Written by Joe Tidei/Special to Bears Backer
The worst thing you can do as a fan and as a writer is to sensationalize every game and overreact. The NFL is a week-to-week business. The Pittsburgh Steelers were embarrassed in Philadelphia eight days ago. A week later, they destroyed a good Kansas City team at home in primetime.
Through four games, we should start to get an idea of who the Bears are and what they can be. Patterns establish, identify forms and the team starts to take shape.
But I find myself wondering if we really know who the Bears are given all their injuries and inconsistencies.
Let’s be clear; the Detroit Lions are not a good measuring stick. They are a bad football team missing their two best defensive players. So when we evaluate the Bears’ performance on Sunday, their opponent needs to be taken into account.
The Bears dominated the game in pretty much every statistical category. They were clearly the better and more talented team, yet they only won by three. In a nutshell, Sunday’s game was the epitome of who the Bears are, talented but wildly inconsistent.
The offense produced over 400 yards, the defense only gave up six points, forced two turnovers and the Bears were in control for 58 minutes until the punt return score in the fourth quarter made it 17-14.
The most frustrating part about this team is they are their own worst enemy. I counted six pre-snap penalties, a couple of which happened when the Bears were driving deep into Lions territory.
Self-inflicted wounds cause the most damage and the Bears have to clean them up, especially the ones that happen before the ball is snapped.
But you can see the talent. The wide receiver unit is one of the best in the league, Jordan Howard looked like a feature back and the defense dominated the sixth ranked offense in the league.
I’ll never complain about a win, especially the first one of the year. I just feel this team should be better than it is because despite the injuries, they have talent.
The Bears have to get better at finishing drives, plays and games. They left quite a few points on the board because they couldn’t get out of their own way and against better teams, it’ll come back to bite them.
The optimistic lens tells us that the Bears have two very winnable games coming up against the Colts and Jaguars, which would get them to 3-3 before a date with Green Bay. The cream is also rising to the top and players like Howard, Amos, Freeman, Miller, Royal and Callahan are emerging as playmakers.
The pessimistic lens tells us that the same problems arose on Sunday, despite the win, and the Bears still have a ways to go before they become a good team.
I saw glimpses and flashes of the 9-7 team I predicted before the season though and that was without four of their best players.
Hopefully getting that first win will give the team some momentum going into an easier stretch of games and they can find some consistency because the NFC looks wide open. The opportunity is there if the Bears want to take advantage of it, I just want to see who this team really is.
Author’s note: Joe is an associate producer at CSN Chicago. Give him a follow on Twitter @Joe_Tidei. He talks Chicago sports all day every day.
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