Pernell McPhee is still relatively new to Chicago but may be about to learn a hard lesson, one that teammate Kyle Long learned last season: Don’t say anything less than glowing about Chicago Bears fans. They can’t take it.
“I guess sometimes I wish we could have our fans from when we’re on the road; I wish we could have them at home,” the linebacker said after Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Detroit Lions. “That’s all I’m going to say.
[MORE: View from the Moon - Four main takeaways from Bears' 6-10 season]
“It’s a blessing. It’s a great organization, great city, great fans. But it’s like, when we’re on the road, we’re ‘cronked’ [crazy], but then… . I don’t know what it is.”
Some of it obviously has to do with being 6-9 and on the way to 6-10. But the fan volume in Tampa Bay last Sunday was amped up in yet another game between going-nowhere teams, so… .
For the Bears’ Nov. 15 game in St. Louis, Bears fans “turned the Ed Jones Dome into Soldier Field,” tweeted tackle Kyle Long, who is nothing if not a good learner. Long incurred scathing fan ire last season when he noted that fans made more noise booing the Bears than they did on an opponent’s third downs when it would help the defense.
[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]
McPhee chuckled and said he’d probably catch heat for wishing home fans were as loud as Bears road fans.
Probably. You just don’t say anything not glowing about Chicago fans, who appear to regard anything short of fawning as denying them their right to boo and they get mad.
The Bears were not at their best against the New England Patriots on Sunday. They made plenty of mistakes on all three phases and gave Tom Brady too many opportunities to control the game.
It wasn’t all bad from Chicago, though. Trey Burton emerged as a new favorite weapon of Mitchell Trubisky, and the tight end was the Bears’ highest-graded player in the game by Pro Football Focus.
Burton had a career high 11 targets, nine catches and 126 yards with a touchdown, giving Trubisky a 144.7 passer rating when targeting his top tight end.
Seven of Burton’s targets and six of his catches traveled 10 or more yards in the air, according to PFF.
Defensively, safety Adrian Amos led the pack with a 74.6 overall grade. He did not miss a tackle after missing a career-high five last week, and he allowed only one catch for eight yards against the Patriots.
On the bottom of the scale, outside linebacker Leonard Floyd received the second-lowest grade of his career (38.9 overall) for his performance. He did not record any pressure on the quarterback in 13 pass rushing snaps, and he allowed two catches for 13 yards and a touchdown in coverage against running back James White.
Wide receiver Allen Robinson had a career-low grade as well at 44.9 overall. He was clearly limited by his groin injury, targeted five times with one catch for four yards and a dropped pass.
Overall, the Bears were able to stick with one of the top teams in the AFC while also leaving a lot of room for improvement. It’s a step in the right direction from where Chicago was in recent seasons.
Take a look over the NFC landscape and try to find me a team that can compete with the Rams.
Packers? Held back by Rodgers' knee and Rodgers' coach. Saints? Might not even win their own division. Washington? Does Alex Smith really scare anyone in the playoffs?
The Rams have one of the easier paths to the Championship Round/Super Bowl that we've seen in some time. Will it likely stay that way? Probably not. But there's a difference between parity and mediocrity and right now the NFC is toeing the line HARD.
Outside the NFC's "elite", how did your team do this week?
You can take a look here and see where they landed.