In case you are hard of hearing, had the sound on mute, or were enjoying the game from your favorite local establishment where the fellow patrons drown out the television sound, ESPN’s Mike Tirico wanted you to know it was cold out Monday night for the Chicago Bears matchup against the Dallas Cowboys.
It was bitterly cold. And windy. Wind chills were below zero, the wind was effecting the flight of the ball.
So naturally, the expectations going in weren’t much. Given the Bears poor run defense, it was expected that Dallas would run the ball, eating much of the clock, and keep it a low scoring game. The Bears, led by backup Quarterback Josh McCown, didn’t have the greatest of offensive expectations in the ridiculous elements on the lakefront.
But few counted on Bears coach Marc Trestman to prove why he was the offensive mind the Bears had sought this past offseason when trying to find their new head coach.
Trestman has been criticized over the past few weeks for his play calling and game management. The Bears struggles on the goalline, as well as plays on third and short or fourth and short that have come up empty have all led to eyes being on the first year head coach. The failures will always overshadow the successes, and in recent weeks, that is exactly what has happened.
People forget it was just a few weeks ago that Trestman chose to go for it on fourth down with the Bears in their own territory. The call paid off, as the Bears picked up the first down and held the ball for almost the entire rest of the game. It’s not often you can point to one single moment and say ‘this is the exact reason why the game turned out like it did,’ but that moment was about as close as it gets.
Fast forward again to Monday night. Facing the brutal conditions that all of you in Chicago have experienced over the past couple days, Trestman’s playcalling was superb. You want balance? How is 36 passes and 32 runs. Efficiency from both? McCown threw for 348 yards, while the Bears rushing attack added 149 more yards. The offense totaled 497 yards on the night. Efficiency? Take out the final kneel down of the game and the Bears put points on the scoreboard on every single drive they had.
Even in a game where everyone thought the win would play mind games with the kickers, Bears kicker Robbie Gould was perfect, as so often he is. His three field goals all came from under 35 yards, but it still looked like quite the adventure anytime the ball was in the air. Remarkably, there was never really doubt on any of Gould’s kicks.
But the story Monday night still remains that of Trestman’s offense. McCown had a QB rating of 141.9, and while nobody knows how to calculate, even the most casual fan knows that number is phenomenal. So were the four touchdowns he threw.
McCown managed to spread the wrath on offense as well. Brandon Marshall led the team, catching six of the eight passes his way, and hitting the 100 yard mark. Alshon Jeffery continued climbing the charts as one of the best receivers in the game, catching five passes for 84 yards and a ridiculous touchdown catch that will be shown on highlight reels throughout his career. Matt Forte and Martellus Bennett both had productive days as well, even tight end Dante Rosario and running back Michael Bush caught passes.
I’ve never been one to oversell a team, but on Monday night it was deserved. while the Bears defense continues to be a let down, the Bears offense is as consistent as it gets. Even on the warmest of days, one could hardly imagine an offense having a game like the Bears did Monday. Credit coach Trestman with bringing it all together.