Lessons learned by the Bears from Week 1 in the NFL
A weekend away from the game after the disappointing 10-3 loss to Green Bay can only help the Bears.
They'll have more time to prepare for Denver because the Broncos play Monday night. They'll also have the weekend's games to analyze their own situation.
Here are four things Sunday's NFL games and Thursday's game revealed about the Bears and their situation in the NFC North.
1. They should be glad to have Eddy Pineiro
If they didn't, and they had succeeded in their trade for Kaare Vedvik, they might really be in trouble. Vedvik first got cut by the Vikings after they beat out the Bears and gave up a fifth-rounder for him. Then on opening day, he missed his only extra-point attempt. And it went off the left upright. Just consider what it would have been like in Chicago if he'd come here and missed his first extra point by doinking it. Then again, at least it would have meant the Bears had a touchdown against the Packers.
2. The running game is never to be ignored
The Bears did ignore it on Thursday in a tight 7-3 game, and paid the price because it allowed pressure to build on Mitchell Trubisky. The other NFC North teams know how important it is. They learned when they didn't have running attacks last year. Even if it doesn't crack big runs, the threat of the run at least helps hold pass rushers at bay.
The Vikings gave it to backs 32 times and Dalvin Cooks ran 21 times for 111 yards. The Lions handed it to their backs 28 times on Sunday in their 27-27 tie with Arizona. Even the Packers ran more than the Bears, giving it to backs 18 times. The Bears had 11 carries by running backs, and one by a wide receiver lined up at running back.
3. The tight end position has been mishandled
It's clear the Bears don't have enough tight ends, if they even have any. Trey Burton has missed two straight games with groin injuries, one coming last January. In between he had sports hernia surgery. He's playing a huge position in the Bears' offense as both a receiver and blocker and they can't afford to be without him because Ben Braunecker isn't really an adequate alternative to what Burton can do. Adam Shaheen might not even be a legitimate NFL tight end. He had one 6-yard catch in the Packer game. He's under-performed for a second-round draft pick, usually due to injuries. Bradley Sowell is just a lineman lining up at tight end. Meanwhile, the Packers had six completions for 72 yards to their tight ends, including the game's only touchdown. They also had another big play on a pass interference against Roquan Smith for interfering with a tight end downfield. The Lions knew how important the position was and went out and got two of them. The Vikings already had a good one and paid him.
4. Looking like a fool in Week 1 doesn't matter if you avoid it in Week 2
There's always Week 2. So they haven't won the opener since 2013. Big deal. Cleveland hasn't won a season opener in 15 years. Win the next game, then win the division title. They did it last year.
The Steelers are supposed to be a good team and lost in embarrassing fashion Sunday night. The Browns were being picked by some as a potential AFC championship game qualifier and they got routed on their own field 43-13 by Tennessee. The Falcons were going to bounce back this year, but that was before they were down 28-0 to the Vikings in a 28-12 loss.
It's like Matt Nagy said after the game, they lost once. They didn't lose the Super Bowl.