The Chicago Bears have been defensively electric the last three weeks, but in the contest against the Buccaneers it was the offensive that took charge in the 48-10 victory.
After the Chicago Bears Week Four victory against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who has their stock up, and who is down?
Bears fans rejoice, Mitchell Trubisky has had his breakout game. Six touchdowns, 354 yards, and a 154.6 quarterback rating later the Bears look like they are for real on both sides of the ball. From what we saw of Trubisky in previous weeks we saw him move the the ball with efficiency on eight completions of 20-yards or greater.
Although the Buccaneers secondary isn’t good, it shouldn’t be a knock on Trubisky, it should be what is expected of him against poor secondaries. Mechanically his footwork was improved and a large portion of that was the offensive line giving him time to work through his reads and dissect the defense. Hopefully this won’t be an anomaly and we can start to see Trubisky playing with this level of confidence week-to-week.
After a relatively quiet first three weeks from Gabriel, he was the beneficiary of Trubisky’s accuracy seven times on the afternoon. In the previous three games there was opportunities for him to have some big plays, but Trubisky over threw him a handful of times. We finally saw the explosion that Gabriel can have over the middle when he gets into space.
Him and Trubisky connected all seven times that he was targeted, and a lot of the time he was wide open where he could use his speed to break off chunk plays for the Bears passing attack. Gabriel finished with 107 yards and two touchdowns on a breakout game for the Bears free agent signee.
Matt Nagy did a fantastic job getting the ball into his playmakers hands, and Tarik Cohen was one of the biggest contributors. Cohen had 174 all purpose yards and a receiving touchdown. It’s been known that Cohen would be one of the biggest X-factors for the Bears to have a successful offensive season, and when he can get out into the flat or get a mismatch in the slot it is necessary for the Bears to exploit that matchup.
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Ryan Pace has been great in finding late round gems and it appears that his fifth round selection Bilal Nichols is another notch on his belt. Nichols got the opportunity to get extensive playing time after Akiem Hicks was ejected from the game for making contact with an official and Nichols made some noise in his time. Nichols finished the game with four tackles, 0.5 sacks, and 2.5 tackles for loss. His speed allows him to beat lineman off the ball and once the lineman is beat he uses leverage to get behind the line with ease. Bilal Nichols maybe the Bears rookie of the year after the first three games, and it could be a good thing to get him more reps across the defensive line early in the season.
It appears that the Bears plan on peppering Howard in advantageous matchups for him, and this was not one of those matchups. Howard finished with 25 yards on 11 carriers, and 11 of those yards came on one play. It’s clear that the Buccaneers were selling out on the run and betting on Trubisky to beat them. If Trubisky can stack a few of these good games, it will be beneficial for the run game in the long-term.
It wasn’t the play of Hicks that causes his stock to go down its his actions. Hicks was ejected late in the second quarter, after getting into an argument with Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive lineman Ali Marpet and subsequently pushed referee Mike Carr as he was trying to separate the two. Even though Hicks will not be suspended, he is one of the two biggest playmakers up front alongside Khalil Mack and even with the emergence of Bilal Nichols it’s important for the Bears to have Hicks in the lineup.