By, MADDIE TOPLIFF
After beating one Empire State team–the New York Jets–on home turf the weekend of Oct. 28, the Chicago Bears packed up their airline-compliant suitcases and made the trip to Buffalo to try and beat another easily on the road. The seven losses on the Buffalo Bills’ stat sheet should have been a clue in my mind to expect a breezy Chicago victory, but you truly never know as a Bears fan. That is what makes it so fun, right? Yay! Uncertainty!
The Bills are dead last in the AFC East, right under the Jets (last week’s loser to the Bears). Buffalo has only dotted the i’s of two wins this season, having beaten the Bears’ northernmost division competitor the Minnesota Vikings on Sept. 23, a rather surprising victory to NFL fans. Two weeks later, the Bills edged out the Tennessee Titans with a score of 13 points to 12.
As briefly stated above, the Bears did alright at home the week before against the Jets, winning 24-10. It wasn’t a wow-factor victory, but a win is a win, especially to a home crowd. The offense, led by quarterback Mitch Trubisky, should not expect many obstacles against Buffalo, but it should be noted that the Bills are currently ranked 6th in the league for passing yards allowed per game. Trubisky, though, has already topped Jay Cutler in career quarterback rating with 86.1 to Cutler’s 85.2, as NBC Sports reported on Nov. 3. Yet, there’s a lot to be desired from Trubisky’s performances. I should remember it’s only November.
The Bears defense has been overall amazing this season but the pregame injury reports are concerning for Bears fans. Defense dynamo Khalil Mack didn’t practice on Thursday still citing his ankle injury, and Bears veteran Kyle Long was placed on injured reserve for tendon damage to his right foot during the Jets game.
Kickoff on Sunday at New Era Field failed to spark an enticing first quarter, which was eerily quiet score-wise. Neither team could even accomplish a field goal. Trubisky did attempt to give us an early fright, though, fumbling the ball mid-sack. Luckily, Chicago guard Eric Kush was able to immediately recover for a net loss of nine yards.
Second quarter was a show, to say the least. In the 13th minute, the Bears’ veteran running back Jordan Howard ran in an easy 1-yard touchdown. Howard scored again inside the last minute of the half with a clean and quick run up the right for an 18-yard TD. Additionally and without Mack, the Bears’ defense was able to convert two Bills turnovers for two defensive touchdowns. The first one came in the 7th minute when the Bills’ Jason Croom fumbled the ball near the Chicago 35-yard line on 3rd down and 9 after a hit by Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith. Chicago safety Eddie Jackson scooped it up and ran it back for a 65-yard TD. Not even four minutes later, Bears linebacker Leonard Floyd picked off Bills QB Nathan Peterman and returned it for 18 yards and 6 points. The Bears entered the visiting team locker rooms up 28 to nil at the half.
The Bills finally got on the board during the third quarter with a cute 3-point FG, not that there are any other type of field goal. The Bears added one of their own as well in the 8th minute.
The Bears had another FG early in the fourth quarter as well as a Trubisky passing touchdown in the last four minutes. The Bills tried to be tricky in the fifth minute after scoring their first and only TD of the game by attempting a two-point conversion, which failed. The Bears flew home to the Windy City after a 41-9 victory. See: blowout.
Trubisky was okay today, but he’s only connected for 30 passes in the past two matchups, and with multiple division matchups coming up he’s gotta put the work in, especially against the Vikings on Nov. 17. Minnesota is continually looking to contest the number one spot in the NFC North, and I will not have it!
Next week, the Bears face the Detroit Lions, which always makes for an interesting time. The Lions are dead last in the division right now, but they are always incredibly scrappy against the Bears whenever the two meet. Although our defense is doing fine without out him, Chicago can’t afford more injuries going into prime playoff-qualifying time without Mack.
NBC Sports says with a win, the Bears can shut Detroit out of playoff contesting for the rest of the season. Experts are optimistic, though, that Mack will return for Week 10.
Maddie’s Monster of the Game (MoG): Running back Jordan Howard scored two touchdowns in the second quarter alone, continuing to prove that he is a staple of Chicago’s offensive attack despite the slight inconsistency of Trubisky’s play.
GRAPHICS BY HANNAH COHEN