This was a game they should have won and it should have been in blowout fashion. They did and it was. Here’s what I took away from the Bears’ 41-9 win over the Bills on Sunday.
Despite not recording a sack for the eighth straight game, Leonard Floyd was a beast all afternoon for Chicago. He was in the backfield on most passing downs, disrupting Nathan Peterman and altering his arm angles so that his already-weak arm couldn’t get any muster whatsoever on his throws.
It seemed like Floyd was playing fast, which is the most important thing. He made some solid reads (see a quick screen in the first half that he snuffed out immediately) that allowed him to attack ballcarriers, receivers, and the signal caller alike. The pick six was nice, too.
The man who caused that pick six, Kyle Fuller, was the best player on the field. He had a rough start to the year with the heartbreaking dropped interception and the touchdown allowed in Green Bay, but he’s really turned it around and he has been living up to his massive contract extension.
Fuller picked up his fourth pick of the season (and in the last three games) and played solid, tight coverage on Kelvin Benjamin and Terrelle Pryor throughout the day. He is doing a much better job lately of playing the football and it’s led to increased opportunities at takeaways for both himself and his teammates.
2. Trubisky watch: Meh.
It’s very hard to tell how the Bears’ young quarterback played yesterday, given that nothing he did would have affected the outcome of the game past the second quarter. But with the sample size that we had, there was a nice helping of good and a bit of bad.
The bad was very bad, as he overthrew an open Trey Burton by a solid 10 yards directly into the arms of TreDavious White. It could have been a miscommunication or a bad route and I’ll have to check the film to know for certain but it sure looked like he just sailed it.
The good, however, was encouraging. His best throw was a dime to Burton over the heads of Buffalo’s linebackers and right into the breadbasket, on third and 13 with pressure in his face. He also showed a growing bond between himself and Anthony Miller, who exploited the middle of the field nicely. This was a performance to build on for Trubisky with some inconsistencies.
The two pass catchers have taken out a large portion of the Bears’ offense with their injuries, and Trubisky seemed to be feeling the hole left by the lack of a big target in the offense.
Every young quarterback needs his security blanket, and while I love Trey Burton’s game for a number of reasons, I don’t think he’s it. Neither is Taylor Gabriel or Anthony Miller. Robinson was that guy for Trubisky when he played, especially in the Seattle game, and I think a lot of Trubisky’s drop in accuracy in the second half of the New England game and the first half of the Jets game was due to his absence.
Shaheen, on the other hand, could take this offense to a whole new level. Matt Nagy loves those two-tight end sets, but can’t really run them when he’s out because Dion Sims is the pass catching equivalent of a dumpster, filled with horse manure, doused in kerosine and set on fire. He went away from them in games four through seven but went back to them in game eight and the offense wasn’t as productive with Sims on the field.
If Shaheen comes back and he’s moving well, that gives defenses another formation to deal with and another weapon over the middle and in the red zone to defend as well. If both he and Robinson are back against Detroit, it’s going to be tough for the Lions to leave Chicago with a win.
4. Bears are in good shape to make a push for the playoffs, but these next three games will decide their season.
Lions-Vikings-Lions. Three straight games against divisional opponents in 18 days. If the Bears are serious about playing football in January, they have to win at least two of them.
And the Bears likely know this, because they sat Mack and Robinson for two weeks when they both (definitely Mack) could have played against the Bills if the game were an important matchup or one that the Bears didn’t know they would win all week.
If the Bears come out of this stretch at 7-4, they would sit in second place in the division at worst and likely holding a wild card spot heading into December. They blew out the Bills like they were supposed to do, so now they have to take care of business within the NFC North.
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