CINCINNATI – If this had been two months ago, it could have been reason for rampant optimism. Now it’s just something for a quick rise, meant to last for a bit, but eventually fading away to a more sobering reality.
It has to be that way. Overreaction would be the very worst thing the team, front office, or the fans could do on a rare day of optimism when it comes to the Bears.
One fine day. No more, no less.
Not for this season that was lost around a month ago in which another era of the team is set to end and another one begins. It’s just a positive moment in an otherwise negative season, a momentary break from the monotony of losing.
“It’s good to see them experience the results of all their hard work,” said John Fox after 13th victory as Bears’ head coach. “That’s gratifying as a coach.”
That’s a good way to put it. Fox knows he’s gone in three games, according to a report from the NFL Network on Sunday, so this is just a nice moment before the says goodbye to Chicago. It gives the players a reason to smile after a miserable start to the second half which the Bears saw any hope of making something out of the 2017 season evaporate.
Last week they lost a game they didn’t turn the ball over, didn’t allow a touchdown, yet still got beat by the former kicker they released a year-and-a-half ago. This afternoon, even if not overdue, was certainly needed.
“It’s to enjoy this, because you expect to win,” said quarterback Mitchell Trubisky of what he takes from the win after a rough stretch. “You put all the hard work in, and it’s good to reap the rewards from putting in a lot of hard work this week.”
It paid off for the rookie quarterback who delivered a solid performance that could be ranked one of the best of his still young career. Void of turnovers, Trubisky threw a touchdown and ran one in as well, becoming the first quarterback to do so in a game in his first season since Jim McMahon in 1982.
He completed 25-of-32 passes in a much more aggressive offense which was a departure from previous weeks. Maybe Fox and Dowell Loggains have accepted their fate and decided to open things up a little bit to finish the year.
“I think you can say that,” said running back Tarik Cohen of the game plan being more aggressive. “We came out with the mentality that we had to be the more aggressive team in this game.”
Cohen did his part again, averaging 6.7 yards per carry while gaining 80 yards on the ground. He had one touchdown negated due to a foot on the sidelines and another on a block to the back. Jordan Howard had no such trouble as he rushed for two scores, 147 yards, and topped the 1,000 yard mark for the second-straight season.
Not even Walter Payton did so in his first two seasons.
Eddie Jackson picked off a pass and then forced a fumble on A.J. Green who got it stripped just as he was about to step out of bounds. All of these accomplishments coming from players who are in their NFL infancy, offering some legitimate hope for better to come.
“I I just feel confident I’m getting better each week. And, yes, it’s fun to play, but I get feedback from my teammates. I can tell that they’re confident in me, and that my play is just going to get better each week,” said Trubisky of the effort. “I know how to prepare. I just need to go out there and execute and just do it the way I’m coached.
“For us to come out with a win, that’s the most important thing and the most important thing for me.”
Maybe their effort signals who is next when it comes to starting a new era of the Bears?
Calm down. It’s just one game. It’s just a reason to smile during one fine day in a year that’s been the exact opposite.