The Chicago Bears seem to have found their identity in Sunday’s thrilling 23-17 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Chicago Bears have an identity for the 2017 season. It was appropriate the Bears were wearing their throw-back jerseys, as they played a throw-back game that hearkened back to the WWII era ground and pound rushing attack that may have been powered by Bronko Nagurski instead of Jordan Howard (23/138/2) and Tarik Cohen (12/78/0).
As they racked up over 200 yards on the ground, the Bears proved that they are going to try to run the ball at all costs and play complementary football to a defense that is the strength of this team and might be better than advertised.
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The Bears may bore fans to death in today’s NFL where 300 yards passing is the norm and the rules cater to protecting the quarterback and allowing wide receivers every chance to hook up for big plays, but you can’t argue with the results. The Bears wore down the Steelers defense in record-setting heat on Sunday and eeked out a win in overtime, powered by explosive plays in the running game. There was only one ball that went 20-yards past the line of scrimmage, a pass that Marcus Wheaton couldn’t haul in. Otherwise, it was checkdown city for the Bears offense.
The Bears don’t really have a passing game to speak of. I’m still not sure how much of that is on Mike Glennon and how much of it is on the Bears wide receiver corps, a group which lost their top two options when Cam Meredith and Kevin White suffered season-ending injuries. We’ll just have to wait at least another week before we see if Mitch Trubisky gets a shot to see if he can revive the Bears passing game.
The Bears completed just one pass to a wide receiver. ONE. Most of Mike Glennon’s 101 yards were check downs to the running backs. At one point late in the fourth quarter, the Bears had more penalty yards than passing yards. In 2017, that’s almost unfathomable.
I think the Bears defense might be a little better than expected. Most fans and experts considered that the front-7 would be pretty good but what’s surprised me is how good the secondary has been so far, holding Julio Jones, Mike Evans and Antonio Brown relatively in check the first three weeks. With Prince Amukamara returning to a secondary with
With Prince Amukamara returning to a re-tooled secondary and Kyle Fuller having a comeback player of the year showing so far, it’s quite possible the Bears might have a top-7 defense. That defense will be put to the test on Thursday when the Bears venture north to square off with the Green Bay Packers and Aaron Rodgers.
I don’t think that the Bears formula of running the ball to keep the other team off the field and playing tough defense can produce sustained winning. John Fox has shown the ability to adapt his teams to their strength. Heck, he had Tim Tebow lead the Denver Broncos to the playoffs a few years ago, so anything is possible.
It may not be pretty, but these are your 2017 Chicago Bears. They’re going to try to run the ball and play a close game with a stout defense. Some weeks, the ball will bounce their way and they’ll win; other weeks, they’ll get run off the field.