Who would have thought that after 7 weeks of play, the Chicago Bears would be 3-4 and on a two game winning streak? When they were 1-4 heading into week 6, it certainly seemed like Chicago was heading for a two or three win season. But then the offense started becoming more efficient, the defense fed off of a rejuvenated team that was now being led by rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. Sunday’s game against Carolina was possibly the defense’s most impressive showing yet. Eddie Jackson had two touchdowns, the only touchdowns of the game for either side, and the front seven continued to play hard and punish opponents as six players were credited with at least half a sack. The Bears won 17-3 on the back of the defense, but it was a good win, and many improvements were made from the contest against Baltimore. So let’s get to it.

Who balled out: Eddie Jackson, safety (rookie)

On the one year anniversary of a terrible injury that ended his collegiate career, Eddie Jackson turned in the best game of his professional career thus far. As mentioned above, Jackson had the only two touchdowns of the game on Sunday, carrying the Bears to victory nearly singlehandedly. The two scores came as result of an interception returned 75 yards, and a fumble recovery returned the same distance.  The rookie safety was a nightmare for Cam Newton and the Panthers, chipping in four tackles to go with his two scores. Over the past two weeks Jackson has shown why he was considered a legitimate star at Alabama, a hard hitter and legitimate ball hawk. The only reason Ryan Pace was able to snag Jackson in the fourth round of the 2017 draft is because of that injury that scared other teams. But Pace saw the talent was still there and now Jackson looks like a lock at safety for the next handful of years, and could even get Rookie of the Year votes if this keeps up.

Honorable Mention: none, nobody came close. 

Needs Improvement: The playcalling

This is a bit of an unconventional choice, as usually singular players are picked for these sections. That being said, it would be unfair to throw Mitch Trubisky under the bus here. After all, it’s not the rookie’s fault that he has been asked to throw the ball only 23 times in the last two games (less attempts than he had in his first career game against the Vikings) and seven, yes SEVEN, against the Panthers. Against Baltimore John Fox and Co. were able to get away with it because Jordan Howard had a monster game with almost 40 carries for 167 yards. Against Carolina it was the defense that allowed Fox to be conservative with the plays. But that needs to end. Trubisky is not gaining anything from this conservative style and not being allowed to test a defense. For example, Trubisky dropped an absolute dime to Tarik Cohen for 70 yards on Sunday. It was a beautiful throw, it had strength, zip and lead Cohen perfectly. Trubisky can make all the throws, it’s just a matter of letting him do it and letting him eat. The perfect time for that is the upcoming contest against the Saints. New Orleans has one of the worst defenses, allowing almost 240 passing yards a game and having given up 9 passing touchdowns through just six games. Trubisky needs to be unleashed and allowed to test himself and show everyone what he can do.

All in all….

A good win. A strong win. The defense continues to be one of the top units in the league, coming in at seventh this week. Leonard Floyd and Eddie Jackson are budding stars, Akiem Hicks already is one. Eddie Goldman and Pernell McPhee have remained healthy and thus have been effective all year. The only thing now is to get Trubisky going. Jordan Howard had an okay game against Carolina, but not spectacular, teams will continue to stack the box and plan for the run. The defense can’t carry the team every week and score all the points. Trubisky needs to be allowed to start scoring points. As mentioned, the Saints are the perfect time to let the kid eat.

Looking ahead:

The Bears have won back-to-back games for the first time since November of 2015, things are heading in the right direction. It’s feasible to think that the Bears could be 5-2 and maybe better this season if Trubisky had been starting from day 1, as Mike Glennon lost many of those games. Looking ahead for the rest of the season New Orleans should be a relatively easy win as long as the defense does its usual business. Now let’s play a very dangerous game and look even farther down the road. After New Orleans the schedule is as follows.

Bye week
Green Bay
Detroit
@Philadelphia
San Francisco
@Cincinnati
@Detroit
Cleveland
@Minnesota

Now important to note is the Bears get a bye before the Packers come to town without Aaron Rodgers. So that very well could be a win. Over the last two years the Bears have not lost to the Lions by more than four points in four separate games. And we all know how bad those Bears teams were. In Philadelphia will be tough, Carson Wentz is playing like an MVP and that’s a tough defense in front of a hostile crowd. But then two contests against the lowly Bengals and 49ers. Followed by another contest against the Lions before welcoming the Browns to Soldier Field. And the season finale in Minnesota, who is likely to have Teddy Bridgewater back but who Trubisky nearly beat in his first career start on a national stage.

There are no guaranteed losses on this schedule. The Eagles and Vikings will be tough, and the Lions are a toss-up, but realistically this is a Bears team that can finish at best 11-5 and at worst 8-8. Personally I think this is a 10-6 team that can make a push for the division title. It very well could come down to the final week against the Vikings. Obviously looking so far ahead is risky but it’s not bad to hope. Let’s ride with this Bears team, there’s a lot to be excited for.

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