The Chicago Bears snapped their two-game losing streak against the New York Jets on Sunday afternoon.
It was an ugly 24-10 win, but a win is a win, and the Bears will take them whenever they can.
Overall it was a game controlled by the home team. At 4-3, the Bears have a great chance to improve to 5-3 with a game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
In the NFL, good teams win when they’re supposed to. That’s exactly what the Bears did on Sunday.
Here are four takeaways.
Defense Strong Despite Missing Mack
It wasn’t surprising that the Bears decided to sit Khalil Mack on Sunday. He is far too valuable to miss more than one game. The hope is that he’s ready to go on the road vs. the Bills, and for the stretch run against the division.
Against the Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, the Bears’ defense was bad, to say the least. There were a lot of missed assignments and even more missed tackles.
Things finally changed Sunday.
The Bears’ defense turned things around, especially up front. They shutdown the Jets’ run game all day. RB Isaiah Crowell rushed for just 25-yards on 13 carries.
QB Sam Darnold had his issues as well. He was missing several pass catchers, but the Bears’ secondary was solid, especially slot corner Bryce Callahan.
Bears origins: Bryce "Ballhawk" Callahan. @HendyBears has a full interview with Bryce Callahan's high-school coach to talk about one of the most underrated players in the NFL. #Bears #NFL https://t.co/YY2rgGug1E pic.twitter.com/1xX8cDvA3o
— The Loop Sports (@TheLoop_Sports) October 28, 2018
Let’s just say he’s going to get paid this offseason.
Jordan Howard/Tarik Cohen Effective Together
It’s been mostly the Tarik Cohen show this season for the Bears with Jordan Howard taking a back seat. Head coach Matt Nagy stressed the importance of getting the run game going this past week and the Bears’ offense finally did that against the Jets.
Cohen caught a screen pass that turned into a 70-yard touchdown. The Bears didn’t use him as much in the passing game. Sloppy conditions and an underrated Jets’ defense limited Cohen the pass catcher.
Howard, who has been a major disappointment so far this season, got going as well. With the Bears leading in the fourth quarter, Howard got the ball and made the most of his attempts.
He finished the game with 81 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Anytime Howard touches the ball 22 times, the Bears should win the football game.
Still, there are still question marks around his future in Chicago. To put it in simpler terms, what Howard brings to the table is replaceable. The opposite can be said about what Cohen does for the Bears’ offense.
Kyle Long Injury
On the last drive of the game, Kyle Long appeared to suffer a serious injury.
After the game, head coach Matt Nagy said it was a foot injury for Long and that they will know more in the next couple of days. Anytime a player is carted off the field though it’s not going to be good. Except for Cooper Kupp, who is a legend.
If serious, Long’s injury could mean that James Daniels and Eric Kush will be the starters at both guard positions. OObviously one is much better than the other.
Since signing his big contract extension, Long has battled a ton of injuries. 2018 could be another one of those years for Long unfortunately.
Earlier I mentioned that the Bears played a “sloppy” football game. That was true in in all three phases.
Against the Jets, the Bears had not one, but two unnecessary roughness penalties. That’s not something that can continue to happen. Safety Eddie Jackson committed a foolish penalty that gave the Jets life late in the game.
On third and long, Jackson hit a receiver that dropped the football a few seconds before. It was a bonehead play that kept a drive alive for a bad football team.
The result? It was a Jets touchdown that made it a one-score game. Again, those kinds of things cannot happen going forward, especially with tough division games on the horizon.
Cohen and CB Kyle Fuller also had plays that made you question their decisions. I fully expect the Bears to clean things up heading into Sunday’s game in Buffalo.
Follow Nick on Twitter–Featured Photo Credit: Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune