Bears fall 20-17, have someone to cheer for in Mitch Trubisky

Hope.

Even with falling to the Vikings 20-17 on Monday night football, Bears rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky gave the Bears and their loyal fans some hope. He was not perfect, far from it, but it was a building block for the rest of the season.

It is not time to criticize, it is not time to blame Trubisky for the Bears loss on Monday night. The Bears did not play a complete game and penalties and a second half defensive collapse cost the Bears a shot to give Trubisky to win on his debut.

The Bears punted on every drive in the first quarter outside Trubisky’s fumble with 2:34 left in the second quarter. Penalties killed the Bears, calling back a Tre McBride completion that would have put the Bears in the redzone, and a holding call on wide receiver Markus Wheaton at the start of the second quarter called back a Jordan Howard touchdown.

A lack of discipline was on full display Monday night. Your rookie QB is making plays and your mistakes erase his effort. The Bears are not going to put up points and no way win games when they cannot keep their hands inside while blocking.  No excuse, fix it.

The Bears defense was very sharp in the first half, only allowing 55 net yards and had no problem getting to Sam Bradford. Leonard Floyd and Akiem Hicks both had two sacks. Even without five starters, the defense played exceptionally well.

The second half was a totally different story. Case Keenum replaced Bradford at the end of the first half and trotted out to start the third quarter. Keenum finished with 140 yards on 17/21 passing with 1 TD. The Bears pass rush failed to get to him and allowed him to march down the field.

John Timu exited the game early in the third quarter with an apparent injury. You would not think that a practice squad player just a few weeks ago would be a major part of the defense but he was. Timu was trusted with calling the defense and did a fair job getting the Bears lined up. His absence hurt the Bears, who at times were not lined up at the snap. The Vikings went no huddle for the majority of the second half, causing problems for Christian Jones who took over as the signal caller for Timu.

Overall, the Bears killed themselves with penalties and no turnovers. Eight penalties for 55 yards killed the Bears scoring chances and put Trubisky is a tough spot playing behind the chains. And do not get me started on the turnovers. Adrian Amos had a great chance to pick it off  but is still looking for his first career interception. The turnover margin in Chicago is horrendous and it has to change.

Three highlights 

Mitch Trubisky is going to be okay. His final stat line: 12/25 128 yards 1 TD 1 INT 1 fumble.

Trubisky did not lead the Bears to a miraculous win, nor did he play a perfect game. The North Carolina product showed his athletic ability, making plays with his feet and creating something out of nothing. Trubisky will experience growing pains, he will create turnovers, and it is inevitable. Bears fans and coaches must see improvement, growth in Trubisky’s game for the remaining 11 games.

Pat O’Donnell executed the Bears fake punt with a pop pass to Benny Cunningham for a 38 yard touchdown pass, which is the Bears longest completion of the season. Who would have thought?

That was a great playcall by the Bears. They were in need of a big play and to get that, you have to take risks. There comes a time in every football game where you have to take a shot. It is not going to be a cake walk every game. You have to take chances, whether they pay off or not. The Bears caught the Vikings off guard, and had a big play that brought the Bears within one point.

Leonard Floyd showcased his speed and added strength from the offseason on his two sacks in the first half of Monday nights game. We were waiting to see Floyd explode on the scene in year two after a highly praised offseason. Floyd finished with two sacks and hopefully a confidence boost for the young player.

With Wille Young out for the season, there is going to be a lot more weight on Floyd’s shoulder to produce. Pernell McPhee has been non-existent most of the season and Sam Acho is mainly a special teams player. The Bears promoted Isiah Irving off their practice squad, was active Monday night but failed to make the box score. I am sure his role will be increased but who knows how he will perform.

Floyd has to be consistent now. It is very good that Floyd has not missed any games yet and hopefully that will continue. Floyd missing games would put his continued development behind and no one wants that. He must continue to improve his pass rush moves because trying to bull-rush offensive tackles is not his game.

The Bears hurt themselves on Monday night. From the penalties and zero forced turnovers, they put themselves in no position to come away with a victory.

The focus is now all on Trubisky. How much better can the rookie get from October 9th to December 31st. The athleticism, play-making abilty is there, it was on display tonight. It is up to not just Trubisky, but the Bears staff to put together the right gameplan and set him up for success.

It is still unclear how many games the Bears can pull off the rest of the way, but with Trubiksy, they have a chance.

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