Mediocrity could not seem to be a lot of a objective, however for the Bears it might be a welcome transformation. That’s not criticism, simply an sincere evaluation of the place issues are for them.
With a Three-5 document halfway via the season, the Bears come swinging out of their off week driving a curious wave of feel-good momentum. Not precisely group, however definitely a better-than-expected one after final 12 months’s Three-13 failure, the Bears are on the uptick. Coach John Fox even mentioned their place within the playoff race.
Better but, essentially the most troublesome stretch of the schedule is over and the Bears are favored at dwelling towards the once-vaunted rival Packers on Sunday.
Who cares if the Packers are in free fall after shedding Aaron Rodgers to a damaged collarbone? The matchup all the time has been an event — sadly extra of a solemn event than a celebratory one for the Bears. But the Packers blinding luck with quarterbacks lastly could have run out.
It’s not present starter Brett Hundley’s fault he’s no Brett Favre or Rodgers and even Matt Flynn. But Rodgers’ damage has uncovered precisely how a lot the previous MVP was carrying this group. How unhealthy are the Packers with out him? Think Colts after Peyton Manning went down in 2011.
Rodgers deserves MVP votes this 12 months based mostly solely on how his group has been with out him. The Packers had been Four-1 when he was injured towards Minnesota on Oct. 15. They misplaced that recreation and two extra sandwiched round an off week since.
The Packers matched a season excessive with 35 factors in a victory over the Cowboys on Oct. Eight and haven’t scored greater than 17 in any of the three video games since. They don’t play nice protection, they by no means have been a lot on particular groups and the operating recreation has been flawed for a very long time.
It’s foolish to suppose one recreation might be key to clarifying the Bears’ future, however that’s precisely the case. A victory over the Packers units the desk for a second-half run to .500 with two winless opponents coming to Soldier Field. While Eight-Eight doubtless would guarantee John Fox will get to play out his remaining season, even a .500 second half and a 7-9 document might be sufficient.
A victory Sunday would elevate the Bears out of sole possession of the division cellar and tie the general collection between the groups. This is the 12 months to get Green Bay and that is the sport to do it.
A few weeks in the past Fox talked about how grit and never having one of the best gamers makes for soccer group. Fox loves the phrase grit and has used it for Jay Cutler and for his Broncos group via the years. Grit just isn’t a substitute for expertise however it’s an necessary high quality to the coach. Talent often dominates in skilled sports activities, however in an NFL populated with flawed groups, grit can take you fairly far. It’s a wanted ingredient towards the Packers.
A loss could be unambiguous humiliation. Any momentum or goodwill gained within the opening half of the season could be misplaced. It’s an unacceptable final result.
Sadly, the Bears methodology for profitable permits opponents to remain in video games. The Bears depend on championship caliber protection and a stable operating recreation to regulate the clock and restrict alternatives for opponents. The group’s willpower to not flip the ball over has led to a leash of types for rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky,
It’s unlikely the Bears are going to take away the restraints on this recreation, however right here’s hoping offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains spent the off week learning tape of groups across the league such because the Chiefs, Eagles and Texans.
Those groups have been using some components of the faculty learn possibility offense, a scheme that matches Trubisky’s ability set. The younger quarterback just isn’t adept but on the type of development learn offense the NFL favors.
The extra the Bears can open issues up with out turning the ball over, the extra doubtless they are going to be to stack some victories within the second half of the season. It’s not straightforward to win within the NFL and this concept badortment of atypical gamers can pull off a succession of extraordinary performances is far-fetched.
But then, the second half of the season just isn’t concerning the pursuit of excellence or producing a constructive commonplace of play. Mediocrity will do exactly tremendous.
Mediocrity is victory for the 2017 Bears.
Mike Mulligan is a particular contributor to the Chicago Tribune.
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