Notes: Bears hope to have CB Prince Amukamara back for Packers game
A notebook from the Bears’ 31-24 win over the Cowboys, covering Amukamara, the defense’s rough start and Trubisky.
Bears cornerback Prince Amukamara is one of those players people tend to forget about — unless he’s gone.
He was out Thursday night against the Cowboys, missing just his fourth game out of 42 since joining the Bears in 2017. They went with seldom-used second-year corner Kevin Toliver in his place. Toliver has been almost exclusively a special-teamer this season and played just three defensive snaps before Thursday. He got the start opposite All-Pro Kyle Fuller.
The Bears are top-heavy at cornerback with Fuller and Amukamara, plus Buster Skrine in the slot, but don’t have much behind them. Toliver got one start as a rookie last season. Duke Shelley, a sixth-round pick this year, played six defensive snaps in the first 12 games.
Amukamara hurt his hamstring last week against the Lions. The Bears have an extended break leading up to their game at Green Bay on Dec. 15, making that a logical target for his return.
Not that there’s ever a good occasion to be missing a starting cornerback, but this is particularly bad timing for the Bears. After facing quarterback Dak Prescott and the Cowboys, they’ll face two other dangerous passing attacks led by the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers and the Chiefs’ Patrick Mahomes.
The Cowboys opened with an impressive touchdown drive in which they went 75 yards on 17 plays over the course of nine minutes and converted all four third downs. Running back Ezekiel Elliott was the star with 33 yards on eight carries, including a 2-yarder for his eighth touchdown of the season.
The Cowboys were No. 1 in the NFL in third-down conversions at 49 percent coming into the game.
It was the first drive of 17 plays or more against this iteration of the Bears’ defense. The Bears have allowed just seven drives of 17 or more plays since 1999, the most recent happening in 2016.
Trubisky in the dark
The Bears countered the opening drive by plowing into the red zone, but Mitch Trubisky threw a brutal interception when they were at the doorstep of the end zone. Cowboys cornerback Jourdan Lewis raced in front of intended receiver Javon Wims and barely got both feet down before sailing out of bounds.
It was Trubisky’s 12th interception in nine career regular-season night games. He came in with a 70.0 passer rating at night and went 12-for-17 for 126 yards for a 105.6 rating in the first half.
The pick also put him at five interceptions in the last four games — the stretch in which coach Matt Nagy claims Trubisky has turned a corner — after he threw just three interceptions in the first eight games.