Nine Sundays out of 10, there is no way the Bears can line up with Kyle Long, Taylor Gabriel, Mike Davis, Bilal Nichols, Akiem Hicks and Roquan Smith in street clothes, and then lose Mitch Trubisky for the day on their opening possession and hang with almost any NFL team, let alone the Minnesota Vikings, who have one of the NFL’s best running games and defenses.
This Sunday was the that tenth instance, and while the temptation with a performance like the one the Vikings gave is always to blame it on Kirk Cousins, this one was on the Bears ‘D,’ not the stunningly over-priced Minnesota QB.
Let’s start with this: Roy Robertson Harris and Eddie Goldman would each be the best interior lineman on most other teams in the NFL, each was outstanding Sunday and almost as importantly there should be no doubt Nick Williams and Abdullah Anderson – Anderson just elevated from the practice squad days ago – both definitely belong on an NFL field somewhere.
Next up, hats off to Nick Kwiatkoski.
There were plenty of signals Hicks would be out, and we knew Nichols would be, but “Kwit,” as he is known to his teammates, had no idea until sometime not too far ahead of kickoff that he’d be starting in place of Roquan Smith, the Bears' best run down tackler, against the NFL’s top running back.
For a player who is a solid No. 3 but may never be a regular starter anywhere because of his limited speed and athleticism, "44 " had a game-ball-worthy performance against Dalvin Cook and Co.
Now before we get to any other players — which I promise you, we are going to — let’s talk for a minute about Matt Nagy’s game plan and play calling.
The performance of Chase Daniel in relief of Trubisky is certain to have the sports talk radio airwaves and blogs burning up throughout the week all around Chicago, specifically with the idea Daniel knows the offense better than Trubisky, allowing Nagy to open up the field.
But that’s not what happened Sunday.
The Bears offensive numbers against the Vikings were eerily similar to Monday night’s against Washington.
If you want to argue Daniel executed the plan and the offense better than Trubisky, have at it, but the truth is the game plan wasn’t that different from the week before in Washington and it was perfect for both the Vikings defense and in keeping Cook on the sideline as much as possible.
I thought this might have been Nagy’s best game as a Bear.
So as we catch our breath here for a moment, who might we be forgetting so far? Oh yeah, that guy in the No. 52 jersey.
Most people are stunned by the way Khalil Mack can take over a game at times all by himself, but that’s not really Mack’s story.
Go back and study the tape on this one and you’ll see he was double-teamed on almost every single play — except for the ones he’s triple-teamed on or the couple plays Sunday when four guys tried to stop him and basically got a draw.
You can count on one hand the number of players in the NFL that don’t play quarterback worth two first-round draft choices, but Mack showed again Sunday why he might be worth three or four.
And one other guy who flashed repeatedly Sunday, even though he didn’t add another pick this week, is Kyle Fuller, who is playing cornerback right now as well as anyone in the NFL.
It’s not that I want to ignore the offense here and we should note there is no question at this point that Allen Robinson is definitely the Bears MVP on that side of the ball, but Sunday was a day that belonged to the defense.
And that leads us to the question of the hour.
I know we can all agree that we hope Trubisky’s injury is as minor as possible.
But the never ending debate about Trubisky or Daniel and when will Nagy open up the playbook, really should be how do we lock in this gameplan, focus on fixing the running game and try and get to a Super Bowl with a defense that is truly super and just settle for the offense being the supporting cast.