Bears beat up a ‘beat up’ Bengals team

The Chicago Bears notched their 4th victory of the season on Sunday when they came into Cincinnati and rudely pushed around their Bengal hosts. The Bengals seemed like they wanted to part in stopping the Bears, nor did they have a lot of interest in doing much on offense. My guess is they were still licking their wounds from the Sunday night fight vs the Steelers.

Mitchell Trubisky threw for 271 yards and a touchdown, and ran for a score. He looked good throughout the day, he was probably not as accurate as his stats said he was. Receivers actually extended, jumped, and made plays for the rookie QB, which was nice to see. Tight end Adam Shaheen caught 4 passes for 41 yards, including one in the endzone for a touchdown. Safety Eddie Jackson picked off his second pass of the year, which lead to a score. Tarik Cohen rushed for 80 yards, but had at least one score taken back because of a penalty. Basically, the rookies looked good today. It was a good day for Ryan Pace and the scouting department.

Jordan Howard had his way, romping for 147 yards and 2 TDs. He bounced back nicely from the last 2 weeks or so. The big thing for me is the offense had several long drives that resulted in points. Keeps the defense fresh and hungry. Later in the game when the score was lopsided, they were able to put pressure on, and keep the Bengals down.

What does it mean? Very little for John Fox and the coaching staff. Word around town is that Pace has already been making his list, and checking it twice. Unfortunately, this means Fox and his staff will most likely end up with a bunch of coal in their stockings. Dowell Loggains seemed to call his best game of the year. Although, at times, it seemed kind of predictable going between run and pass. The offensive line did a nice job in both run and pass blocking.

It’s kind of ‘too little, too late’, but better to see improvement than none at all. The players are still fighting for Fox, and some of them for their own NFL careers. Would have been nice if they had shown this vs Green Bay, and last week vs the 49ers. A win is a win though, and it feels much better than losing. Next week they play the Lions up in Detroit on Saturday afternoon. Hopefully it will be a competitive game.

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Bears coaching ‘not to lose’, fail to win vs 49ers

Not much left to say at this point. The Bears coaching staff clearly played ‘not to lose’ on Sunday vs the San Francisco 49ers. Another title could be: Jimmy Garoppolo/Robbie Gould beat Bears without scoring a TD. Pick which one you like best!

That’s exactly what happened. First of all, Robbie Gould should still be a Bear. I said that at the time. He’s probably going to kick 5-6 more years at a high level. That’s not the story though. Neither is former New England Patriot quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo coming back home and getting a win without scoring a TD.

The story is short, sad, and sweet: The Bears coaches played not to win, and lost. It’s that simple. Not having access to the “all 22” coaches tapes. I can’t say if guys were not getting open, or Trubisky simply doesn’t want to take chances. He needs to take chances. More than that, he simply needs to hit guys who are open. He also has to throw guys open. So, he didn’t throw a pick? Big deal. The Bears didn’t score a point in the 2nd half, and looked incapable of doing so. You felt if the 49ers scored a TD the game would be over. They didn’t, but they still looked like the dominant team.

You are going to hear a lot about fans wanting the coaching staff fired, and they will be soon enough. I don’t put all the blame on them. This roster is lacking in talent. That being said, the team that beat them today was also lacking in talent. But they made it work. Ryan Pace has as much to do with the team in it’s current state, if not more. It’s hard to imagine that in the 3rd year of his regime, a team could look so bad. This is what happens when you bank on an undrafted free-agent and a draft pick who had only played in 4 games in his first 2 years.

Then there is the fact that Ryan pace likes drafting players with more talent than experience with his first round picks. This might be another article altogether.

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Brawl of the Week: Yellow-Brick Brawl (again)

This week’s Tavern Brawl is another one of my favorites: Yellow-Brick Brawl. It’s simplicity makes it fun. Make a deck of 10 cards, they will give you 3 copies of each. There is a kicker: Each side has a “Dorothee” who grants Charge or Taunt to minions depending which side you play them on. Be mindful of this, and where you place your minions.

The first attempt was not so good. Too many small minions, too many spells. I had to adjust some things. Mage probably isn’t the greatest class for this brawl. I stuck with it though.

The Yellow-Brick Brawl is paved with tears folks. Tears of joy, or tears of sorrow–you decide!

Go on, get in there! This week’s brawl goes back to original hearthstone packs, but those are good too. Have fun! See you next week!

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Brawl of the Week: The Void Singularity

This week’s Tavern Brawl: The Void Singularity is a brand new brawl, with a brand new mechanic: Sacrifice your minions to create an all powerful entity. It’s a little vague, but you can probably guess how it works.

So I went with the hunter this time, more because of the 2 point damage per round than anything. It took me a few tries to get it “right”. I went up against a couple players who had well thought out decks.

As you can see, I loaded up on low-cost minions. Most of which have a Battlecry or Deathrattle mechanic. I probably would have been successful if I wasn’t up against a mage with a lot of crowd control options. I had to edit my deck a couple times.

I had a pretty nice minion going early, but it got taken care of before it could hit.

I had a pretty nice minion going early, but it got taken care of before it could hit.

Some minions work better than others. This seems like a pretty fun brawl that might have a lot of replayability. This brawl, like the last 2 rewards a special Kobolds and Catacombs pack. Enjoy. Have fun. See you next week!

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Could John Fox get another Manning and take a team to the Super Bowl?

The news came out that the Giants were essentially benching Eli to take a look at Geno Smith (shakes head) and Davis Webb (throws up a little in my mouth). I’m not really surprised. Let’s be honest, the Giants want to secure a top pick in the draft. If you can’t win with Eli, you are damn sure not winning with Geno or any other QB.

My first thought was, Eli would be a great fit in Arizona, or maybe Jacksonville, who has former Giants coach, Tom Coughlin in their front office. Then as I was thinking, who had the last Manning and went to a Super Bowl? None other than Bears current head coach, John Fox! Fox is still under contract for 2018, why not let him finish it out with a veteran quarterback?

Now this might be a stretch, but rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky could learn a lot from Eli. Trubisky will still play out the rest of 2017. The Bears need to revamp their wide receivers. They need to draft at least 1 in the first 3 rounds, bring in 1-2 in free agency. They also need to get a legitimate left tackle, and maybe a right tackle.

Full disclosure: I have been an Eli fan since he was a freshman at Ole Miss. I said he might be the better passer (passer, not QB) of the Manning brothers. This scenario is a lot like the one that forced Peyton out, sans the neck injury. In all fairness, I have not been watching the Giants, so I don’t know how much of the Giants problems started or ended with Eli. I do know they were lacking at receiver, losing their top 2, or 3, similar to the Bears.

While the Bears don’t have a Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker, they do have Jordan Howard, and Tarik Cohen. In 2018, there are some interesting names who might be on the market:

TE Jimmy Graham– his best years might be behind him, but at the right price, he would be a nice option in the redzone. A QB like Eli would have no problem hitting him early and often.

WR Alshon Jeffery– The Bears are familiar with this tall and rangy WR. He would have to come at their price. He knows Chicago, and probably would love to play with Eli, and the Bears defense with a legitimate shot to compete for a championship.

WR Sammy Watkins– Watkins has been kind of a letdown so far, so he might come cheap.

WR Jarvis Landry– Landry is a lot like former Steeler, and current Bronco: Emmanuel Sanders. Short, shifty, catches lots of balls, and has some run after catch ability. Has been underused in Miami so far. Out of the three, I would really like Landry. He moves the chains, and can really beat any coverage.

If the Bears signed two of those 4, and added another from the draft, they would be in nice position. You still have Cam Meredith, and possibly Kevin White as backups.

Now, I know all this is probably far from reality. Currently the talk is who the next head coach of the Bears will be. That was before Eli got benched though. I would be a little sad if the Bears fired Fox, and he went to another team (say the Cardinals) and won a Super Bowl there.

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Bears ‘Down and out’ in Philadelphia

So far this season, the Bears have been in most of their games. On Sunday, the Bears were not competitive from start to finish. The Philadelphia Eagles held them down for the better part of the 60 minute timed contest.

There is a lot of talk that rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky “could be” on the track that 2nd year QBs Carson Wentz, and Jared Goff are on this season. At times, I see it. Yesterday’s beat down, makes that scenario a lot foggier. The Bears defense, and Trubisky seem to be regressing. It could be as simple as the amount of talent on the Eagles, and the Bears margin for error is paper thin.

It’s clear the Bears have a lot of needs. No bigger than the targets Trubisky has to throw to. Right now I am not sure they have a #3 wide receiver. Inman has shown flashes, but his injury history says otherwise. The offensive line could use some help as well. A true left tackle, a right tackle, and maybe a stud center. This will be Ryan Pace’s biggest draft.

Then there is the defense, that has been pretty solid all year. They have held opposing QBs to less than 2 TDs a game, and many RBs to less than 100 yards a game. They played OK in spurts, but for the most part, the Eagles did what they wanted to do, when they wanted to do it. Their big QB converted 3rd and 4th downs, keeping the ball, and running over the Bears defensive line. It was so bad the Eagles put in journeyman QB Nick Foles with 9+ minutes to go in the 4th quarter.

Last week I was starting to give in to the “Fire Fox” movement. I was still hoping Fox would lead the Bears to respectability. This week, my “knee-jerk” reaction is to fire everyone, even Vic Fangio. The sad reality is, the Bears just don’t have the talent. I am kind of tired of hearing how Phil Emery left the Bears in bad shape. This is kind of a misnomer. Emery whiffed on draft picks, but he built up the offensive line, and loaded up on free agents. He got players like Willie Young, drafted Kyle Fuller. Pace had 3 years, 3 drafts, and 3 free agency periods. Some hit, some didn’t.

What’s left? The 49ers come to town next Sunday. After that the Bears travel to Cincinnati and Detroit, come home for the Browns on Christmas Eve, then end the season at Minnesota on New Year’s Eve. The 49ers game should be interesting. It should tell us where the Bears stand as a team. If they come out flat, that is another nail in the Fox coaching regime’s “coffin”. If they Blow out San Francisco, that is a good sign. One note: Jimmy Garoppolo made an appearance in the 4th quarter, and could start vs the Bears. So there’s that.

I don’t expect the Bears to win any of their remaining road games. That leaves 2 wins vs the 49ers, and Browns at home. A final record of 5-11. Probably a coaching change, and a top 10-12 pick in the 2018 draft. It’s an all too familiar song and dance in the Bears recent history.

 

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Bears blow 10 point lead, miss kick to get to OT

The sad state of affairs reared up and showed it’s ugly head on Sunday, on a sunny day at Soldier Field. The Bears blew an early 10 point lead vs the NFC north rival Detroit Lions. Though you can’t blame any one area, you can put a lot of the blame on the coordinators, coaching in general, and one decision by Ryan Pace.

With 8 seconds left, the Bears had a decent shot to tie the game at 27. Conner Barth, who Fox cut previous kicker, Robbie Gould for, missed from 46 yards out. Barth is not the sole reason they lost. The defense stopped playing in the 2nd quarter, and allowed Detroit to rack upĀ  yardage and 14 points. They settled down in the second half, only allowing 2 field goals.

The Bears had their chance with 1:34 seconds left, and all three time outs. For some reason, they left their 2 most prolific weapon on offense on the sideline once again (Cohen was curiously absent last week vs the Packers). Trubisky made some plays down the stretch, including a gutsy run to get a first down, and a couple nice throws.

I have been a big supporter of offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains, and I think he has done some good things with the QBs he has been given. It puzzles me how they ran the ball so well in the first half (and parts of the second) then suddenly go away from it when they need it the most. Loggains has said Cohen was the most explosive player on offense, but hasn’t really backed that up with featuring him in key situations.

As far as John Fox goes, I was hoping he would be able to coach the team to some winnable games. It’s not looking like that is a possibility. In addition to losing, the Bears might be without 2nd year pass rusher Leonard Floyd, who left late in the game after Kyle Fuller ran into his knee. It looked like a gruesome hit*.

*Floyd will have surgery to repair his MCL and PCL tendons.

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