Rozner: Just for something different, Chicago Bears dominate
The Chicago Bears won a football game Sunday.
It's cause for celebration.
The last time the Bears were victorious was the same week the Cubs last won a game, and if that feels like a long time ago, it's because it was.
But the Bears (4-9) should have felt right at home in Cincinnati Sunday in a half-empty stadium with a crowd that wasn't all that interested against a team that was even less interested.
The Bengals (5-8) clearly quit after a physical, heartbreaking loss to Pittsburgh Monday night when they lost Vontaze Burfict and gave away any remaining shot at a playoff berth.
It was a match between two teams going nowhere and the level of play was appropriate for such a game.
You know if you watched. If, you watched.
Nevertheless, the Bears played hard and that's something, perhaps as much a reflection on head coach John Fox as players auditioning for jobs.
The players have been consistent with their public comments about wanting to play for Fox, and they did that Sunday in winning their first game since Oct. 22 against Carolina.
"To see young guys come in and work hard and not reap the benefits is hard," Fox said. "When you don't experience the end result -- the W -- it's hard. It's nice to see some of the young guys see the benefits of all that hard work."
The defense was strong against a putrid Cincinnati offense led by the enigmatic Andy Dalton, who -- like many of his teammates -- seemed excited about getting off the field as quickly as possible, the Bears holding the ball for a ridiculous 38:09.
And the offense took advantage of a banged-up Bengals defense that could not handle Jordan Howard (147 yards) and the run game (232 yards).
That finally opened up some opportunities for quarterback Mitch Trubisky, who had his best game as a pro, looking solid from start to finish with the Bengals missing three of their four starters in the secondary.
"It all starts up front," Fox said. "Not taking anything away from any of the skill guys, but whether it's pass protection or run blocking, it all starts up front.
"Our front had a good day."
It wasn't a complicated game plan, but Trubisky executed well, and that's something he hasn't done much of to this point.
With the run game effective, the Bears used plenty of play action and rolls to make quick throws easy, and Trubisky targeted Kendall Wright 11 times for 10 catches and 107 yards.
The Bears also went out of their way to bolster GM Ryan Pace and feature tight end project Adam Shaheen, who missed another block on a sack and dropped a touchdown pass but also caught one from the 1-yard line and had 4 grabs for 44 yards.
"We have a young football team, particularly on offense," Fox said. "Our coaches have done a great job preparing (Trubisky), but there's always those young moments. But I think you saw some growth."
Bears penalties remained a problem -- 10 for 74 yards -- but the Bengals laid down in the second half and the Bears cruised to an easy 33-7 victory, something they haven't been able to say in 2017.
"It's not easy," Fox said of the five-game losing streak. "It's not easy on anybody. But you don't lay your sword down. You just keep swinging."
It was the Bears' first game with over 28 points scored in more than two years, so the narrative for the week will be that it's all coming together for this club three years into a rebuild.
If that's true, the Super Bowl conversation can't be far behind.
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