By Bryan Dietzler
This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to travel from my home in Iowa to Chicago to see the Chicago Bears play the Pittsburgh Steelers at Soldier Field. While the game was hot the Bears passing game was not and even though the game was discouraging at some points, there are things the team can hang their hat on.
And despite the oddities and inefficiencies, the game was a real treat for me and so many other Bears’ fans.
If you weren’t at the game, you might not have seen some of the things that you typically don’t see on television. One thing you didn’t miss, if you weren’t, there was the extreme heat. The temperature reached 95 degrees and the humidity was near 100%. Anyone who was in the sun the entire game had to be tired and dehydrated when it was over.
The players on the field had to have been worn out after it was all said and done. It was hot!
Lucky for this writer, I was only in the sun for about a half an hour. After that, the rest of the game was very comfortable.
The most frustrating thing about this game was the play of quarterback Mike Glennon and the Bears receivers. Glennon does not throw, take a snap or stand in the pocket well nor do his receivers adjust to his throws. And of course, drops are an issue.
There is one major conclusion that can be drawn out of the performance of the offense on Sunday and it’s simple. Glennon stinks. He is so bad the Bears don’t even trust him to throw the ball. That’s why they ran the ball on so many offensive plays. What the Bears did is not a great way to win but it’s what they had to do and it was effective on Sunday. But it won’t be effective that all the time.
Here is my fearless prediction.
I believe that you will see Mitchell Trubisky after Chicago’s upcoming Thursday night game against the Green Bay Packers. If Glennon cannot throw the ball effectively or if the coaching staff won’t let him throw it, then they will start the rookie and let Trubisky finish the season as the starter.
If that happens, you can bet that Glennon will be gone at the end of the season.
The most disappointing play of the game was Marcus Cooper’s fumble on his return of a blocked field goal at the end of the first half. Instead of taking care of business and just taking the ball into the end zone, he started to slow down at about the ten-yard line and began to showboat. That’s when disaster struck.
Pittsburgh Steelers special teamer Vance McDonald came up behind Cooper as he was taking his leisurely stroll towards the goal line and knocked the ball right out of Cooper’s hands. The ball was batted out of the end zone giving the officials one big mess to sort out.
In the end, Chicago settled for three points when they could have had at least six. That could have been the difference between winning and losing. Chicago was lucky that they won the game or that the three to four lost points weren’t the difference in a loss.
Hopefully, someone on the coaching staff or a fellow teammate pulled Cooper aside and let him have it. After watching Jordan Howard run rampant all game and get up slowly three times, it makes me wonder how much longer he will last. The Bears cannot afford to use him like they did Sunday in the remaining 13 games of the season. And they can’t run Tarik Cohen that often either. Chicago must find their passing game and that may only come by starting the “kid.”
There were standouts like Howard, Sherrick McMannis, and Akiem Hicks but there was one player that had a nice game and deserves a few words.
That player is outside linebacker, Pernell McPhee.
We know what McPhee went through some tough times to start the 2017 season but has begun to bounce back positively. On Sunday, he had one sack to go with three tackles and looked quick. He wasn’t limping around with his hands on hips like he was last season. McPhee looked young, fresh and fast.
Injuries did happen in this game and will affect how things shake out with the Bears shortly. Strong safety Quintin Demps broke his forearm and will be out indefinitely. Offensive lineman Hroniss Grasu suffered a hand injury while Josh Sitton sat out the game. Rookie tight end Adam Shaheen left the field with an apparent arm injury but he did return.
And of course, there was Howard who looked like he was hurting throughout the whole game. But he just kept on going.
Injuries have hurt the Bears a lot this season and they keep happening. They cannot afford to have that many more or else they will suffer the same fate as they did last year. Their rebuilding effort will be derailed and fans will be upset.
I know you can’t control injuries but the Bears appear to be cursed when it comes to them.
The game was one of the most emotional games this writer has ever attended at Soldier Field. It was up and down all game. It was full of mistakes, replays and penalties. There were some great moments, great plays and a lot of strong individual efforts by several Bears’ players.
But in the end, it was fun and so well worth the trip.
While it may not have appeared to be a strong effort by the Bears, it was a win and that’s what matters most. Getting that first win meant a lot to the team and their fans.
Before I close, there is one more thing that I wanted to say about this game.
Sunday, the stadium was filled with Pittsburgh Steelers fans. While this game was a home game for the Bears, the Steelers fans were just as loud and anxious as the Bears fans were.
Every single Steelers fan I met, sat by or talked to was courteous and helped make the experience even better.
It was truly a great experience and a great Bears game.
Note: I would like to thank the two people that sat in front of me at the game. They were a couple from Canada, who were half Steelers and half Bears’ fans.
You made it a great experience!
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