The Chicago Bears were put through the wringer on Sunday, but they came out on the other side with a victory as they beat the Denver Broncos and secured their first win of the regular season.
While the win is much appreciated for a team that struggled badly in its first game of the regular season, there are still plenty of questions left to be answered in the aftermath of the contest. To help through that process, we’re looking at the winners and losers from Sunday’s game.
Eddy Piñeiro Comes Up Big
Ladies and gentlemen, the Bears have a kicker.
At least that’s what it looks like after two weeks. After making the one field goal he tried in Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers, Piñeiro was a beast on Sunday, knocking through all three field goals he attempted in the 16-14 triumph.
The 53-yarder he made at the end of regulation had all the ingredients that make kickers crumble under pressure: distance, crowd noise, and outdoor conditions. In the face of that adversity, Piñeiro calmly stepped up and bombed through the game-winner, sending the Bears to a 1-1 record.
With all of the attention the team’s kicking derby drew during the offseason, Piñeiro is proving that there may have been a method to the madness after all, and his performance Sunday was one more example of why the team has put its faith in him.
The Bears’ Running Backs
A week after it seemed as though the football was a mythical object worth of a fairy tale, the Bears’ running backs were used extensively on Sunday, running a combined 25 times in the game for 71 yards.
David Montgomery was given the bulk of the workload in the game, rushing for 62 yards and the Bears’ first touchdown of the 2019 season in the contest. Tarik Cohen, who didn’t have a single carry in Week 1, had four of them in this game, and even Mike Davis got three carries.
In all, the Bears ran the ball more than they passed it in this game, and it helped keep the defense off the field and helped sustain several solid drives. The Bears do still need to work on their blocking in those situations, but it was at least a step in the right direction after the team completely abandoned the run against Green Bay.
The Interior Linebackers
Joe Flacco is a quarterback that doesn’t routinely force the ball downfield, and he stayed true to form in this game, working the middle of the field hard and forcing the Bears’ interior linebackers to become pass defenders.
Roquan Smith and Danny Trevathan ended up delivering under pressure, combining for 18 solo tackles in the contest. They were all over the field and were among the most exhausted-looking players of all after the game concluded, but their efforts were worth it as they helped the team earn a victory.
Mitchell Trubisky’s Confidence
Chicago Tribune columnist David Haugh commented during the game that Trubisky looked ill-at-ease in the pocket, and it’s hard to disagree with his assessment, as the quarterback threw for just 120 yards in the contest.
Although that number was far from good, there were a few things that could move Trubisky into the winner’s column in the team’s next game. There were several instances in which Trubisky worked through multiple reads and scrambled to keep plays alive, including on the team’s first drive, and he also used his football IQ to help the Bears in a big way on the final offensive play of the game, finding Allen Robinson with just one second left to give the Bears a chance to win.
That throw was the perfect encapsulation of what’s been lacking in Trubisky’s game. He has what it takes to get the Bears in position to win, but he has to have the confidence to make the throws when he needs to.
There really isn’t much to say about some of the calls that were made in this game. Leonard Floyd being tagged for unnecessary roughness for tackling a Broncos running back was horrendous, as was the roughing the passer penalty on Eddie Goldman that ultimately gave the Broncos a field goal to get them to within one score.
To be fair, the roughing the passer penalty on Bradley Chubb in the fourth quarter was egregious as well, and there is grounds to question whether the Bears REALLY had one second left at the end of the game.
Needless to say, it was a rough afternoon for the men in stripes, and neither team was particularly enamoured with the officiating.
Anthony Miller is ostensibly healthy after an injury-plagued rookie season, but he sure doesn’t appear to be with the way the team has used him so far in 2019. In two games, Miller has been targeted twice and has just one catch for two yards, which he got in Sunday’s game.
While Allen Robinson has been getting the bulk of the targets, and while Taylor Gabriel figured prominently in the team’s game plan Sunday, Miller has been a non-entity, and one has to wonder whether an injury is still affecting him as the season starts to get going.