The Chicago Bears defense was a complete letdown in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys as they surrendered nearly 50 points.
But you know who wasn’t letting Bears fans down? Justin Fields. The second-year quarterback shined for the second week in a row and is building some serious positive momentum.
So as much as it hurt to rewatch the dumpster fire on defense, it was equally exciting to get another crack at watching the game that Fields put together.
Here are some observations, thoughts, and analysis that came to mind while rewatching the Bears’ loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Riley Reiff started at right tackle in place of Larry Borom who is recovering from a concussion. On the very first play from scrimmage, Reiff, with a little help from Teven Jenkins, was able to take Demarcus Lawrence down to the turf. This is a positive sign as Borom has been giving up consistent pressure at that position for the last couple of weeks. Oh, and Equanimeous St. Brown needs to be more aggressive and help Justin Fields by working his way back to the football on underthrown balls like these.
I like the Bears using N’Keal Harry as a blocker, not just outside, but also sliding inside and taking a linebacker head-on. With his bigger frame, strength, and overall blocking ability, it’s an added wrinkle to the Bears offense that should only evolve over time.
I know he’s in the dog house for most, but you can’t deny the speed that Velus Jones Jr. displayed on his end-around in the first quarter. The rookie looked super quick on this play.
An area of Justin Fields‘ game that I don’t believe is being talked about enough over the last two weeks is his ability to set up a defender and make them miss in the pocket. Earlier this season, Fields was struggling to make a defender bite and that was leading to a large volume of hits being taken by the quarterback. He’s now doing a much better job of getting defenders to tackle air as he skates past them and makes a play. A couple of examples from the game would be his fake toss that opens up a pass in the other direction or the multiple times he made Demarcus Lawrence pay for not holding contain.
Let’s keep this positive train rollin’ as Fields is also doing a better job of hanging inside the pocket when it’s collapsing to make throws downfield. There were a few plays where he accomplished this, but let’s just watch him find a wide-open Darnell Mooney with Micah Parsons barrelling down on him. It’s not on this replay, but this was the same play where Mooney had Trevon Diggs all twisted in coverage.
Heck, let’s mention Fields‘ toughness, too. His touchdown toss to N’Keal Harry late in the first half came on the play immediately following Fields’ taking a big hit to the head area. QB1 was not rattled.
Khalil Herbert’s touchdown run exemplifies two takeaways I already had to this point. One, Riley Rieff may indeed be an upgrade over Larry Borom. Watch his key block in the second level. And N’Keal Harry flexed his blocking muscles with a nice, patient block to keep the rushing lane open long enough for Herbert to score. It wasn’t a powerful block by any means, but he boxed out the defender on the backside and kept him from making the tackle.
Arm Angles! That is all.
Kindle Vildor was the main reason Dallas was able to move downfield, as he allowed back-to-back third-down conversions on the game’s first possession. He was unable to tackle Tony Pollard on the edge on the Cowboy’s first third-down attempt, and Dak Prescott found Michael Gallup on a slant for an easy completion on the following third down of the series.
Speaking of players being taken advantage of, rookie Dominique Robinson had a rough first series of the game. Robinson played the majority of snaps at right defensive end in place of the recently traded Robert Quinn. It was apparent that Robinson lost contain on the Prescott touchdown run off the option, as the broadcast mentioned, but even a few plays earlier, Robinson (and Nicholas Morrow) failed to set the edge on a first-and-15. This gave Pollard a wide-open rushing lane that led to him picking up the first, and then some, on an explosive run.
Rookie Jack Sanborn was in the game during the defense’s second series. And just like the preseason, Sanborn was consistently around the ball and in on the tackle. Kudos to Sanborn for being in position despite not playing any meaningful snaps on defense this season beforehand.
Even rewatching it, I don’t know how Dak Prescott pulled a Houdini and was able to gain 25 yards on a QB Sneak.
Eddie Jackson’s tackle attempt on Pollard’s touchdown run early in the second quarter is, something …
A theme that has led to the Cowboy’s impressive first half on offense was their ability to get the Bears out of position, at every level of the defense. Linemen, linebackers, corners, safeties, you name it. Everyone was out of position at one time or another. Credit to the Cowboys for putting players in conflict and making them pay when they make a poor decision.
Pollard’s long touchdown run in the fourth quarter came off multiple missed tackles from Eddie Jackson, Roquan Smith and Nicholas Morrow.
Speaking of Roquan Smith, where did he go? Is he still wallowing after Robert Quinn’s departure? Only five tackles in the game and they surely didn’t feel like meaningful ones. It shouldn’t take until my final takeaway to be mentioned. And unfortunately for Smith, it wasn’t a positive revelation.
As Adam Hoge would exclaim, Josh Blackwell needs to let the ball roll closer to the end zone off a punt before downing it.
I hope that you enjoyed this week’s Rewatch Revelations! Who knows what may be uncovered after rewatching next week’s game when the Bears head back home to take on the high-flying Miami Dolphins?
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