Bears

Healthier Bears should be too strong for inconsistent Bucs

Healthier Bears should be too strong for inconsistent Bucs

About this time 11 months ago, a 2015 season that had begun with three decisive losses was within a short field goal of reaching the .500 mark on a growing wave of confidence arising out of what looked to be a season-turning win over the leading team in the NFC North, then the Green Bay Packers.

But Robbie Gould’s game-winning field goal try from 36 yards missed as time expired in the San Francisco game and the Bears fell into a spiral of 10 losses in the next 12 games.

That spiral stopped, at least temporarily, when the Bears took the measure of the Minnesota Vikings two weeks ago. But now the greater question looms, whether the Bears can build on what they delivered against the Vikings and stack wins.

Because if they cannot, the Minnesota win was next to meaningless in the grander scheme.

“This league's all about putting together wins,” said quarterback Jay Cutler. “If you go win-loss throughout the whole year, you're not going to be where you want to be. So being able to stack 2, 3, 4, 5 wins, not have back-to-back losses, that's how you make the playoffs and that's how you're successful in this league. Those guys in the locker room know that.”

Pointing toward a second consecutive strong performance is the fact that John Fox teams are 10-4 following the off-weeks. One of those losses came last year when a succession of fourth-quarter breakdowns led to a post-break loss to the Vikings but the Bears then won three of their next four.

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Before the disaster against San Francisco, which came after a big win and some time off (10 days). Fox teams have not disintegrated in the face of some losses but neither have they shown the ability to sustain momentum in the right direction.

“I think it is a good measuring stick,” Fox said. “I think it’s hard to compare seasons just like it’s hard to compare players. Each year these things take on a different personality. Even our whole football team is a completely different team. I think the timing is a little different [this year]… .

“But I think the thing that’s going to help us hopefully, moving forward – that’s the idea – is that we’ve become a little bit more whole. I mean, we were a young football team to start the season. And then you get banged up pretty good, then you drop off pretty fast. Hopefully we just get to be: the roster is stronger, some of the guys we’re putting out there are a little more experienced, a little more capable. So hopefully that buoys us a little bit better than maybe a season ago.”

And the winner is….

In the preseason analysis of the Bears’ schedule, “View from the Moon” predicted that the Bears would begin a surge in the second half of the season, and that surge would start with beating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That prediction is staying in place. Because:

In defeating the Bucs last season, the Bears rushed for 174 yards on the Bucs and controlled the football for more than 37 minutes, leaving Tampa with a win that contributed to the Bucs ultimately firing coach Lovie Smith despite a significant improvement in record.

Then-rookie quarterback Jameis Winston showed flashes of why he had been the No. 1 overall pick of the draft. But this year Winston has failed to take a next step in his development despite throwing to one of the NFL leaders in receptions (Mike Evans, 55 catches, eight touchdowns).

The Bears are running the football with purpose and with effect now, and are getting their Pro Bowl guards back from injuries. They also are rushing quarterbacks (14 sacks over the past four games), and Winston has been sacked no fewer than twice in any of his last seven games.

The Bears are feeling a strong confidence because of players returning from injury (Bryce Callahan, Eddie Goldman, Kyle Long, Josh Sitton, Pernell McPhee, others). At full or near-full strength, the Bears are simply a better team.

Moon's prediction: Bears 21, Bucs 17

View from the Moon ’16 record: 4-4

Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

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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

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USA TODAY

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 panthers.com. "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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