Bears

Promising start turns ugly as Bears drop another one to an NFC North rival

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USA TODAY

Promising start turns ugly as Bears drop another one to an NFC North rival

Oh, it all started so promisingly.

The Bears looked like a well-oiled machine early Sunday, looking like the kind of team bouncing back from a gut-wrenching loss to the Green Bay Packers a week prior. But with another NFC North rival in town, this time the Detroit Lions, things turned ugly in a hurry — and the result ended up the same.

The Bears lost for the seventh time in 10 games this season, falling to the Lions by a 27-24 score on the shores of Lake Michigan.

An offense that has struggled to put points on the board much of the year — and couldn’t match a Packers offense led by backup quarterback Brett Hundley last weekend — started strong, with three scoring drives in its first four possessions. Mitch Trubisky led scoring drives of 70, 55 and 73 yards, producing 17 points and had the Bears ahead by 10 midway through the second quarter.

The lone Lions points came after a rare miscue by the offense in the opening 20-plus minutes when Trubisky fumbled a snap, only for D.J. Hayden to run it back 27 yards for a touchdown. But still, the Bears looked the superior team on both sides of the ball.

It was then, though, that Matt Stafford flipped a switch and started picking apart the Bears’ defense. Backed up at his own nine-yard line after an offensive pass-interference penalty, Stafford marched the Lions down the field, rattling off completions of 17, 40 and 28 yards, the last a touchdown pass that took advantage of a badly burned Marcus Cooper.

Stafford then led a 73-yard touchdown drive, once again picking apart the Bears’ secondary and giving his Lions a lead right before the half, a sudden turn of events considering the Bears had a double-digit lead not long before.

After an uneventful third quarter, the Bears tied the game with five minutes remaining on a stellar touchdown run by Tarik Cohen. But Stafford marched the Lions right down the field immediately afterward, and the Lions cashed in with a 52-yard go-ahead field goal.

Trubisky led the Bears downfield and put them in position for a game-tying field goal, but Connor Barth’s attempt was way off the mark, sending the Bears to another upsetting defeat.

Tarik Cohen gets back in the game

With rookie running back Tarik Cohen used sparingly the last few weeks, fans and observers alike heaped social-media scorn on the Bears' coaching staff. But they'll have to find something else to be upset about this week after the Bears’ coaching staff brought Cohen back with a vengeance.

The rookie running back proved himself a dangerous offensive weapon early in the season, but he had been largely absent for weeks, combining for just five rushing attempts and three receptions in the previous three games against the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and aforementioned Packers.

Well, the Bears’ coaches must have heard all that criticism and heavily involved Cohen, who finished with nine rushes for 44 yards and four catches for 15 yards. He was targeted a total of six times.

And Cohen came up with a huge play late in the game, taking a shovel pitch from Trubisky, running to the pylon and flipping his way into the end zone, extending the ball in midair to make sure it was a touchdown. That score tied the game at 24 with five minutes left.

Banged-up Bears

The Bears’ defense — already well bothered with injuries — added a couple more to the list Sunday.

None seemed more significant than the one to Leonard Floyd, who was taken off the field on a cart in the fourth quarter after Kyle Fuller crashed into Floyd’s right knee. Floyd spent a good deal of time on the ground before the cart came out.

Fuller suffered a wrist injury on the same play, with TV cameras catching the sight of an awful lot of blood.

At various points, defensive linemen Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman left the field with members of the training staff. And on the offensive side, wide receiver Josh Bellamy was announced as being in the concussion protocol after a play in the third quarter.

Matt Nagy kicks off Bears training camp in the rain

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USA Today

Matt Nagy kicks off Bears training camp in the rain

Matt Nagy kicked off his tenure with the Chicago Bears Friday in the first practice of his first-ever training camp as a head coach. 

The weather didn't exactly cooperate for Nagy, who decided the Bears would run through the entire session outdoors despite periodic downpours.

"You don’t want to have that mentality where you just always try to have perfect weather,” he said. "That’s not realistic. Whether it’s the wind, which can be just as bad as the rain, rain, snow, I mean, we’re in Chicago, so that’s something we need to take into account."

While Nagy certainly has a point, Bears fans are scarred by practice-field injuries this time of year. A wet field can lead to slips and slides that turn into pulls and strains.

"In the summertime, you like have your first practice and have the sun, but it didn’t happen and that’s OK.”

The Bears held Danny Trevathan and Sherrick McManis out of practice because of hamstring injuries, neither of which are considered serious. Allowing either of them to practice on a wet field wouldn't have been the smartest idea and likely played a big part in keeping them sidelined.

Welcome to the Nagy era, one in which neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will force the team indoors.

Long on Trubisky: 'Guys believe in him. We're lucky to have him'

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USA Today

Long on Trubisky: 'Guys believe in him. We're lucky to have him'

Kyle Long is healthy and was back to doing what he loves on Friday as the Chicago Bears kicked off training camp with the first practice session of the summer.

"I got to hit other guys, and that was fun," Long said after practice.

Long, who's one of the most recognizable players on the Bears and the team's most outspoken personality on social media, confirmed Friday that the locker room now belongs to quarterback Mitch Trubisky. 

"He's really taking ownership of this locker room. It's not something that's forced; it's organic. The guys believe in him. We're lucky to have him."

Long joked that Trubisky's maturation included a beard and a deeper voice. 

"He’s a grown man now. He’s got some facial hair. He has some bass in his voice."

Trubisky's growth on the field will be just as important as what he's done off of it since January.

There will be a few bumps in the road early in training camp. Defense is usually ahead of the offense for the first week or so. Combine that with Trubisky learning a new system, and the first few days will probably have more negative than positive offensive reviews.

And that's where the confidence Long is talking about is so important. If the team believes in Trubisky, he'll have the opportunity to work through the lows and get the offense where it needs to be by Week 1 without any locker room whispers.

With Long watching his back (both on and off the field), Trubisky will be just fine.