What a difference a year makes.
As individuals we’re keenly aware of the drastic swings that can occur in the time passed between 12 months. Sure, we all get older each time 12 months pass, but in many ways we get better, though its hard to appreciate the ways in which our body declines in spite of our wisdom and perspective being deepened and enriched.
But in some special instances you can get the best of both worlds, the mind and body growing together after near tragedy with the spirit in tow as well.
Such a case happened with Eddie Jackson, at one time he was a gifted football player who via injury became sort of damaged goods while on the verge of his breakthrough into the professional ranks. In one year he built himself back up, took advantage of his situation and now he’s made his star turn in the NFL.
A scoop and a score and a deflected ball and a score beat a recent Super Bowl contender led by a former NFL MVP. The electricity coming from Eddie Jackson’s two plays could be comparable to past events in Bears lore but they have their own places not only in franchise history but in NFL history, marking the first time a defender returned two touchdowns for over 75 yards each in one game.
Along with being a showcase for Jackson’s amazingness, Sunday’s 17-3 win for the Chicago Bears over the Carolina Panthers was quite a few things — a surprising victory over an expected NFC Championship contender, a horrible offensive exhibition for both sides, the matching of the Bears entire win total from 2016 (3-4 > 3-13) and the possible resurrection of a once feared element of the NFL landscape — Da Bears really have a defense again and that can mean only one thing for the remaining 9 opponents on their 2017 slate: pain.
Eddie Jackson’s Thriller
It took two plays for the Bears to win Sunday’s game. That’s not a shocking thing, two plays can be enough to win an NFL game. What surprises though, is the fact that both plays occurred so randomly yet both ended up as beautiful catalysts for Eddie Jackson to show why he may end up as valuable a pick from this year’s college draft as any one, including Chicago’s much hyped quarterback of the future.
Whereas they’re already trying to make Mitchell Trubisky into a GQ model, Eddie Jack is quickly settling into a role that players like the ’85 Bears duo of Gary Fencik and Dave Duerson, Shaun Gayle, Mike Brown and Charles Tillman fit in before him — that of the ball hawk, the forceful play-maker stalking open space in the middle of play after play made by a typically successful Bears defensive backfield.
Those earlier players all saw themselves as vital members of championship teams. As Jackson made his way up and down the Soldier Field sidelines and into the end zone twice to all our shock he looked like the type of guy who will be here for the next Bears champion. It doesn’t take long to spot those type of guys around here and its the fortune of Bears Nation that he was spotted last year, in spite of his broke leg and his not finishing his final year at Alabama.
One year ago to Sunday’s date so much was up in the air for Jackson but his will and fate brought him to this rare occasion. A player used to the type of winning done at ‘Bama could have felt many different ways upon reaching this once bewildered franchise, but Jackson must have the type of spine we’ve all been looking for in our Monsters again, he’s ready to make an impact in the NFL and he’s ready to do the things that we all know make for special defense — winning defense, championship defense, real M’fn Bears defense.
One-sided and Proud
And its great that the Bears defense has come back to life cause the offense took a serious step back in this game.
We didn’t see much close to great execution in either of Mitch Trubisky’s first two games as a starter, but in a near-win against Minnesota and a much-contested win against Baltimore there were quick flashes of virtuosity coming directly from Trubisky and extended to his cohorts that allowed observers to picture great things to come.
None of that showed Sunday, save for the one 70-yard connection to Tarik Cohen that accounted for most of Trubisky’s 70 yards on 4 of 7 passing. Along with another 24-yard connection to Zach Miller that was pretty much all we got. Two plays can make a pass defender’s day but that’ll rarely do for a passer, even one still sort of in a probationary period like Trubisky.
You can’t really question Trubisky’s leadership skills — he takes the right amount of blame here, a little deflection can be seen in his analysis of not being able to get in rhythm due to lack of on-field time in the first half, but he admits to just not being on his game and calling his own play “poor.”
Could more passes have been called? Sure, but on a bad weather day against a capable defense in Carolina that may have been a recipe for the Bears to provide the Panthers D with a couple run-backs of their own. As much as one bad thing happening to the Bears offense Sunday probably would have tipped things entirely in favor of a more experienced and more talented Carolina team. Instead we saw a bunch of blah plays in the second half executed blahly. Not even the run game gave anything to be desired.
We could call for play calling to be revamped or more effort to be instilled yet none of it really matters at this point. We’re getting football that we can recognize around here and true Bears football is rarely pretty.
It would have been nice to see more spark from the defense after halftime but they had already done their job. The offense wasn’t going to do anything to blow open the game, they weren’t really allowed to, fortunately the Panthers were no more inspired to get out of their own funk by the end of 60 minutes in Chicago. But speaking of funk…
Ain’t You Rita Lawson’s Boy?
Maybe the tweet of the NFL season so far. I’m led to believe the city of Chicago didn’t get to really drink in Cam’s jive ensemble for any time after the game — the Panthers likely slunk out of O’Hare in their private jet not long after this conference — but I’d have been glad to have bought a drink for this groovy gentleman if I caught him on 47th Street last night.
Keep on Truckin, Cam, and consider yourself lucky you don’t have to out-run Leonard Floyd in that outfit, ya big dummy.
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