Bernstein: Resilient Bears Grab One Back

September 23, 2018 - 7:03 pm
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(670 The Score) Again let off the hook by the Cardinals, the Bears rallied to win once more in the desert as they did 12 years ago, this time 16-14 after trailing 14-0 in the first quarter. It's not yet time to crown any suggested body part, but it was a resilient performance by a newly interesting team that certainly beats the alternative on a day that saw the NFC North appear more competitive than previously thought.

The Bears are two teams at the moment, really. One is a nasty and opportunistic defense with impact players at every level, led by the force of nature that is Khalil Mack. His instinctive ability to find the football and jar it loose at critical junctures is why you spend $141 million and two first-rounders for it, and he did it for the third time in his first three games. The attention paid to him keys everything else, and his presence affects timing on every throw.

Mack wasn't directly responsible for any of the Bears' four interceptions, but don't think he didn't contribute to them. Why Cardinals coach Steve Wilks decided that a game-deciding fourth quarter drive against this group was the prudent spot to debut a rookie quarterback in Josh Rosen, we may never know or understand. With a deep rotation up front and Roquan Smith getting up to speed, it would seem that Vic Fangio's side of the ball is ready to make the playoffs.

But only if Matt Nagy's offense can be better than this, by which I mean Mitchell Trubisky has to get on with the development thing. The offense is making me impatient, especially in games like this against beatably bad teams. So let's coach out these bad habits that won't stop.

I find that Trubisky and I have a common problem. Every time something starts to look urgently uncomfortable -- like watching him drop back to pass and try to actually find the teammate who's open in front of him -- I want to do what he often does, which is take my eyes off of it and try to run backward until I fall down.

Looking instead at my computer screen is easy enough, and the fact that I'm too lazy to get up off the couch prevents me from throwing myself down the back stairwell, so my instinct is mitigated enough to keep me relatively safe. But watching Trubisky develop is a chore at the moment, even understanding fully that the process is, as they say, non-linear.

He and the Bears were the beneficiaries of two idiotic Cardinals penalties that sustained key drives, even as they were being called for illegal shifts and Nagy was taking a perfectly valuable timeout and lighting it on fire it for no good reason. Tighten it all up.

Every down that Mack plays for the team is an opportunity to be part of something more that what we expected before he arrived, and it seems that all the offense has to do is just be fine. It's not asking too much for it to get to there by having the quarterback throw the ball where it's supposed to go more than he's doing currently.

What's beginning to emerge is that as imperfect as these Bears still may be, since adding one of the best players in the NFL, they are not who we thought they were.

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