The way I see it, there are two distinct ways of viewing the Bears’ 19-14 win over the New York Giants on Sunday. If you tuned in looking for some type of reassurement that the 5-6 Bears are significantly better than the 2-9 Giants, then you’re probably still out there leaving voicemails at your local radio station in support of Tyler Bray. If you packed up your optimism with your summer wardrobe a few weeks back and were just looking for a win and early bed time, well then you’re in luck.
In 72 hours the Bears have a chance to climb back up to .500, which feels like maybe the biggest win of the season. For now, here’s where the arrows are pointing:
ARROW DOWN – Offensive line
As a unit, the Bears’ offensive line played one of their sloppiest games of the season against the Giants. They only managed 65 yards on the ground and gave up two sacks (not to mention five QB hits) to one of the NFL’s worst defensive fronts. In the first half alone, Cody Whitehair’s hands-to-the-face penalty wiped out what would have been one of the Bears’ biggest plays of the season – a 60-yard catch and run from Allen Robinson – and Bobbie Massie was flagged twice (once for holding and once for illegal use of hands). Massie would leave the game in the second half with an ankle issue, the second time in two weeks he’s left a game early with some sort of injury.
ARROW UP – Allen Robinson
Robinson went for 6 catches for 131 yards and a touchdown, and if not for Whitehair’s penalty, he may have had a real shot at Alshon Jeffery’s record for single-game receiving yards (234). Sunday was the second time this season Robinson went over 100 yards, which is entirely an indictment of the Bears’ sluggish offense and not at all the wide receiver's production. Since we’re doing a deep dive for silver linings, Robinson also surpassed his 2018 mark (754 receiving yards) on Sunday afternoon.
.@AllenRobinson's 104 third-quarter receiving yards are the most by any pass-catcher during the third quarter in 2019.— Chicago Bears (@BearsPR) November 24, 2019
He was flagged for PI on the Bears’ third quarter 2-point conversion and had a drop, so it wasn’t a perfect day, but the Bears are long past expecting perfect days from anyone. When it’s working like it was against the Giants, the Trubisky-Robinson connection is one of the most fun wrinkles of the Bears’ offense to watch.
ARROW DOWN – Matt Nagy
Maybe this isn’t entirely fair to Nagy, who looked more competent as a play caller throughout Sunday’s game than he has in prior weeks. He’ll almost certainly get roasted again for throwing the ball twice as often as he ran it, but against this Giants’ secondary, with a hobbled David Montgomery, that decision doesn’t seem as incriminating as it did against New Orleans. Still – the Bears looked wildly disorganized on more than one occasion, and that ultimately falls on the coaching staff. They got flagged for an illegal formation on Whitehair’s penalty in the first quarter, and then were called for illegal substitution on Pineiro’s missed extra point attempt in the third. The Bears also came out flat for, like, the 100th straight game, a problem that also ultimately lands at Nagy’s feet. It wasn’t a bad performance by any means, but you’d like to see some of the Bears’ long-term issues get sorted out at *some* point.
ARROW UP – Khalil Mack
Oh yeah, Khalil Mack is incredible. The Bears’ defensive superstar came into Sunday afternoon on the heels of his most quiet stretch of performances in Chicago, in part because everyone is literally triple-teaming him. During the week defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano talked about how he needed to get Mack more open looks by being more schematically creative, and if Sunday was any indication, the two of them figured something out. Mack’s strip sack in the third quarter gave the Bears’ their best field position of the day and led directly to a touchdown:https://twitter.com/Someone20241575/status/1198694066898251777
ARROW DOWN – Special Teams
Things were bad from literally the first play of the game, when Eddy Pineiro shanked the opening kickoff out of bounds, setting the Giants up for the first possession at the 40-yard-line. The kicker finished 2-2, but pushed one extra point attempt wide left. One of Pat O’Donnell’s six punts went for a grand total of 13 yards (Although he and Cordarrelle Patterson did a nice job of pinning two punts inside New York’s five). The Giants averaged over 20 yards per return on kickoffs, and took a punt return back 40 yards in the second quarter. On top of all that, the Bears lost Sherrick McManis, one of the unit’s best players and leaders, to a groin injury. Kicking gets all of the attention in Chicago, but the other aspects of the Bears’ special teams hasn’t exactly picked up the slack either.Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.