CHICAGO – You see, Bears fans, it could be worse.
You could be a New York Giants fan.
In a game that may have set NFL offense back a decade or two, the Bears thrashed a Giants team, 29-3, that appeared to wish it was anywhere but on a football field.
On the very first play of the game following the opening kickoff, Bears linebacker Trevis Gipson burst through the line to sack and strip quarterback Mike Glennon. Bilal Nichols recovered at the 14 and took the ball back to the Giants’ 2-yard line.
David Montgomery took the ball in for a touchdown behind a rumbling 330-pound Khyiris Tonga at fullback on the next play, and the Bears led, 7-0, with 18 seconds gone.
Glennon was the gift that kept on giving all day long and only five plays later he threw a ball that bounced off Kenny Golladay’s hands to set up a beautiful juggling interception by Tashaun Gipson, who took it back to the Giants’ 24. For all practical purposes it was over just 3:13 into the game.
While it was easily the Bears most dominant performance of the season, there was little esthetically pleasing about it, but let’s hit the highlights first.
The Bears’ four takeaways were easily a season high, with Deon Bush adding a second pick in the fourth quarter and Tonga recovering Gipson’s second strip sack of the day.
Thanks to the 39 yards lost on the Bears’ four sacks, including Robert Quinn’s record setting 18th of the season, with Angelo Blackson adding one too, the Bears held the Giants to minus-10 passing yards for the game and just 151 yards of total offense, and a meager 1 for 11 on third down and 0 for 1 on fourth.
Trevis Gipson played his best game as a pro and left us to dream all coming offseason about a three-man rush next year featuring Khalil Mack, Quinn and him.
Before you get too deep into the what ifs though, the Giants were just a shadow of the mediocre team that started the season with their own mile long list of injuries, and the presence of Glennon at quarterback made them that much worse.
Clearly this isn’t his year either.
He finished 4 of 11 for 24 yards and two interceptions for a passer rating of 5.3, which leads us to the hard part of all this.
Andy Dalton and the Bears offense weren’t much better.
With just 2:36 left in the third quarter, the Bears had compiled their 29-3 lead on just 213 yards of total offense, 145 of that through the air, and they finished with only 249 net yards.
Dalton was off all day, holding the ball far too long and turning easy pitch and catches into defensed, contested and just flat out missed passes. He threw one pick but easily could of thrown two or three more.
The running game struggled again too with David Montgomery fighting all day long but finishing just 64 yards on 22 carries.
The Bears’ 3.8 yards per play certainly belied the dominant score and was almost as sad as the 2.7 the Bears defense stuffed the Giants with.
There was some controversy again at tackle where Jason Peters started over Teven Jenkins and played well for three quarters before Jenkins got some late action, but Larry Borom did start ahead of Germain Ifedi this week at right tackle and played most of the game.
Nonetheless, at the end of the day, it was a feel good story for all, much like last Sunday in Seattle, with most of the focus on Quinn’s eclipse of Richard Dent’s single-season franchise sack record.
With another entire offseason to worry about the offense, how about if we just go with that for now?