Bears pound Bengals 33-7 to halt losing streak at five games
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CINCINNATI — Maybe it was his voice — coach John Fox would later apologize for being more hoarse than his perma-rasp — but he sounded almost wistful after the Bears’ 33-7 thrashing of the Bengals on Sunday.
“What’s been frustrating for me and the coaches is a lot of us have had our day in the sun,” he said. “But to see young guys come in and work hard and not reap those benefits . . .
“I thought Mitch Trubisky played very well last week. When you don’t experience the end result that’s a ‘W,’ it’s hard to put much into that.”
The same could be said of Fox, whose 4-9 Bears snapped a five-game losing streak — and avoided tying the franchise’s longest in-season skid in 15 years — against the worn-down Bengals. Therein lies the irony of the Bears’ most dominant win of 2017: It bodes well for a future that still doesn’t figure to include Fox.
Every Bears touchdown — and there were a season-high four — was scored by a player in his first or second season.
Trubisky, who went 25-for-32 for 271 yards and a 112.4 passer rating, ran for a four-yard zone-read touchdown in the third quarter.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, fellow rookie Adam Shaheen drew pass interference in the end zone on third down. On the next play, he hauled in a one-yard touchdown pass from Trubisky.
Running back Jordan Howard bookended the Bears’ scoring with touchdown runs — a 21-yarder on their first drive and an eight-yarder with nine minutes to play to go up by 26. He had 147 yards on 23 carries.
“I feel like I got back to my violent ways a little bit this week,” said Howard, who admitted he might have been made tentative by seasonlong shoulder pain.
Rookie Tarik Cohen had two touchdowns come back — he stepped out of bounds on his way to the end zone in the first quarter and scored on a screen in the second, only for guard Tom Compton to be penalized for an illegal block — and still finished with a season-high 80 yards on 12 carries.
The Bears have scored 26 touchdowns all year; rookies, including safety Eddie Jackson, have had a hand in 15.
“We have a lot of young weapons,” offensive tackle Bobby Massie said. “The future’s bright here. There are just pieces that need to be filled for this offense to excel.”
General manager Ryan Pace figures to make those additions, but they’ll likely be coached by someone else.
Even though the Bengals’ defense was clearly overmatched — five starters sat out because of injury only six days after a violent loss to the rival Steelers — perhaps the Bears’ offensive success appealed to some future coach.
Maybe that man, wherever he is, can squint and see Trubisky decisively operating an aggressive attack next year, handing to Howard and throwing to Cohen, Shaheen and whichever receivers Pace adds.
That’s where the Bears’ offseason pitch could begin — with their season-high 33-point game.
“There was an energy and vibe today coming out that I hadn’t felt,” Shaheen said.
“We pounded them for four quarters. . . . We came out firing, and we kept firing the whole game. It was awesome.”
Follow me on Twitter @patrickfinley.