Bears facing tougher opponent than Giants: themselves

Bears facing tougher opponent than Giants: themselves

At this point of a dismal and degenerating 2016 season, who the Bears face on any given week has gradually become less and less relevant. Matchups are noteworthy in every game, but the one matchup that the Bears have not been able to win with even remote consistency has been the one with themselves.

As the famous quotation from vintage comic strip Pogo goes, “We have met the enemy and he is us.”

The Bears did not lose a week ago because of how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers played; they lost because the offense and Jay Cutler lost the football five times, and because the defense could not make a play at the outset of the second half.

They did not lose to the Jacksonville Jaguars because of an ascendant quarterback Blake Bortles; they lost because their defense couldn’t protect a 13-0 fourth-quarter lead and allowed 17 points in the fourth quarter, 10 in the final 2:10. The Bears outgained Philadelphia and Indianapolis and lost to both.

Intriguing matchups are present every week. But at 2-7, of greater interest is how the Bears respond to their situation rather than how they scheme for Odell Beckham Jr., or Eli Manning, or whether Cutler can manage a modicum of ball security against a Giants defense among the NFL’s worst in takeaways (minus-8 turnover ratio).

The Bears have become the story unto themselves, having established what they were capable of in the defeat of the Minnesota Vikings, and establishing what they were capable of in the debacle in Florida.

“It’s all about you handle adversity,” said linebacker Willie Young.

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The degree to which that adversity is self-inflicted as perhaps the true story of 2016, because it was left in doubt last season, with the Bears losing four of their last five after being within an easy field goal of .500, whether the John Fox Bears were any better at handling adversity than were the Marc Trestman Bears.

The level of adversity coming out of Tampa last Sunday is dramatically heightened because the Bears went into that game with expectations — the previous week off, a relatively healthy roster, a third-tier opponent. They came out of it demoralized, at least football-wise.

That the locker room has remained close and not fractured is something of a statement. But it is more a commentary on the kind of character individuals comprising the team than their football character.

The Bears continue to point the thumb rather than fingers.

“They see what I’m telling you; it’s not one guy that takes the sole responsibility for a game,” Fox said. “Everybody’s signature is on it ... Our guys understand that [Tampa Bay is] one game.”

Of course, it isn’t just “one game” or the Bears wouldn’t be 2-7. But the Bears came into 2016 privately believing that they had pieces in place to be a good team. Now those pieces are in pieces and as replacement receivers, offensive linemen, defensive backs and other position subs work for their futures, something of what the Bears’ identity will be going forward is really what is at stake.

Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio set something of a course when players noticed him already game-planning for the Giants during their return flight from Tampa.

“You have to respect that from your leadership, knowing that we may be in a situation that we don’t want to be in,” said defensive lineman Akiem Hicks. “We’d love to be in a different position than this season so far. But we’re not going to back down from our next opponent just because we’re having some tough bumps in the road.”

And the winner is...

The Giants have won four straight, going for five for the first time since 2010. The Bears have put up nothing short of miserable performances in three of their last four outings (Jacksonville, Green Bay, Tampa Bay). The Bears quarterback is having statistically the worst season of his career and is tasked with working behind an offensive line missing its starters at right guard and tackle. The only question this week is how bad.

Giants 27, Bears 13

Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5


Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

If Mitchell Trubisky has the kind of break out year in his second season under Matt Nagy that Bears fans are hoping for, he should have no problem cashing an OVER 26.5 passing TDs ticket for bettors who want to back him.

Per Bet Chicago, Caesars is rolling out division props and they set Trubisky’s touchdown pass total for 2019 at 26.5 and his pass yard total at 3,744.5.

While both those marks would be career highs for Trubisky, this number will surely be seen as a slight by the hometown fans and continue to add to the polarizing nature of the quarterback formerly known as the Pretty Boy Assassin.

In Chicago, and if you’re team Mitch, this number is ridiculously low and you’re probably already pounding the over.

Outside of Chicago, and with some analytical support, there’s a lot of doubt about Trubisky’s future as a viable option as an NFL starter, so I’d guess the Pro Football Focus crowd is probably gonna take the under.

We rolled out some props of our own on the Under Center podcast last week including:

Will Mitch Trubisky pass for 10 or more touchdowns than Craig Kimbrel has saves? (Including playoffs for both)

26.5 regular season passing touchdowns probably gives Kimbrel the edge, but it’s right in range. 

And that Trubisky – Kimbrel prop prompted this bold response from our own Bears insider JJ Stankevitz:

I don’t think I’m in the 40 club with my guy JJ, but the OVER certainly feels like the move here. At least it better be if the Bears are gonna make any sort of NFC North title defense. 


Former Bear Greg Olsen randomly walks into marriage proposal, catches whole thing on video


Former Bear Greg Olsen randomly walks into marriage proposal, catches whole thing on video

Scenario: you're walking down the street and randomly walk into a marriage proposal. What do you do?

For former Bear and current Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, the answer was to capture the magical moment on video. 

Olsen was in Nashville this week to give a keynote speech at a healthcare conference. While walking back to his hotel on Thursday, he randomly stumbled into a marriage proposal. His first response: hit record on his phone and capture the whole thing on video.

"Did she say yes? I got it on video, dude," Olsen said emphatically. "I'm going to send it to you!

"She said yes and I got it all on video, and you don't even know me, but I'm going to send it to you."

The couple, according to the Panthers, is Max Harvat and Brooke Hartranft. The two were visiting Nashville for the week, but Harvat didn't necessarily plan the proposal. It was as much of a sporadic moment for him as it was random for Olsen.

"Oh my god, you're my hero," Harvat said to Olsen after the proposal.

As it turns out, Harvat grew up a Panthers fan. However, he had no idea that Olsen was the person recording the proposal in the moment, only happy that someone caught it on video. When he stood up, he realized who the mystery man was.

“When I stood up, I looked over and I started having a mini heart attack," Harvat said to "I was like, ‘I’m 90 percent sure that’s Greg Olsen from the Panthers!’

“I'm a huge Carolina fan. I was like, ‘Oh my God, you're telling me that Greg Olsen just recorded the whole thing?’ I was so excited. It was amazing."

The moment wasn't just special for Havrat and Hartranft, though.

"It's the best thing I've ever witnessed," Olsen said in the video.

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