Today was a good day at the Lakefront as the Chicago Bears whitewashed the Houston Texans. The Bears picked up their first-ever victory over the Texans in a 36-7 trouncing.
In order to snap their six-game losing streak, it took a max effort from all three phases. Now, the Bears have reinserted themselves into the playoff picture. They're still on the outside looking in but remain an earshot away.
The Bears left their fans with very little to complain about after the game, unlike previous weeks. As always, there is still much to dissect from the game itself. Without further ado, here are the main takeaways from the Bears’ surprising Week 14 win.
These guys up front did an excellent job protecting Mitchell Trubisky today. There were only two instances of the offensive line getting overpowered, both of which resulted in sacks. They did a hell of a job in the run game and it showed early when they opened up an enormous hole for David Montgomery, who took it 80 yards to the house. Kudos to this new-look offensive line for holding up well against the Texans.
As previously mentioned, the Bears gashed the Texans early with an 80-yard touchdown on their first offensive play of the game. While the offensive line did open up a huge hole for Montgomery, the second-year running back hit the hole hard and turned on the afterburners. Montgomery, whose breakaway speed was always in question, finally showed how fast he actually is. He finished the game with 113 yards on 11 carries while adding 42 yards on three catches in the passing game. Montgomery logged a total of 155 all-purpose yards on 14 touches.
Beyond the impressive stats above, Montgomery's big run was a historic one as well.
However, Montgomery logged ten carries for 33 yards after his 80-yard scamper.
Instances of Montgomery racking up 100-plus yard performances have been few and far between. This was his only fourth time exceeding the century mark.
Mitch Trubisky balled out today against his 2017 NFL Draft counterpart, Deshaun Watson. Trubisky will forever be compared to Watson and Patrick Mahomes to no fault of his own.
Trubisky can consider this game a personal victory. He flat-out outplayed Watson by going 24/33 for 267 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT, and a 126.7 QB Rating.
Consequently, Trubisky was a big part of the Bears putting up 30 points in the first half. The scoring can be attributed to #10's hot start to the game.
Trubisky's performance in the first half was so impressive that some of his former teammates started taking notice.
In general, Trubisky looked comfortable, poised, and in command of the offense all game long. Bears fans can agree that it was a nice sight to watch him playing with some confidence.
Allen Robinson had himself a monstrous day as well. He hauled in nine catches for 123 yards and a TD. However, that's not the most impressive thing he accomplished on the day. Thanks to the stellar performance, he surpassed 1,000 yards receiving on the season.
It's not often the Bears have wide receivers with back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
Similarly, the offense funneled a healthy dose of the passing attack through the tight ends. Jimmy Graham continued to prove that the often-scrutinized contract the Bears gave him was worth the value. He continues to wreak havoc in the red zone as he hauled in another touchdown today. Graham finished the contest with four receptions for 23 yards and the aforementioned score.
On the flip side, Cole Kmet's ascension continued this week. He saw seven targets and logged four catches for 41 yards. In total, Bears' tight ends hauled in eight catches and combined for 64 yards and a touchdown. The Bears have come a long way from the likes of Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen and their collective lack of production. The future looks promising for Kmet as he continues to grow and find his role in this offense.
Well, if you put it that way....
Today marked the return of the Mack, and it was a hell of a sight to see. Khalil Mack made impact plays on the field and it wasn't just another "close but no cigar" performance. Mack teamed up with Akiem Hicks to strip the ball out of Duke Johnson's hands early in the game, which ultimately set the tone on defense.
Mack recorded one sack, but it occurred in the end zone which netted the Bears two points on a safety.
Just take a look at his stats from this game. What a monster.
Since the Bears cut Robbie Gould, their kicking woes have persisted. However, Santos has been rather reliable for the team so far in 2020. In fact, he has been historically good for the Bears.
Santos' 2020 success may spell the end of Eddy Pineiro's tenure as a Bear.
Same, Adam. Same.
Offense: As A Whole
The Chicago Bears offense has been more lively as of late and it reached a whole new level against the Texans. Then again, they have been facing some pretty poor defenses. Nevertheless, the Bears offense put up 30 points by halftime.
Heading into the locker room, they had outgained Houston 294 to 164 in yards and 18 to 8 in first downs. Additionally, the Bears managed four touchdown drives.
Things cooled down adter the intermission, however. The second half was riddled with struggles as the team could only muster two field goals. Overall, the offense accumulated 410 total yards -- 241 passing, 169 rushing -- and 23 first downs. The Bears also converted three of four red-zone opportunities.
Third Quarter: Progress
The Bears finally secured points in the third quarter after a rather lengthy drought. When Cairo Santos drilled a field goal, it gave the team their first offensive points in the third quarter since Week 6.
Third Down Woes
This may come off as nitpicking in a blowout victory, but the Bears' offense did go 3-10 on third-down opportunities.
This time around, the defense got their act together. They held the Texans' offense, albeit depleted, to only seven measly points. Additionally, they applied consistent pressure to Deshaun Watson and A.J McCarron. That ferocious pass rush resulted in 11 QB hits and seven sacks.
Jaylon Johnson Injury
The Bears' rookie cornerback exited the game late due to a shoulder ailment. The severity of Johnson's injury is still unknown.
However, that absence did allow Kindle Vildor and Duke Shelley to see the field. Both defensive backs held their own.
Yes, he's getting the full name treatment now. It's hard to criticize him when the team won by 29 points and kept their playoff hopes alive. While Nagy's decision-making wasn't as egregious as usual, he did commit a few miscues that stood out. First, he bailed on the running game after David Montgomery broke free for the early 80-yard touchdown.
Fans have to accept the fact that this is who Matt Nagy is. However, they don't have to like it. Nagy continues to show his lack of awareness, intelligence, or whatever it may be. He seems too stubborn and his ego continues to be his Achilles' heel.
Most importantly, Nagy's offense completely fell apart in the second half. They have yet to put together a complete game through all four quarters. The Bears have only been able to produce in either just the first half, just the second half, or a miraculous fourth quarter. Such trends exemplify Nagy's inability to adjust or refusal to make the adjustments.
Reactions: Offensive Explosion
The Bears putting up 30 points in a half is a rare occurrence. It was a nice change of pace to say the least.
The Bears remain undefeated (3-0) in their 1936 throwback uniforms. Look good, feel good, play good.
First-year wideout Darnell Mooney has been a bright spot in the passing game. He's now within striking distance of breaking a Bears' rookie receiver record.
It has been nice to see the offensive attack show signs of life over the past few weeks. They're able to move the ball with relative ease and it's resulting in more points on the scoreboard. They've scored 30-plus points two weeks in a row now. This win over the Texans may have even lifted the weight of the world off Trubisky's back as well, at least for now. The defense also held their own and stifled the Texans' offense. This victory allows the Bears to live another day as their playoff aspirations are still alive. On the flip side, it may have put a major dent in their draft position. A 36-7 win even against a mediocre defense is nothing to scoff at. At least the Bears picked up their first win over the Texans and have now defeated every active NFL franchise.
What's On Tap Next?
The Chicago Bears will travel north to take on the Minnesota Vikings in Minneapolis on Sunday, December 20th at 12 PM CT. The game will be televised on FOX. The Bears will look to build some momentum after snapping their six-game skid. Meanwhile, the Vikings come stumbling into this matchup. Minnesota lost a frustrating Week 14 contest to Tampa Bay in which kicker Dan Bailey missed three field goals and an extra point to cost Minnesota ten points. The Vikings and Bears, both 6-7, will be fighting tooth and nail to keep their playoff aspirations afloat in Week 15.
Be sure to tune in to the Bears On Tap podcast for postgame reactions, updates, and analysis throughout the week in addition to discussions on a variety of other Bears-related topics.