CHICAGO – This much was clear after the Chicago Bears' 17-13 victory over the New York Giants: in spite of their 2-0 record, the Bears aren’t a very good football team right now.
But there is more.
The Bears have also shown some things on both sides of the ball – admittedly against mediocre or less teams – that we haven’t seen before from this group and that could bode well for the future.
From where head coach Matt Nagy sat after the game, “I would say we’re just OK right now.
“I think we expect a little better, but I’m not criticizing our players and our coaches. That’s a part of being in the second week with no preseason. We have high expectations, and we want to be better.”
One player giving the best effort of his young career was sophomore running back David Montgomery.
Against the Giants he delivered 16 carries for 82 yards (5.1 per carry), with a long of 23 on the ground, and three catches for 45 yards with a long of 28 and a touchdown. His 127 yards of offense made up 42% of the team’s total on the day.
And Montgomery did the bulk of his work after suffering a horrific looking fall on his head after being cartwheeled on a tackle at the line of scrimmage early in the game.
He is neither satisfied nor disappointed with where his club is at after the 2-0 start.
“A win is a win, whether it’s by 50 points or three points, four points. It’s just what happens at the end when the clock hits zero," Montgomery said. “Honestly, the potential of this team is, bar none, second to none.
“We’ve got to clean a lot of stuff up. We’ve got to go back to holding each other accountable and go fix some things we know we can fix.”
The Bears running game right now is a real bright spot having totaled 273 yards on 61 carries through two weeks and is among the best in the league.
Fixing it was a major priority of the offseason.
Fixing Mitch Trubisky was a focus of the offseason as well, and with the second of his two picks vs. the Giants clearly not his fault, he is showing promise. But the offense has only clicked well in roughly three of his eight quarters so far.
The defense, which created almost no pressure Week 1 vs. the Lions, notched four sacks, four more quarterback hits and five tackles for loss vs. the Giants. It also allowed an 11-play, 95-yard drive that ended in a Giants touchdown to start the fourth quarter and put them back in the game at a time when the defense could have put them away.
Akiem Hicks notched his second sack in two games but explained afterwards how close he thinks his team is at 2-0 to where they want to be.
“We’ll never be there, we’re going to keep pushing, we’re going to keep fighting. That’s the best way to say that," Hicks said. "We’re going to keep producing every week and trying to be better. That’s as simply as I can put that one.”
Montgomery, rookie receiver Darnell Mooney, Trubisky, Hicks, Robert Quinn, Khalil Mack and Kyle Fuller all had some great moments in the home opener.
Trubisky, Allen Robinson, Roquan Smith and Nagy also had some very unfortunate ones.
Particularly surprising was Nagy’s decision to let Cairo Santos try a 50-yard field goal with 2:07 to play, which he missed, setting up the Giants at their own 40 on a short field with a chance to drive and win the game.
Afterward Nagy said, “We had an opportunity for the 50-yard field goal, which you want to be closer to be able to kick that, but you have to at least give it an attempt to go up seven.”
Actually, after watching Matt Patricia make the exact same mistake last week to help you get an improbable win, no you don’t.
But hey, that’s who these Bears are right now and here’s some food for thought.
As Hicks said Sunday, “2-0 is never a bad situation, I don’t care how you get it. 2-0 is delicious. I’ll eat that every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”
Does it taste as good as it looks?
No, but it sure beats the alternative.