NEW ORLEANS -- Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's job got tougher with tight end Zach Miller's leg/knee injury, but the rookie had several good moments in Sunday’s 20-12 loss to the Saints.
The Bears seemed out of it until Trubisky’s 46-yard scramble in the fourth quarter. The entire mood inside the Superdome changed after the play.
Earlier in the game, Trubisky dropped a dime to Miller on the play that may have ended the veteran tight end’s season. That’s the second big-time throw made by Trubisky in the past three games.
However, Trubisky also tossed an interception to end the game.
Again, Trubisky has to get better in certain areas, but the flashes have been there. There’s genuine excitement over where this may be headed with the rookie quarterback.
Trubisky’s statistics weren’t great (14-of-32 for 144 yards and the interception), but he’s making steady progress. That’s probably the best the Bears can hope for.
What it means: I know, I know: There are no moral victories. But at least the Bears made it interesting in the Superdome. Right? Look, the Bears should be competitive over the final eight games, but they don’t have enough on offense. That’s not really going to change until the offseason. Still, the Bears had the ball with a chance to tie at the end of the game. Not many people envisioned that scenario playing out.
What I liked: The Bears didn’t quit. Trubisky’s near-touchdown pass to Miller and his fourth-quarter run were big-time plays. Running back Jordan Howard had another strong rushing game with 100-plus yards. The defense looked a little winded in the first half, but it limited New Orleans to 20 points -- at home. And the defense keeps forcing turnovers in droves. It’s hard to say many negative things about the defense.
What I didn’t like: Kicker Connor Barth can’t miss from 48 yards. The veteran has now missed field goals in back-to-back games. The Bears have to be better at that position with points so scarce. Also, a couple of times in the first half, Trubisky didn’t slide up in the pocket to avoid pressure. That should improve over time. And finally, the Bears really can’t afford to fall behind. They just don’t have enough firepower.
Fantasy fallout: Howard had a good afternoon for fantasy owners. The rest of team ... not so much. Tarik Cohen scored a touchdown, but his touches are down lately. Wide receiver Tre McBride had close to 100 yards, but it’s doubtful he’s on many rosters. It will be interesting to see how the Bears use former Los Angeles Chargers wideout Dontrelle Inman after the bye.
Where’s Kyle? Right guard Kyle Long suffered a hand injury on Sunday and never returned. Long stood on the sidelines -- in full uniform -- after he got hurt, but Tom Compton played most of the game at right guard. Long was already dealing with ankle and shoulder issues. The bye comes at a good time for Chicago’s highest-paid offensive lineman.
What’s next: The Bears (3-5) have their bye next week but are scheduled to practice Tuesday and Wednesday. Following the bye, the Bears host Green Bay and Detroit in back-to-back division games.