapitated or whatever Dowell Loggains picked out of the dumpster the past few years, Matt Nagy is quite simply from Oz.

Nagy found ways to get Cohen matched up with a linebacker every time, and no linebacker is staying with him. He got Gabriel in zones and around safeties where they couldn’t find him. He ran plays off of plays that came before, to the point where the Bucs didn’t know which way was up with a flashlight and a compass. Bears receivers weren’t just that open because Tampa’s defense was awful. It was designed that way. Nagy had read Tampa’s mail before it even started.

That’s worth getting excited about. Because that shouldn’t change. That’s what Nagy did last year, and that’s why he was hired. There will be bumps and hiccups, but those receivers will come open and they will find mismatches.

As for Mitchell, it’s still a long road, just like love. He’s shown what he can do when there are time and opportunity. We’ll know what he really is when those things aren’t there, and he still finds a way. The confidence found on Sunday will help him do that.

Until then, let’s remain tranquilo.