The Bears lost. The Bears were competitive. The Bears kept their tank draft status in check. Justin Fields bought Bears fans to their feet. Rinse. Repeat.
Let’s get to the grades for the Bears’ 25-20 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday …
It is almost getting routine at this point. At some point in every Justin Fields game the Bears quarterback will put the entire team on his back and dazzle Bears fans with his unique athletic talent. Power, speed with a dynamic cut or three. Haason Reddick was the latest Fields victim. Fields shook loose of Reddick’s grasp for a 39-yard scramble that set up a Bears touchdown on his way to 95 yards on the day joining Lamar Jackson and Michael Vick as the only quarterbacks to rush for 1,000 yards or more in a single season. Fields also threw two touchdown passes without an interception. It was another game where the quarterback reminded Bears fans that they finally have an elite quarterback.
Running Back: B
David Montgomery ran hard as per usual picking up 53 yards on 12 carries plus a touchdown run. Montgomery did not have a run over 10 yards — nine was his longest. In fact, Montgomery has only had one game this year where he has a run longer than 20 yards and that was back in week 2 versus Green Bay. But, he does get you the tough yards and he looked very comfortable catching the football three times for 38 more yards and a touchdown. Sign this man! Darrynton Evans only got two touches and … Velus Jones fumbled on his one touch out of the backfield. Jones will be graded out in the special teams category.
We have a Byron Pringle sighting, a wide-open one for a 35-yard touchdown because Justin Fields is just that good running with the football. Cole Kmet played security blanket four times for 25 yards, but looked awkward on one occasion stumbling short of a first down. Equanimeous St. Brown ended up in concussion protocol after his one catch. Velus Jones caught one pass for 3 yards. It would be great if the Bears could get both N’Keal Harry and Chase Claypool back for the final three games. Even then, Ryan Poles will have to to find at least two more talented receivers in the draft and or free agency.
Offensive Line: D
We knew this was going to be a rough game against the NFL’s best pass rushing attack, but somehow Alex Leatherwood did worse than expected. Whatever Poles tricked himself into seeing in Leatherwood was nowhere to be found. The competition will not always be this stiff, but Leatherwood has a long way to go in a short period of time to prove he is worthy of 2023 consideration. Prayers up for Teven Jenkins. Good to hear positive word coming out that the neck injury may not be overly serious. Getting Jenkins back this year is not a priority, but it would make you feel more comfortable going into the offseason knowing that right guard is not another position the Bears will be looking to fill. Justin Fields was sacked six times and it seemed like he was hit 60 more times.
DL/ LB: C-
The Bears got a sack! Way to go Joe Thomas who earned praise from Matt Eberflus. Nicholas Morrow had one of his better games leading the way with 11 tackles and seemed to be in the right spot consistently. Jack Sanborn leaving with an ankle injury was a big blow. Sanborn flashed again chasing down Jalen Hurts coming all the way across the field picking up 5 tackles before leaving the game. Do not sleep on the Sanborn speed! I am concerned we will not see Sanborn again until 2023. We are still waiting to see Dominique Robinson, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Angelo Blackson, someone to make an impact on the defensive line.
The Bears were able to pick off Jalen Hurts twice. Credit goes to Kyler Gordon and DeAndre Houston-Carson who both had I-can’t-believe-how-bad-this-throw-is-its-coming-my-way moments that they took advantage of. Johnson did his best to blanket A.J. Brown and even though Brown had big numbers. ( 9 catches/ 181 yards ) Johnson still gets credit for hanging there and for 3 pass deflections. Brown was targeted an astounding 16 times. It was great to see Jaquan Brisker back and Jaylon Jones continues to take positive steps.
Special Teams: D
Whatever is going on with Cairo Santos has now reached the point of concerning. 5! missed extra points on the season. Whoa. If the Bears were actually in contention this would be THE talking point. And Velus Jones fumbling again is painful. The Bears are running out of options with Jones.
The Bears were competitive with the Eagles when the Giants and Titans were not the previous two weeks. I am confused by not going for two points down 17-12. I am confused by some of the play calling on third and short especially considering you have bruising running back Montgomery to lean on. I am impressed the defense took a step forward against the top-scoring team in the NFL.
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