Concerning Chicago Bears, patience right now more warranted than despair
OK, so it wasn't all that pretty.
In fact at times the Chicago Bears visit to Denver Sunday was downright ugly, but at least in the end Bears fans everywhere got a big kick -- I guess we could say a huge kick -- out of the team's 16-14 last-second victory over the Denver Broncos and former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.
How good was Bears rookie place-kicker Eddy Pineiro Sunday? Even though they say nobody can be, he was actually perfect nailing 42-, 52- and 53-yard field goals, the last coming with no time left on the clock.
He also converted his only extra-point attempt and boomed all four of his kickoffs out of the back of the end zone.
There was, however, so much more that happened in Denver, some of it good, some uncertain and, honestly, a lot that still is concerning and disappointing.
For the second week in a row, the Bears were unable to put 275 yards of offense, an extremely meager total by NFL standards, on the board. That's with quarterback Mitch Trubisky throwing for just 120 yards on 16 of 27, a 4.4 average, and it wasn't because the Broncos didn't have to worry about defending the run.
True to his word, Bears coach Matt Nagy unleashed his ground game, actually rushing more than he passed with 29 rushes for 153 yards, a 5.3 average. But that's a bit misleading as 46 of those yards came on one Cordarrelle Patterson burst around left end.
Without it, the Bears averaged just 3.8 yards a pop.
It also was very promising that David Montgomery almost certainly cemented a new role as the featured back with 18 of those carries for a respectable 62 yards and the Bears' only touchdown on an all effort yard-and-a-half dive.
Trubisky was clearly better than he was in Week 1 at home against the Green Bay Packers, but not much better, still struggling to find open receivers down the field. He also missed several when he did.
In the first half, Trubisky did an excellent job of scrambling out of pressure to his right and did a great job of finding Tarik Cohen a step and a half behind a defender about 25 yards downfield, before underthrowing him and turning 6 into an incompletion.
But then with the game on the line at fourth-and-15 and just nine seconds remaining he was flawless, avoiding pressure in the pocket, patiently reading the field and then throwing a strike to Allen Robinson and getting the clock stopped with one second left for Pineiro's game-winning bomb.
In fairness to the still-young QB, more often than not none of his weapons other than Robinson were able to get open and be available, and the offensive line also was better than Week 1 but not perfect.
For the second straight week, Charles Leno had back-to-back holding and hands-to-the-face calls that were drive killers, and it took the Bears five cracks on the ground for 4.99 yards from the 4.99 yard line to get their only touchdown.
All frustrating, to be sure, but it is worth noting that three, four weeks from now all we'll remember -- or at least all we'll still be talking about -- will be Pineiro's game-winner and that both he and Trubisky did what they had to with the game on the line.
What may be instructive here is a quick look at how this, to say the least, rocky start to the season compares to last year through two weeks and interestingly enough it continues to be almost a carbon copy.
One year ago after blowing a 20-point lead at Green Bay, the Bears came home and put up just 271 yards of offense, 2 yards fewer than they had Sunday at Denver, in a 24-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks dominated by their defense as this Bears win was.
Yes, there is a ton of work to do and as yet this Bears team has not resembled the club we expected coming out of training camp.
But as long as they continue to follow a near identical path to the one that turned out so well a season ago, it feels like patience still is the more warranted approach than despair at this point in the season.