The Bears needed, more than anything, to simply take care of business against an under-talented, banged-up New York Jets team. And while there may not have been much in the way of style points, that’s exactly what Matt Nagy’s side did, topping the Jets, 24-10, on a cold, wet and windy afternoon at Soldier Field.
Mitch Trubisky didn’t inspire much confidence, especially early, with a well-executed 70-yard screen pass touchdown to Tarik Cohen standing as the team’s only points in the first 30 minutes of the game. It looked as if the Bears had found an antidote to Todd Bowles’ aggressive blitzing tendencies, but Trubisky otherwise struggled against the Jets’ pressure, frequently missing or overthrowing open receivers.
While Trubisky was missing Allen Robinson, who was inactive with a groin injury, his receivers getting open wasn’t the problem — Anthony Miller, Taylor Gabriel, Josh Bellamy and Kevin White combined to do a good job of beating their defenders, Trubisky just struggled getting the ball to them. A well-placed strike on third and goal from the four to Miller for a touchdown was one of Trubisky’s better throws of the game, though.
And yet, Trubisky finished the game with 16 completions on 29 attempts (55 percent) for 220 yards with two touchdowns, no interceptions, a passer rating of 102.7 and 51 yards in six rushing attempts. The completion percentage notwithstanding, that’s a good enough line.
A defense missing Khalil Mack locked down the Jets through the first three quarters, taking the strategy of stopping the run and limiting any explosive plays from a depleted passing game. This felt like a game the Bears’ defense needed – as a group, it played well, and the opposing offense it faced was deep into sub-optimal territory.
The only blemish came when Eddie Jackson was guilty of an unnecessary roughness penalty on third and 13 that allowed the Jets to convert the first down. It took Sam Darnold only three plays to get in the end zone, bringing the Jets within seven with about 11 minutes left on the clock.
The Bears’ offense was able to counter with a scoring drive, though, with Jordan Howard setting up his two-yard touchdown with a 24-yard rumble. Howard finished with 22 carries for 81 yards with that one score.
Sort an over-arching point here, though: The Bears’ offense didn’t play well for most of the game, with a lot of missed throws and no-gain runs. And yet, it still managed 24 points, and was a missed Cody Parkey field goal and a Kyle Long unnecessary roughness penalty away from, potentially, scoring 30 for the third time in its last four games.
While the overall product may not have looked encouraging, or pleasing to the eye, it ultimately resulted in a good point total and a comfortable win. And that, taken by itself, is encouraging.
Perhaps the only truly discouraging thing to come out of Sunday’s game was, late in the fourth quarter, Long was rolled up in a pile and wasn’t able to put any weight on his right leg as he was helped off the field by trainers.