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CHICAGO — Justin Fields lined up in the shotgun with an empty backfield on the first play of the game. He looked right, but didn’t like his options. By the time Fields was about to go to his next read, Vikings outside linebacker D.J. Wonnum had the Bears’ quarterback in his arms and brought him to the ground for a sack.
The Vikings had six players lined up on the line of scrimmage — one more than the Bears could block. No adjustment was made, and the Bears paid for it.
That play was the perfect example to foreshadow what eventually transpired in the Bears’ 19-13 loss to the Vikings at Soldier Field. This latest loss after a dominant victory over the Commanders on Thursday Night Football a week ago showed not only do the Bears struggle with putting together a proper game plan but they can’t capitalize on prime opportunities.
Everyone knew going into this game that Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores liked to blitz. That was one of the biggest talking points for the offensive players and coaches for this Week 6 matchup.
Quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko said earlier in the week that the offense needed to have answers when the Vikings would bring extra defenders to apply pressure. Clearly, the Bears’ offensive game plan provided none.
“I’ll have to go back and look at the tape,” Bears coach Matt Ebeflus said following the loss. “Definitely for sure, there was some protection things in there where we had to do a better job. It wasn’t clean all the time. But I certainly think we got a rhythm a little bit there going. Again we just got to do a better job with the overall execution there. But again, we gave ourselves a chance to win the game at the end and we just didn’t get it done.”
Eberflus consistently talks about how the execution could be better with his football team. It’s the one thing you can actually count on with the Bears. The execution being off.
The Bears took their lack of execution to another level on Sunday. Snapping the ball became a difficult task throughout the entire game, and that was especially true for Cody Whitehair.
Justin Fields left in the third quarter due to a right hand injury. He finished the day 10 of 14 for 83 yards and an interception and was sacked four times. Tyson Bagent played the rest of the game with just over eight minutes remaining in the third quarter. Lucas Patrick was Bagent’s center for the entire last quarter of the game.
Eberflus was asked why the Bears decided to put Patrick in for Whitehair.
“Yeah, so the change at center,” Eberflus said. “Lucas obviously was going through concussion protocol during the week and when Justin went out and we had Tyson in there we thought it was best for our team to have the guy that had more experience in there playing center. That’s that position that we have that Lucas has played for a long time. He has a lot of experience in there. We thought that would settle Bagent down little bit.”
Bagent later was asked about the center switch and said during scout team he doesn’t work with either Whitehair or Patrick. So Eberflus can say one thing, but it definitely looked and felt like Whitehair was benched for his snapping issues.
Ironically, on Bagent’s interception, Patrick’s snap was high and slow. So it really didn’t matter.
The last time the Bears won against an NFC North opponent was on Nov. 25, 2021. This Week 6 matchup against the Vikings easily could’ve been an opportunity to end that drought, especially since Minnesota was without Justin Jefferson.
But the Bears proved yet again that they are still a bad football team. One that is poorly coached and incapable of showing any type of positive growth.
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