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Missing Khalil Mack, Bears defense still shuts down Jets

By
The Sports Xchange
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) looks to pass the ball against the New York Jets during the second half on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI
Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky (10) looks to pass the ball against the New York Jets during the second half on Sunday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

The Chicago Bears wanted to say the best thing they got out of Sunday's 24-10 win over the hapless New York Jets was they did it with Khalil Mack on the sideline healing.

It was hard for them to enjoy it, considering they'll likely be losing another key player.

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Mitchell Trubisky led three second-half scoring drives and Chicago's defense dominated Sam Darnold and the Jets even without Mack, but the Bears lost guard Kyle Long to a right foot injury late in the game while killing off the clock.

"We had guys that stepped up," Bears head coach Matt Nagy said. "That's one that can't get lost in this. When a great player like Khalil or another player like Allen [Robinson] doesn't play, we have guys who step up. I'm proud of our guys for doing that."

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The Bears sputtered through a wild first half of throws from Trubisky and led 7-3, then pulled away when he settled down on a windy day at Soldier Field.

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Trubisky finished 16-for-29 for 220 yards with two touchdowns, the first of which made it easy for the Bears to operate even if they didn't click on all cylinders.

Trubisky flipped a short pass over a full blitz to Tarik Cohen, who raced 70 yards. The Bears were in control after that, despite mistakes like Cody Parkey's missed 40-yard field goal and a near special teams disaster on a late muffed punt.

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"It was just a great call by the offensive staff," Cohen said. "We ran the screen into a blitz and usually that's a good thing. When I turned upfield, I just didn't see anybody. I was kind of nervous not to see anybody, and I just saw green grass so I took it."

Trubisky hit Anthony Miller at the back of the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown and Parkey added a 32-yard field goal and the Bears went up 17-3 before a fourth-quarter TD pass by Darnold of 16 yards to Chris Herndon. Then the Bears salted it way on Jordan Howard's 2-yard TD run to end a 79-yard drive.

While Howard finally got rolling late, it was the scrambling of Trubisky that kept first downs alive all day. He had 51 rushing yards.

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More than anything, this one belonged to the defense after Trubisky struggled early. They didn't come up with spectacular plays without Mack, but completely shut down the mistake-prone Jets. New York had 98 yards of offense through three quarters and 207 for the game, and just 57 rushing yards after the Bears had leaked against the run two straight games.

"You always want to stop the running game, especially with a young quarterback," Bears linebacker Danny Trevathan said. "That helps him get started into the game. Versus any quarterback. You get the run game opened up, so many possibilities are there for the offense, so many passes, concepts, schemes. So it's all about taking care of it up front."

Even seeing Mack's 70 straight starts streak end due to his ankle injury didn't stop Chicago's defense.

"If there's anything that I would say about our defense it's that we want to have fun and we want to play well and we want to make the big highlight plays but sometimes it's just a matter of being consistent and shutting certain things down," defensive end Akiem Hicks said. "And I think that's what we did real well today."

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The rough part for the Bears was watching Long limp off with help and walk with crutches afterward when teammate Dion Sims rolled up on his foot from behind. Long went through a bad ankle surgery two seasons ago, and was still coming back from it this year.

"He's already been through so much, and it sucks to see Kyle go down like that," tackle Charles Leno Jr. said. "We don't know the severity of it yet so we're just trying to support him back there and give him some love because I know what he's been through."

The Jets fell to 3-5 for the third straight year and came away with the one lone positive on Herndon's TD catch.

"Me and Chris have developed a great chemistry," Darnold said. "We've just got to keep going and to continue to develop that chemistry with the other guys as well."

After throwing three interceptions the previous week, Darnold went 14-for-29 with 153 yards and one TD.

"Very proud of the way we fought and stayed together," Jets coach Todd Bowles said. "It's one of the first games the entire year that we stayed together as a team and fought collectively. Execution was not great, obviously, and we've got to make more plays."

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