The Chicago Bears could have, should have and were oh-so-close to a victory.
Instead, they have lost four in a row and 7 of their last 8 to fall to 3-8 on the year. There were good moments once again from Justin Fields but QB1 was under seige for most of the afternoon once again and was carted off to have his left shoulder examined. That ain’t great.
Alas, we move forward…. On to the grades
“The pain right now is pretty bad, but I’ll just take it day by day and see how it feels later in the week,” Fields said after the game.
Ouch. That is not what you want to hear after a meaningless game in Atlanta where Fields dealt with leg cramps and then injured his shoulder on the Bears final drive that ended with Fields being picked off on a pass intended for David Montgomery that was too high but could have been caught. Jaylinn Hawkins was the lucky Falcon in the right place at the right time with 1:07 left. Fields ran for 85 yards plus a rushing touchdown. He failed to reach 200 yards passing once again finishing with 153. His best throw of the day was a beauty to David Montgomery down the sidelines for 32 yards. Fields played well again but gets docked for the interception as well as holding on to the football too long at times — four more sacks. Take your time getting healthy Justin. There is no rush.
Running Back: B
David Montgomery ran hard and helped out his quarterback with some physical play blocking downfield. Montgomery combined for 121 yards running and catching the football — 67 rushing, 54 receiving. How can you not like Monty and want him around into the Bears bright future? The Bears missed Khalil Herbert badly. Tresten Ebner did not distinguish himself gaining 8 yards on eight carries.
Wide Receiver/ Tight End: B
Cole Kmet gets an A+ for his one-handed catch while getting hit by A.J. Terrell down the seam. The FOX broadcast compared Kmet to Justin Jefferson — high praise indeed. Darnell Mooney caught a TD pass but also admitted to being too tired to run under what could have been a Justin Fields bomb TD pass. That is more on coaching than on Mooney. Byron Pringle … was called for holding. Chase Claypool had 2 catches for 11 forgettable yards. We are still waiting for the Claypool impact. Fields was also running for his life a lot looking for someone, anyone, to get open.
Offensive Line: D
Teven Jenkins please get healthy. You too, Lucas Patrick. Fields was in danger most of the afternoon and took many many shots that you realllly don’t want him to take. Michael Schofield showed his age and his journeyman talents. Riley Reiff and Sam Mustipher both get gold stars for batting down yet another Justin Fields pass that caromed off a helmet at the line of scrimmage. The least Schofield could have done was duck when Fields connected with his helmet. All in all a rough day upfront.
Defensive Line/ Linebackers: C+
The defense wasn’t great but played well enough to win. Jack Sanborn didn’t quite hit SanGodly status but he still was second on the team with nine tackles. Too bad he missed Cordarrelle Patterson in the backfield when he had him in his grasp for a 3-yard loss late in the 4th quarter. The Falcons ended up picking up the 1st down on 4th down and ultimately Younghoe Koo connected from 53-yards to win it. Joe Thomas flashed corralling Marcus Mariota. Nicholas Morrow continued his struggles to make a tackle but did end up with 4.
Jaquan Brisker is the real deal. 11 tackles topped the Bears and Brisker was once again all over the field. Kyler Gordon was called for an absurd roughing the passer penalty but also showed that he is understanding both the Bears scheme and how teams are trying to attack. Gordon’s instincts were on display multiple times. Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor were barely heard from and or noticed – a plus. Eddie Jackson is never going to like to tackle but Jackson once again showed his nose for the football.
The Bears coaching staff has one job and one job only —maximize the talents of Justin Fields so the Bears can win a Super Bowl when Ryan Poles adds the proper pieces. That includes first and foremost doing everything you can to keep Fields healthy. Calling for a run play in the fourth quarter when Fields has been dealing with cramps is straight negligence. The fact that Fields ended up carted off for X-rays after the game is a disaster. The only reason this grade is not an F is that the Bears had a chance to win the game and Eberflus used his timeouts wisely late in the fourth quarter.