It’s a challenge trying to absorb everything the first time watching a football game live.
In fact, it’s nearly impossible to do so.
This year, I want to re-watch every Chicago Bears game and share some revelations I had while consuming the game for the second time. If something is worth me jotting down the second time through, I figured it would be information that you would find valuable too.
Here are some observations, thoughts, and analyses that came to mind while rewatching the Bears’ preseason victory over Kansas City.
Right guard Mike Schofield’s rep against Chris Jones that led to Justin Fields being sacked was as rough to watch the second time as it was the first time through. It’s understood that Jones is a top-caliber pass rusher, but Schofield must be stronger upfront to instill confidence as a starter in Chicago.
On the scramble where Fields slid and got hit, the reason why he left the pocket in the first place was that he thought left tackle Braxton Jones was beat. However, the rookie was able to recover and hold his block. Once that trust factor is there, Fields should be able to hang tight in the pocket and continue the play as scheduled.
Rysen John had a few solid plays, both as a blocker and as a receiver. He did his job setting the edge for a Khalil Herbert outside run and he followed that up with a good catch along the sidelines.
Darnell Mooney’s big third-down catch is more impressive when you look at the route combination that got him open. It was a switch route, which uses a slight rub on the defensive backs in man coverage. This forces them to fight over one another to stick with their man as the Bears create some traffic for the defenders to work through. The two vertical routes also put the safety in conflict, as he needs to choose a player to guard or attempt to cover both.
It’s these sorts of plays that the Packers have hurt the Bears with for years. It’s already apparent Luke Getsy is bringing that to Chicago’s offense.
On the other big play, the Tajae Sharpe catch along the sideline, it should be noted that Sam Mustipher completely whiffed on his block and allowed immediate pressure into Fields’ face.
The quarterback persevered and made the play through contact, but plays like these make it evident the Bears need Lucas Patrick back as soon as possible. Mustipher looks to be a weak link just as he was a year ago.
An underrated play was Equanimeous St. Brown’s end around. The receiver looked fast and was able to get to the edge and turn upfield for an eight-yard gain. He had three runs last year for Green Bay. Getsy must like these sorts of plays to get the ball into St. Brown’s hands. This is a wrinkle to keep in mind for the regular season.
Linebackers Nicholas Morrow and Matt Adams looked good against the run. Both demonstrated good flow and the ability to get to the edge and make plays. They played fast and aggressive. A reminder that this was Morrow’s first game action since the 2020 regular-season finale.
Everybody felt the Jaquan Brisker buzz. Something that stood out was that there were a handful of plays where the rookie safety lined up on the line of scrimmage and came in on blitz. Before he started really turning heads, an underrated play from Brisker came with 11:45 left in the second quarter when he crashed down off the edge and got initial contact on the running back to force a stop for no gain on a third-and-1 run up the middle.
BoPete Keyes looked good in coverage for the most part. He demonstrated good speed on a crossing route where he was able to stick with his man and close to make the immediate tackle after the catch. He was aggressive with getting in the mix on tackles, even against bigger bodies like a fullback.
Rookie Elijah Hicks made an error in coverage on the touchdown throw allowed late in the second quarter. He needs to understand the vulnerability of the Cover 2 is the deep middle of the field. On plays like that, he needs to make sure to aggressively cover the middle as he has no help there. If he did that, it would not have been such an easy pitch and catch for a score.
The Bears are practicing what they are preaching in the building with turnovers. On the fumble that Jack Sanborn recovered, it was DeMarquis Gates who was making the tackle when Mike Pennel came in to punch the ball out. If the backups are making effort plays like that, imagine what the starters will do in the regular season.
Speaking of Gates, he may not make the team but boy did he play well for the Bears making multiple plays in the backfield and in kickoff coverage.
Matt Eberflus won his first challenge as head coach when he had a call overturned on what the officials thought was a sideline catch for Josh Gordon. Eberflus was right in front of that play and saw it with his own eyes. In fact, you can see him immediately reaching for the challenge flag as soon as the refs called it a catch. No hesitation by the Bears’ head coach.
Trestan Ebner started making waves in the second half with his runs, but really his day began on a strong note when he took the opening kickoff 35 yards. Similarly, Jack Sanborn made the first special teams tackle of the day on the Bears’ first punt before turning heads in the second half. He flew down the field, was able to break down and make quick pursuit of the ball carrier.
Trenton Gill’s leg was on full display and it was already discussed how impressive it was for him to have multiple punts downed deep. Just want to highlight that there were two other punts that should have been downed inside the 20. The first was another impressive ball that bounced inside the five, but Sanborn couldn’t hang onto it before it bounced into the end zone. The other was a deep punt that the Cheifs opted to return, the tackle was made just outside the 20. He’s a true weapon in the field position battle that the Bears will enjoy having.
I hope that you enjoyed this week’s Rewatch Revelations! Who knows what may be uncovered after rewatching the upcoming game against the Seahawks?