With Brian Urlacher hanging around Soldier Field and the Bears defense dropping Russell Wilson seemingly every other play during their 24-17 victory, you could be forgiven for forgetting what year it is (2018, I promise) and thinking this was the classic Bears of recent history.
And I really do mean recent, no farther back than a few years – it’s not the dominating defense of the 80’s coupled with a Walter Payton making people look silly on the other side of the ball.
No, last night’s victory was more reminiscent of the teams from the mid- and late-2000s – solid, sometimes point-scoring defense on one side, an offense held together largely by staples and duct tape with a good running back, and a sometimes-exciting, other-times-frustrating, generally questionable QB.
The parallels between this team’s first two games and the Bears of a decade prior (really? 2008 was that long ago?) are uncanny, and they get even more so when you look closer.
Terrifying linebackers spending just about every play in the backfield making opposing quarterbacks fear for their lives? Khalil Mack sends his regards (and he’s not alone). Forcing turnovers left and right and taking at least one of them to the house? Definitely. A quarterback who can turn impossible plays into positive yardage before slinging the ball right into the arms of the defense on the next possession? Checkaroo. This was all on full display against the Packers until Aaron Rodgers had something to say about it – and that’s all its own narrative, of course.
But the fact that history was repeating itself right before our eyes became overwhelmingly apparent in the fourth quarter. As the Seahawks closed to within a touchdown, all eyes were on Trubisky to control the ball until the clock showed all zeroes.
He controlled the ball for a whole minute and a half. -_-
But with Seattle looking poised to make fourth-quarter heartbreak become a running theme for the Bears, Prince Amukamara did what Kyle Fuller let slip through his fingers, snagging a game-sealing interception and running it all the way back to bail out his fundamentally unsound offense.
Even though Matt Nagy won’t say an unkind word about it, Trubisky’s performance was just sort of alright on Monday. But I guess that means he can join a long line of Bears quarterbacks who were never thought of as anything more than that, from Rex Grossman to Kyle Orton to Jay Cutler – yes, depending on who you ask.
Still, the defense bailing out the offense is a storied Bears tradition. It doesn’t have to be a bad tradition either – after four consecutive finishes in the NFC North cellar, a 1-1 record and a team that doesn’t look completely inept is more than enough to work up a glimmer of hope for.
Unless that sharp, QB-devouring defense can play even more out of its mind and shut down real contenders – the Vikings or the Packers (with Aaron Rodgers)– the offense will eventually have to do its fair share of the work if we’re even going to dream about Bears football in January.
For now, though, an unpredictable team is a whole lot better than the predictable, pathetic per-usual one of the past few seasons.