Going into the Week 10 matchup with the Lions, Mitch Trubisky and Bears’ doubters came out in full force to express their criticism about the 24-year-old quarterback and the NFC North division leaders.
NFL game analyst for Fox Sports Brady Quinn, NFL writer for the Athletic Michael Lombardi and ESPN writer Bill Barnwell were some of the few national media guys to take part in the Bears’ bashing.
But after Trubisky ran for a 4-yard touchdown in what would eventually be a dominating 34-22 victory over the Lions last Sunday, the second-year quarterback spiked the football, gathered himself, looked into the camera and gave an emphatic yell.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) November 11, 2018
The emotions were let out, and no doubt the skeptics heard.
Against the Lions, Trubisky finished with 355 yards, a 148.6 passer rating, three passing TDs and, of course, his statement-making rushing TD. Those stats were almost the complete opposite of how Trubisky performed in the last meeting with the Lions at Ford Field in 2017, where he had three interceptions and a 66.8 passer rating.
Crazy to see how much a player can improve when paired with an offensive-minded head coach and multiple playmakers.
Still, doubters like Lombardi and Quinn were not solely fixated on Trubisky but also the legitimacy of the Bears because of the teams they have beaten through nine weeks: the Seahawks, Cardinals, Buccaneers, Jets and Bills.
The Bears didn’t choose their opponents, and they shouldn’t have to apologize for their victories. In a league that is predicated on a week-to-week basis, the 6-3 Bears are taking care of business against the teams they should defeat – something that a lot of teams haven’t accomplished this season.
And a lot of teams in the NFL don’t have a defense like Chicago’s. One that has been dominant in the Bears’ second three-game winning streak this season. During that stretch against the Jets, Bills and Lions, the defense has forced seven turnovers (five interceptions and two fumbles), accumulated 11 sacks and given up 41 total points.
With a formidable defense that includes a disruptive Akiem Hicks, a run-stopping specialist in Eddie Goldman, a Defensive MVP candidate in Khalil Mack, an emerging Leonard Floyd, fast-flowing linebackers in Danny Trevathan and Roquan Smith and playmakers in Eddie Jackson and Kyle Fuller, there is no doubting that the Bears have one of the best units in the league.
On offense, Matt Nagy has done an exceptional job all season scheming players like Allen Robinson, Anthony Miller, Tarik Cohen and Trey Burton open. And Trubisky has been more consistent with hitting those open targets, which has helped the offense average 29.9 points per game. Of course, Nagy’s unit is far from a finished product, but the offense can no longer be overlooked by opposing defenses.
With the Bears having a successful season so far, the NFL has rewarded Chicago by flexing this week’s matchup with the Vikings to primetime, which will be the first time since 2012 the Bears have played on Sunday night at Soldier Field.
Not only will a win against Minnesota solidify Chicago among the elite teams in the NFL, but it will also be a great opportunity to make some serious noise on a national stage, and even the greatest of doubters will find it tough to deny the Bears the respect they so rightfully deserve.