THE MORNING AFTER: The throw, the catch, and a Bears’ dream half of football
WASHINGTON – It was a 30-minute stretch of football that showed their fans and the National Football League exactly what they can do at their best.
Yes, it was against a struggling Redskins team who is easily the weakest they’ve played this year. That can’t be forgotten and has to be factored into what happened on Monday night.
But the way the Bears’ showed their strength and moxie in the first and second quarter was what everyone hoped they would do back on September 5th, not some two-and-a-half weeks later at Fed Ex Field.
Matt Nagy’s offense scored four touchdowns, sporting an efficient offense that moved down the field well. Chuck Pagano’s defense completely crushed the Washington offense that looked helpless under the pressure of Khalil Mack on the front seven.
Oh, and the secondary came up with three picks on the night, and the defense’s first score.
OK, so the second half was very sloppy and nearly saw the Bears end up in a fight to the finish. Yet their fifth and final forced turnover made for relatively comfortable 31-15 win over the Redskins to go to 2-1. Plus they did this all with backup right tackle Cornelius Lucas in the game after Bobbie Massie’s bout with vertigo made him a late scratch for the contest.
But those first 30 minutes, that’s what dreams are made of, at least when it comes to this team. There is one particular play in which I see representing some of the dreams of a squad looking to finally get an offense that can push the ball down the field.
Up 21-0, facing a 3rd-and-17, it appeared that this play might be broken, with Mitchell Trubisky flushed out of the pocket on a blitz and forced to look for a quick throw.
But there would be no short-throw or toss to the sidelines to prevent a bit loss. Instead, Mitch threw a pass on the run from the Redskins’ 42-yard line down the field near the endzone pylon. Racing towards it was Taylor Gabriel, who already had a pair of touchdowns on the game, and who was looking for his third.
The ball made its way towards the pylon as Gabriel got a bit of separation from Josh Norman. Trubisky’s pass got over Norman and hung inbounds just enough for the receiver to turn around and haul it in, then get two feet down (or one of the pylon) to complete the score.
Replay would overturn the initial call of incomplete, but the replay said otherwise, awarding the quarterback and receiver their third touchdown of the game.
You could argue it was Trubisky’s best throw of his Bears’ career, and one that showed what he could be more than any other since taking over the role in October of 2017. Perhaps the fourth quarter playoff touchdown throw was better in the playoff game against the Eagles last January, but this one made Trubisky look like an elite quarterback.
Is he at the moment? He’s still got work to do, as an ill-advised third quarter interception on the fade to Allen Robinson show. But there’s that throw, and where he put it under the pressure he was under, that gives fans the thoughts that he could be the man for the Bears after all.
The same could be said for the rest of the team, who in a dominating first half showed fans why they were in the Super Bowl chatter before the 2019 season commenced.