THE MORNING AFTER: On a dark night, there was one bright spot
GREEN BAY – Objectivity is going to bring a lot of negativity. Simply, that is the reality of what’s going on with the professional football team in Chicago right now.
Their starting quarterback has been out with an injured thumb. The backup broke his arm on Thursday night. On top of that, the Bears’ top offensive lineman left the game with an injury.
A struggling quarterback found his groove and John Fox’s team found themselves on the wrong end of a score for the sixth time in the 2016 season against the Packers at Lambeau Field.
Thanks to forces both in and out their control, this already looks like a season heading downhill in a hurry. Even the least objective person would agree that the final nine games will take a bit of toughness after a 26-10 drubbing at the hands of Green Bay Thursday evening.
For a third-straight year, Bears fans must look forward to a future past January and February. Brian Hoyer is lost for most of the year – if not the rest of it – after breaking his arm in the second quarter while guard Kyle Long had to leave with an arm injury. Jay Cutler’s thumb continues to be “Week-to-Week” leaving the offense in the hands of Matt Barkley, who was just 6-for-15 for 81 yards in his Bears’ debut.
So where do you reach to find some positivity with this team? No, not just turning on the Cubs’ game as many did when the game got away from the Bears in the third quarter.
Even on a gloomy, chilly night at Lambeau Field there was a reason to get some warm feelings about what might be ahead: Leonard Floyd.
That wasn’t the case over the past two weeks when calf issues kept the team’s No. 1 pick from this year’s draft on the sidelines. Fans have had enough injury issues with top picks thanks to Kevin White’s leg troubles the past two years.
But under the lights of a national audience, Floyd would give the Bears a reason not to feel as blue as the “Color Rush” jerseys they were sporting on Thursday. In easily his best game as a professional, Floyd was one of the only members of the defense to get any pressure on Aaron Rodgers on a night the quarterback set the Packers’ record for completions with 39.
The rookie came up with his first two full sacks of his NFL career and the only two the Bears had on the night. Floyd also managed to score the only points that didn’t come off Connor Barth’s foot in the third period when he stripped Rodgers of the ball then recovered in the endzone for the touchdown.
It was the only one the Bears had all night and marked the only time they held a lead. It didn’t last long as Green Bay finished with 20-straight points to end the game but perhaps the impression left by the rookie will.
Floyd’s ability to create plays and bring some pressure gives something to feel good about in an otherwise dreary night in what looks like a lost season. Watch for his growth the rest of the year because the future is the only place where happiness exists of you are wearing the orange and blue.