You sit there, you watch the Bears and, against your better judgment, you get sucked in.
Look at all the different players who are catching passes from Good Mitch Trubisky! There’s so much sharing going on, it might as well be a men’s encounter group!
Look at the Bears’ defense making the Giants look puny, malnourished and worthy of one’s pity!
Two touchdown passes from Mitch and two turnovers by the Bears’ defense, all of it in the first half!
By no means do you think this means that the Bears are good, but you start to think about the possibility of Trubisky putting together two good halves in a row. Again, you think these things against your better judgment and against what would be the better judgment of, say, a tree frog. But the Giants are bad, and they lost stud running back Saquon Barkley to a serious knee injury early in the second quarter. So you think, What could go wrong?
The Bears could go wrong.
Trubisky could go wrong.
The play-calling could go wrong.
The Bears barely won a game they should have won big Sunday at Soldier Field. A 17-13 nail-biter over the Giants is not what the doctor ordered, unless the doctor is a fan of ugly football and dangerous mood swings.
I’m a confirmed Trubisky doubter. So I didn’t think he had been magically cured of his innate Mitchness with three fourth-quarter touchdown passes last week against the Lions. But when I saw him throw two touchdown passes in the first half against a thoroughly unimpressive Giants team, I expected more of the same from both Trubisky and the Giants in the second half.
What I forgot, of course, was the law of gravity, that when Mitch goes up, he must come down. And not just him, but the Bears, too. He threw two second-half interceptions. The second one should have been caught by wide receiver Allen Robinson, but still. It’s always something.
The Bears’ defense suddenly found itself back on its heels because of Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, who had done nothing in the first half and should have been served another half of it.
Don’t let the Bears’ 2-0 record fool you. Two games into the season, this team looks a lot like last year’s 8-8 team. There’s something missing. An accelerant. A propellant. Something. You can almost count on the Bears losing it during long stretches of every game, just as you can count on the opposite occurring at some point.
So why did I fall for it again? Well, there was the early influence of good Bears and awful Giants. And I might have left my drink unattended for a few minutes. But Trubisky looked so good! On the Bears’ second touchdown drive, he completed passes to five receivers. That felt significant. Usually, he throws to Robinson whenever he can and even whenever he can’t. Perhaps Mitch and coach Matt Nagy had come to the realization that there were other receivers on the team. Anyway, the Bears led 17-0 at halftime, and there was no reason to think they wouldn’t carry that momentum into the second half.
Except for that one reason — they’re the Bears.
For the offense, the third quarter started with a Trubisky interception on a forced pass to Robinson. Did I really think that Mitch would pull the plug on his bromance with A-Rob? What was I thinking?
And so the feel-good storyline of Trubisky “stacking’’ good quarters together from the Lions game to the Giants game soon gave way to soul-searching followed by self-hatred followed by the journalistic fetal position. As I write this, I’m thinking, Look, idiot, Trubisky doesn’t turn corners. He either goes forward or backward, and the Bears usually end up with the same thing: 17 points.
This “victory’’ wasn’t all Mitch’s fault, though I’m starting to think that whatever he is, he’s contagious. And Nagy’s play-calling was questionable at times. He caught a break in the fourth quarter when Trubisky’s forced pass to Jimmy Graham into double coverage bounced into the hands of offensive lineman Bobby Massie. It was way too risky a call with the Bears clinging to a 17-13 lead. And it could just as easily have been Trubisky’s third interception of the afternoon.
For the most part, though, Nagy was very conservative after Trubisky’s first interception, a reminder that very little has changed in the Bears’ assessment of their quarterback. If they truly trusted him, they wouldn’t have tried to sit on a lead. But sit they did. They handed the ball to David Montgomery, who looked good, but modern-day football requires a passing game at times. And that’s how it came to pass that a blowout victory became something very different.
The Giants had the ball at the Bears’ 10-yard line with four seconds left. The Bears stopped them. It just as easily could have gone the other way.
“I would say we’re just OK right now,’’ Nagy said.
Some things are obvious. One obvious thing is that the Bears will show their true colors over a 60-minute game. Next time, I’ll try to remember what I already knew.