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How in the world are we all digesting a Bears loss to the Detroit Lions? Didn’t the Bears lead 24-10 heading into the 4th quarter? Didn’t Justin Fields have a memorable run in that 4th quarter? Wasn’t it 2020 the last time Detroit won a road game? Alas, let us get to the grades for the 3-7 Chicago Bears.
Justin Fields you made Bears fan delirious again with a 67-yard run to the end zone to put the Bears up 30-24. Fields had the longest QB run in Bears history last week versus Miami. He topped it one week later by six yards. I guess 73 yards is on tap next week at Atlanta. Fields had 167 yards passing, connecting with Cole Kmet twice on touchdown passes. Unfortunately, we have to ding Fields for his — lets be honest — brutal 4th quarter interception to his former Ohio State teammate Jeff Okudah. Fields said after the game “that will never happen again.” We believe you QB1.
Running Backs A
You cannot ask for much more from both Khalil Herbert and David Montgomery. Herbert left the game with a hip injury after he contributed both out of the backfield with 57 yards on 10 carries and on kickoff returns with 67 more yards in two opportunities, including a 50-yard burst the Bears offense did not take advantage of. Herbert stood out for not only his vision but also for grinding out tough yards once Lion tacklers got their hands on him. Montgomery did his workmanlike part picking up 37 more yards as the Bears finished with 258 yards in total courtesy of that guy that plays quarterback adding in 147 of his own.
Wide Receivers/ Tight End B+
If this was just based on Cole Kmet, the grade would be an A+. Kmet has emerged as both a security blanket and the Bears’ best receiving option in the red zone. Two more touchdowns for Kmet, who is now second to Travis Kelce for most touchdowns in the NFL from the tight end position. Wow. But, the receivers. Where was Chase Claypool? One catch for eight yards? Only on the field for eight snaps in the first half? Somehow Claypool and the Bears seemed to understand each other less after another week spending time together. Byron Pringle was called for (albeit questionable) a holding penalty. He contributed one catch. Darnell Mooney had four catches to tie himself with Kmet. Ryan Poles is going to have to address this position in earnest come the offseason.
Offensive Line B
Hats off to the O-Line for batting through their 7th different starting lineup in now 10 games. Michael Schofield was in for the injured Teven Jenkins and we did not hear his named called once. We did hear Braxton Jones getting called for holding a couple of times although was one negated. Fields was running for his life the normal amount of times but he also had lots of time as well. The sack on 4th down on the Bears’ final drive was a rough way to end the game, but overall this makeshift offensive line did their job again.
Defensive Line/ Linebackers C+
Jack Sanborn come on down. You just might be the best undrafted free agent in the history of the Chicago Bears. Sanborn led the team in tackles with 12 — some of them violent. I’m not ready to call Sanborn Dick Butkus in his prime, but I think we are all excited about what the Bears could have in the Lake Zurich product. Sanborn had a game-clinching interception that should have been if not for the referees calling Jaylon Johnson for illegal hands to the face when Johnson jammed Trinity Benson in the chest at the line of scrimmage. Come on referees! Sanborn sacked Jared Goff twice. The Bears’ defense held the Lions to 95 rushing yards. Overall, it was a step forward for this group.
Part of the blame for this unit might lie at the feet of Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams. The cushion the Bears are giving looks like way too much too often. Amon-Ra St. Brown was dominant in the first half, running free on his way to 119 yards on 10 catches. Lions receivers had 236 yards total — too many. Part of the problem was the lack of pressure up front but this group can be way better. Johnson admirably battled his way through an oblique injury when he perhaps should not have been on the field. Tom Kennedy running away from Johnson on a key 44-yard reception in the 4th quarter, which set up the Lions game-winning touchdown, did not look right. Johnson should take his time to heal up properly now that the Bears are sitting at 3-7.
Special Teams D
This was not the time for Cairo Santos to miss his third extra point of the year, but right when it happened, you had a feeling that it would come back to bite the Bears. Santos also had trouble keeping his kickoffs inbounds. Mr. consistent / automatic was not that and it cost the Bears the game.
What happened to the H.I.T.S principles? 9 penalties for 86 yards is not part of the plan to say the least. Yes, some of the penalties can be attributed to horrendous refereeing but the discipline the staff has preached was not on display. Eberflus chose not to call timeout after Fields was sacked late in the 4th quarter with less than two minutes to play. The Bears picked up seven yards on third-and-15 before Fields was sacked on fourth-and-8. That choice did not set Justin Fields and the Bears offense up for success when the game was on the line.
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