Bernstein: Hot Damn, Bears!

September 30, 2018 - 3:17 pm
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(670 The Score) ​​I had declared a moratorium on the use of other Bears quarterbacks as points of comparison for Mitchell Trubisky, because thoughts like "He reminds me of Cutler!" "This guy's like Grossman!" and "He should be more like Orton!" were worthless and reductive and stupid, evincing no ability to see any picture beyond the provincial.

Consider the ban lifted, however, when those former Bears are Johnny Lujack and Sid Luckman, their names invoked to recall franchise records being threatened by Trubisky on a dramatic day that will be remembered, one on which the Bears beat the hapless Buccaneers, 48-10, and changed the conversation about this season and beyond.

Trubisky's five first-half touchdowns found five different receivers and marked the first time a Bear had thrown for that many in an entire game since Lujack had six at Wrigley Field in 1949 against the Chicago Cardinals. We kept our eyes the rest of the game on Luckman's seven-touchdown day in 1943 that's tops in team history and tied for the all-time NFL best. Trubisky would finish 19-of-26 for 354 yards, six touchdowns and no interceptions. His passer efficiency rating was 154.6.

This was everything we wanted Matt Nagy to bring, with he and Trubisky sharing a set of eyes down the field to see what's there and not see phantom pass-rushers that aren't. And there was just so much to be had against a soft Tampa secondary, Trubisky finding it all with both his arm and his feet. We asked that this look like the Rams as soon as possible, and for a day it did, seeming almost like an early season college game when the FCS team is in town as paid fodder to build up the record.

And the Bears defense continued to play off the relentless and destructive force that is Khalil Mack, putting an end to Ryan Fitzpatrick's own record-setting run. "FitzMagic" this was not, with the playing cards scattered asunder, the doves flown away, wand stomped to splinters and rabbit cold and dead in the bottom of the hat. His act was cancelled at halftime for that of Jameis Winston.

Mack is just set on automatic at this point, recording a sack and a forced fumble for his fifth and fourth of each respectively through four games, and he registered another quarterback hit that resulted directly in a Danny Trevathan interception. Akiem Hicks was wrecking the interior of the Bucs' line until he was ejected from the game for contact with an official, raising concerns that he could be suspended for the next contest after the Bears (3-1) return from their upcoming off week.

Sunday was as close to a three-phase perfect game as coaches can reasonably expect, allowing a first-place Bears team to roll into their early bye with sights on the Dolphins but as much on themselves in a way to which we are recently unaccustomed. There's often self-scouting that occurs during the down time, as the tape never lies.

It will show an offense that snapped into form suddenly and explosively against a vulnerable opponent, a quarterback now armed with positive muscle memory to be reinforced and the kind of confidence that can only come from feeling oneself succeed as envisioned.

Nobody saw this coming until it did, and Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears are allowed to think they just might be pretty good.

Dan Bernstein is a co-host of 670 The Score’s Bernstein & McKnight Show in middays. You can follow him on Twitter @dan_bernstein.​​​​​​​