NFL

Finding Positives In A Bears Preseason Loss

|
Image for Finding Positives In A Bears Preseason Loss

It was a game to remember. Just not in the way Bears fans were expecting.

Bears fans everywhere were marking their calendars with palpable anticipation as soon as the preseason schedule was released. Traditionally, the preseason is something that football fans enjoy casually, not worrying about the box score at the end of the day because the preseason is simply for development. It’s essentially a small appetizer to wet the appetite of ravenous football fans who want to engorge themselves on the feast that is the regular season. This particular preseason week two matchup was special though: it marked the return of a controversial Chicago sports figure who brought both elation and overwhelming frustration to the fanbase for four years. His name is Mitchell Trubisky, and he was on a collision course with the Bears starting defense.

It was supposed to be a thoroughly enjoyable preseason week two. Bears fans believed that the team would build off a strong preseason week one showing, with the offense under Justin Fields running laps around the Dolphins and the starting Bears defense imposing its will on the Miami offensive line. The fanbase thought that, at best, the Bears’ physical defense would suffocate any attempts at positive yardage that solid but flawed QB Mitch Trubisky would try to orchestrate. Furthermore, the Bears’ offense would gain a bit more traction under the command of Bears starting QB Andy Dalton.

And at worst? Well, the only fathomable scenario for “disaster” would be the Bills score on a few drives until Trubisky inevitably panics and his offense sputters in the mud, and Dalton will be terrible running the starting offense, forcing Fields to ease the stress of the fanbase by scoring a couple of times. Thus putting more pressure on the front office to throw the franchise’s savior in the fray in week one. That’s the worst-case scenario, but there’s no way it went THAT badly, right? Yes, you’re right- it was even worse.

Bills Dominance or Bears Calamity

The events that took place on that cloudy day on the natural grass of Soldier Field had evaporated from the realm of reality and descended into a twisted nightmare. It was frustrating, infuriating, nightmarish, and straight-up pathetic – anything that could go wrong, went wrong in that preseason week two matchup. Fumbles, interceptions, penalties, abhorrent play in every phase of the game, you name it. Not even the Bears’ divine savior, Justin Fields, could yank the teams’ play from the abyss because, despite his best efforts, his supporting cast consistently let him down. It’s a game that will go down as one of the Bears’ most pitiful preseason losses, and the fanbase is desperately trying to repress it from memory and look forward to the next week’s matchup against the Tennessee Titans.

So, you read the title. You see what I’m attempting to do. What positives could I possibly find in such an absolute drubbing such as this one? Well, it wasn’t easy. It was hard to stomach watching the torture of yet another play crumbling to pieces in this preseason week two matchup. However, after some reflection (and a few OJ and cherry vodka drinks), I mustered a handful of positive aspects of that game that the Bears should look to build upon in their final preseason game. Take a deep breath, put on your rose-tinted glasses, and let’s try to Find The Positives In A Preseason Week Two Blowout.

Justin Fields

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – AUGUST 21: Justin Fields #1 of the Chicago Bears is hit by Andre Smith #59 of the Buffalo Bills during a preseason game at Soldier Field on August 21, 2021, in Chicago, Illinois. The Bills defeated the Bears 41-15. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The entity that is QB Justin Fields is simply inescapable; something he does the opposite of to NFL defenses. He just has this calm and collected presence about him; nothing phases him, and there’s no issue on the gridiron that he can’t figure out and overcome. Unfortunately, that didn’t apply to the massive walloping the Bears received on the box score in this preseason week two game, but despite a seemingly meager 9-19 for 80 yards, every fan who watched the game would tell you Fields played well.

He was helming the second and third-string offense, so it shouldn’t be shocking to find out a large number of his incompletions were dropped, and the offensive line crumpled like origami time and time again, including a terrifying blindside hit he received from Bills LB Andre Smith. The elite skillset that Fields displays continue to mesh beautifully with head coach Matt Nagy’s creative offensive scheme, making it harder and harder to accept Andy Dalton as the starter for this team. No matter if Fields starts week one of this year or next year, there is no denying that it’s only a matter of time before he takes his rightful place as the Bears’ next franchise quarterback.

Dalton’s 73-yard TD pass to WR Rodney Adams

Let’s move on from the Bears’ second-string QB to the starter who’s supposed to lead this team back to the playoffs. Despite his title of “starter”, over the last two preseason games, he certainly didn’t play like one. In his first preseason game against the Dolphins, he couldn’t even manage to get a first down, let alone a touchdown. I suppose, in that aspect, he improved significantly.

Deep into a 28-0 hole in the middle of the second quarter of this preseason week two game, with Dalton spinning his offense’s wheels in the mud, Bears fans gave up all hope on scoring on any TD’s for the game. That is, until Dalton proved why he has been in the league for 11 years, and threw a beauty of a deep ball to Rodney Adams in single coverage, where Adams rose above the Bills corner and snatched it right off his helmet. Dalton, admittedly, threw a really nice ball, in a place where only Adams could grab it, but it was Adams who made the most of it. He snatched what was still a difficult ball, and still shed the tackle, and turned on the jets to ensure at least ONE TD was scored that day.

Rodney Adams made the most of his opportunities in preseason week two, making it his second consecutive game where he was the leading receiver for the Bears. In my mind, as well as the mind of many others, he has earned his role on the 53-man roster, more than what can be said for some of the other backup receivers on the roster. If he can bring in one more really solid performance to round out the 2021 preseason, Adams could very well be the fifth or sixth receiver on the active roster.

Cornerbacks

You would think in a 41-15 blowout that the cornerback position would be the LAST position that would deserve praise in this preseason week two showdown. Yet, after watching the game back and some pondering, the cornerback position, from top to bottom, really impressed me. Sure, the cornerbacks were responsible for a few big plays, but a lot of the damage done was caused by the run game. To begin with, promising second-year player Jaylon Johnson really had a good game, despite allowing one TD. He had multiple deflections against the Bills starting offense, and overall looked very confident in the scheme, even trying to bait Trubisky into throwing a backside throw so he can intercept the ball.

Interesting second-year-pro Kindle Vildor probably had the weakest game, but I still was satisfied with his overall performance. Vildor allowed a few in-breaking routes early on one drive, but the plays he was in made him play off-coverage, which doesn’t give him many options when he gets to the ball and the receiver already has it. He still was pretty sticky when he was in man coverage, and while he did miss a big tackle on Devin Singletary, I think that was more attributed to Singletary’s incredible balance rather than a poor tackle by Vildor.

I was most impressed with the second and third-string corners, who really made the most of their limited snaps. Artie Burns, Duke Shelley, Xavier Crawford, Tre Roberson, and Thomas Graham all were very fundamentally sound and made aggressive plays for the ball, particularly Graham’s diving attempt for a pass that bobbled out of his hands when he hit the ground. A really strong showing for a position that’s a big need for the Bears in the preseason week two game.

Front Seven

The last real positive takeaway I had from this preseason week two game was how physical and consistent the front seven was throughout the game. Of course, the Bears starting front seven all got some pressure (even if they let the ball carriers escape) but that level of penetration and push was maintained throughout the game. Specifically, Khyris Tonga, Caleb Johnson, and Charles Snowden all had really impressive games in the second half, highlighted by Snowden rushing past a Bills tackle and strip-sacking the QB, which was recovered giddily by Johnson.

All three have been very active in pushing the offensive line and getting horizontal to stop skill players in the flats, a promising development for three young, project players. The sudden rise in play for these players could add to a front seven rotation that could wreak havoc for the Bears for years to come.

CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 14: Chicago Bears wide receiver Rodney Adams (13) catches the football runs with the football in warmups during a preseason game between the Chicago Bears and the Miami Dolphins on August 14, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Main Credit Image

Thank you for taking the time to read this piece! For more on all things sports and pop culture, follow me @Masonite22, and for all your football needs follow @OTH_Football and @OT_Heroics

Share this article