Pompei: Observations From Bears-Panthers

By Dan Pompei–

(CBS) The city has a Bears buzz this Monday morning, which it hasn’t had in awhile. The team has exceeded expectations, and the Bears have a number of winnable games on their schedule after improving to 3-4 with a 17-3 win against the Panthers on Sunday. While I still don’t see the Bears as a playoff team this season, I do believe it’s going to be an interesting second half.

Here are my observations:

1. The people who were calling for John Fox’s firing should know his team now has won three games it was supposed to lose this season, according to the oddsmakers. And his team has lost no games it was supposed to win.

2. I would’ve gone for the field goal as Fox did at the end of the first half. You have a 11-point lead, can keep the momentum going, don’t get greedy — and trust a defense that had been outstanding.

3. That game plan wasn’t a reflection of Fox as much as it was a reflection of the game circumstances, the inexperience at quarterback and the lack of trust in the wide receivers. And it was smart football.

4. The time will come when Mitch Trubisky has to throw a lot more. It very well could come in New Orleans next Sunday. No need to rush it.

5. Trubisky doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket. He needs to get comfortable if he’s going to develop into a winning NFL quarterback.

6. One aspect I didn’t like about the Bears’ offensive game plan: giving a player who averaged 70 yards per touch just one touch. It’s easy, I suppose, to overlook Tarik Cohen, but it’s not wise.

7. It’s great that the Bears defense has allowed no touchdowns in the last 25 offensive possessions. It’s better that the Bears defense has six takeaways in those 25 possessions.

8. If the Bears defense continues to play as it has in the last two Sundays, it’s going to finish the season as one of the best defenses in the NFL. However, the Bears won’t always be able to count on such erratic play from opposing quarterbacks.

9. Akiem Hicks and Eddie Goldman are killing it. It all starts with them.

10. Leonard Floyd, the defensive version of Cam Newton.

11. The Bears defense is playing fast — which tells you players are well-prepared and confident. At least some of the credit for that should go to the defensive coaches.

12. Defenses that play fast and hit hard get good bounces and breaks. That’s why takeaways are happening all of a sudden for the Bears.

13. Eddie Jackson has some special in him. It’s going to be interesting to watch his development.

14. You can see the confidence in Kyle Fuller that you couldn’t see the last couple of years.

15. Only the Bears could make you appreciate the beauty of a three-and-out drive.

Dan Pompei has been covering the NFL since 1985 and is a regular contributor to 670 The Score and a host on 670’s Bears pregame show. He writes for Bleacher Report and theathletic.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan Pompei.

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