By Dan Bernstein —
CBSChicago.com senior columnist
(CBS) We’re all too used to a pair of mediocre teams colliding, only to set NFL football back decades and threaten to melt the circuits of our televisions with sheer aesthetic toxicity.
So it merits special note when something else occurs, and a relatively even matchup for the Bears at noon on a Sunday provides nothing but wacky entertainment, unexpected heroes and goats and all kind of improbabilities. The outcome meaning little, it was 210 minutes of engaging enough distraction to eat up clock until the Cubs game.
The Bears’ 27-24 overtime win against the Ravens in Baltimore saw them overcome a complete special-teams meltdown that featured both a kickoff and punt returned for touchdowns against them and a shanked punt in the extra period that looked certain to cost them a win that had appeared secured before it all went sideways.
The Bears defense was cracking people from the outset, at times dominating the interior of the line and getting off the field on schedule, forcing seven punts and three turnovers. Kyle Fuller was performing like a Pro Bowl cornerback, targeted all day and making every kind of play on the ball and delivering jarring tackles in both the pass and run game. Meanwhile, another once-benched draftee showed as well, with Adrian Amos impressing all the family he had on hand in his hometown by grabbing his first career interception and returning it for a 90-yard score.
Mitch Trubisky wasn’t asked to do much, throwing only 16 passes while handing off to the ruggedly reliable Jordan Howard 33 times. But he showed his athleticism with a nifty first-half run and two throws on which his skill was evident — a 27-yard touchdown pass to Dion Sims in the third quarter and the 18-yard completion under pressure to Kendall Wright, who high-pointed the catch to set up kicker Connor Barth’s 40-yard game winner in overtime.
This is exactly what Trubisky needs, these real experiences on which he can build and learn, in real time against real opponents. Even had he not risen to the occasion, there’s value in him doing this that should’ve been understood at the outset of the season instead of perpetrating the Mike Glennon disaster.
As unlikely as it may be that the Bears (2-4) could get back into the NFC North competition, the broken collarbone of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was the story of the day in the league and reason for Chicago to prepare for Carolina next week with a glimmer of hope that didn’t previously exist.
Since not much that went on actually mattered Sunday, it was easy to sit back and enjoy it for whatever it was. My standards for Bears game consumption have been reduced to such a low level that simply not feeling bad about spending the time doing it almost feels like victory in its own right.