Leading up to the Bears matchup against the Minnesota Vikings, the Chicago was already at a disadvantage, being without Akiem Hicks, Bilal Nichols, Roquan Smith and Kyle Long.
Then, on the opening drive, quarterback Mitch Trubisky left the game with a shoulder injury and wouldn’t return.
Despite these setbacks, it was clear there was a “next man up” mentality with this team as they were able to overcome those injuries and walk away with a 16-6 victory, and that’s my first takeaway from the game.
1. Backup Plans
Whether it was Chase Daniel, Javon Wims, Nick Kwiatkoski, Roy Robertson-Harris, Nick Williams or Kevin Pierre-Louis, the backups stole the show.
Daniel came in and did exactly what he had to do to lead this team to a victory. He never tried to do too much, kept the offense moving and looked confident in the pocket.
There’s more to come on him later.
Defensively, Kwiatkoski, Robertson-Harris, Williams and Pierre-Louis all had huge games, coming up with a combined 4.5 sacks and several key stops.
This defensive unit is deep and they proved that Sunday evening.
2. Allen Robinson’s a True No. 1
While Trubisky being out limited the Bears offensively, the constant that is Allen Robinson remained present as he had seven receptions for 77 yards.
Robinson has proved himself each week this season as the most reliable and consistent target on the team, as he continued to catch any ball that was thrown relatively close to him and seemed to be open on every play.
When he gets going, so does the rest of the offense, and he needs to stay involved as much as possible.
3. Too Much Yellow Laundry
This was my lone negative takeaway last week, and sadly, it’s back this week as well.
While it ended up not being costly, the defense had a drive where they could have gotten off the field numerous times but penalties kept the drive alive and kept the ball moving.
It turns out the Bears *could* get away with having as many as seven penalties against the Vikings despite what last weeks’ blog said, but this will become a problem at some point in the season if they don’t correct this issue.
4. Daniel Proves His Worth
As previously mentioned, Chase Daniel had an efficient game and did everything he was asked to do to win this game, and that’s exactly what he can do while Trubisky recovers from his injury.
The severity of Trubisky’s injury is yet to be announced, but Bears fans shouldn’t fret as Daniel steps in.
He is more familiar with Matt Nagy’s system than anyone else and the offense will be set up to compliment him every way possible.
It won’t always be pretty or easy, but Daniel will be able to keep this team competitive as long as he provides turnover-free ball.
Guys will need to step up, especially in the run game, but the Bears are going to be fine in the meantime as Trubisky recovers.
5. This Defense is Nasty
Not only will Daniel keep the Bears competitive while Trubisky recovers, but this defense is good enough to not only keep them in games, but to win games entirely on their own.
What this unit did with a front seven full of backups was incredible and can’t be ignored.
They embarrassed a unit that boasted one of the NFL’s best running backs in the league and were able to sack Kirk Cousins six times.
Opposing offenses have minimal opportunities to get anything going against the Bears and that isn’t going to change any time soon.
Once this defense gets fully healthy, watch them take off and start causing more takeaways to ease the load on the offense.