Bears

Special teams turn in solid performance

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Special teams turn in solid performance

Special teams put the Bears in position to win Sunday. That should have been enough.

Returns B-

Devin Hester fair-caught 5 punts, but his 26-yard punt return in the third quarter gave the Bears their best field position of the game at the Denver 42 and set up the first points of the game for either team. Charles Tillmans holding penalty contributed to a drive starting at the Chicago 5 in the second quarter.

Kicking A

Robbie Gould gave the Bears a two-score lead with a 57-yard field goal, longest of his career, on the first play of the fourth quarter

Julius Peppers was credited with a blocked field goal in the second quarter when he and Israel Idonije collapsed the middle of the Denver line on a 28-yard attempt Gould gave the Broncos no chances for returns on his 3 kickoffs.

Punting A

Adam Podlesh averaged 46.4 yards on 5 first-half punts to keep the Bears in the field-position battle. He finished with a 47.8-yard average, with 4 punts inside the 20. And he was consistent, forced to punt 11 times without incident.

Coverage B-

Podleshs inside-the-20s were the result in part by good coverage. The Broncos were able to average 9.1 yards on 8 returns, however, none longer than 14 yards.

Coaching A-

Credit coaches for making the right decision to go with Gould on the 57-yarder. And the thinking appeared to be conservative with Hester fair-catching so many in a close game where one fumble could be pivotal.

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

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USA TODAY

Akiem Hicks reveals what makes him so good against the run

Akiem Hicks finally earned the recognition he deserved in 2018 with his first trip to the Pro Bowl, and playing on the NFL’s No. 1 defense provided the national attention he should have received in his first two years with the Bears.

He’s a solid interior pass rusher, but where he dominates is in run defense, leading the NFL in run stops last season according to Pro Football Focus.

When Hicks beats an offensive lineman at the line of scrimmage to make a big tackle in the backfield, it’s a work of art, and he revealed the secret to those flashy plays on NFL Game Pass.

He broke down the film of a play against the Green Bay Packers where he beats center Corey Linsley because he knew right guard Jordan McCray was going to pull to the left.

“I read it before the snap happens. I know that McCray is going to pull just based off his stance,” Hicks said. “I know his stance for every play that he’s going to do. I’m going to be at least 75 percent right.”

Hicks looks at how much weight an offensive lineman is putting on his hand, how far apart his legs are and how much bend is in his hips.

“If you do your due-diligence as a defensive lineman and prepare like a professional during the week, you’re going to know,” Hicks said.

Any little deviation from a normal stance is an indicator to Hicks of what the play is going to be, and that pre-snap knowledge keeps him a step ahead of the blocker in front of him.

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Vegas sets Mitchell Trubisky’s pass TD total at 26.5

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USA TODAY

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.