Final Thoughts: The Bears do just enough to control the clock and pick up a win

Final Thoughts: The Bears do just enough to control the clock and pick up a win
02 October 2016: Chicago Bears Running Back Jordan Howard (24) runs wit the ball in the 1st quarter during an NFL football game between the Detroit Lions and the Chicago Bears at Solider Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Daniel Bartel/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

After opening up the season 0-3, the Bears accomplished something they only did once a year ago, winning at Soldier Field.

The visiting Detroit Lions came to town sporting a potent offense, but the Bears held them to just 263 total yards and 4.7 yards per play in a 17-14 win. With the victory, the Bears are now in third place in the NFC North despite the two teams each owning a 1-3 record.

As for the bright spots, let me start with the offense. Fifth round rookie running back Jordan Howard proved his worth with 132 total yards. He became the first Bears’ rookie back since Matt Forte in Week 1 of 2008 to rush for 100 yards in his first start.

Howard is the future at running back. He proved that time and time again, averaging 4.8 yards per carry, bulldozing defenders and making tough catches out of the backfield. Most importantly, he held up in pass protection.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer started his second straight game and although the Bears didn’t take many shots down the field, he completed 28-of-36 throws for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Hoyer was sacked twice on the afternoon, both coverage sacks.

Slot receiver Eddie Royal led the Bears’ receivers with seven grabs for 111 yards and a touchdown. It marked his first 100 yard performance since joining the Bears last season and first since Week 4 of 2014 with San Diego. His 64-yard catch and run was proof that he still has some wheels.

Zach Miller was held to three catches and 31 yards, but he had a key touchdown in the third quarter to put the Bears up 14-6. Kevin White exited with an ankle injury in the second half after posting six grabs for 55 yards and Alshon Jeffery caught three of five targets for 46 yards.

Defensively, young cornerbacks Jacoby Glenn and Deiondre’ Hall each came up with interceptions with the Lions marching. Cornelius Washington and Akiem Hicks both recorded their first sack of the season and Sam Acho did his best to contribute.

Leonard Floyd (calf) and Tracy Porter (knee) were held out in the second half, John Fox said after the game. Bryce Callahan stepped up making five tackles and Jerrell Freeman, Harold Jones-Quartey and Adrian Amos each had seven tackles.

I thought Will Sutton and John Timu really shined at times. Sutton, who is starting in the place of Eddie Goldman had three tackles while Timu had two tackles and a key tackle for loss in a goal line stand as he started next to Freeman.

Final Thoughts

The Bears faced three tough quarterbacks, two on the road over the first three weeks. They are gaining an identity with Royal and Miller making plays and Howard bruising defenders. Howard’s move into the lineup was caused by Jeremy Langford’s ankle injury, but he better suits this offense regardless.

They have a favorable matchup against a reeling Colts team that returns home after a tough loss in London. Then, the Bears welcome Jacksonville to town the following week.

I’m not one to jump ahead, but as the Bears regain health and get more confident, they can perhaps win some games. Getting Jeffery and White fully healthy will be key for this offense. Hoyer has done his part, but Jay Cutler should take over the reigns when he is finally 100 percent.

The defense won’t be able to stop everyone, but much like last season when they had little talent all around, Vic Fangio made the most of his unit. There are some signs of this team improving. The season is far from over.

Note: Jonathan Bullard was in uniform but did not play a single snap after battling a toe injury all week in practice.

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