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It was fun. It was exhilarating. It was … another loss. But once again, THE QUARTERBACK. With that, let’s get on to the grades for the Chicago Bears’ 35-32 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon.
Call it another moral victory if you are so inclined.
Justin Fields. Justin Fields. Justin Fields. Seriously, Justin Fields. Did anyone have Fields breaking the NFL regular season record for rushing yards from a quarterback?! 178 dazzling yards in all — six more than Michael Vick all the way back in 2002. The 61-yard TD run with the bluff throw made Soldier Field go nuts as did the three touchdown passes. There was also a whole lot of smiling and looking at his Microsoft Surface seemingly understanding the game at a deeper level by the game / minute. Perhaps most importantly, the Bears were 10 for 16 on third down because of Fields creatively seeking out opportunities and it would have been even better had a pass interference call been rightly called on the Bears’ final drive.
Running Back: C+
Neither David Montgomery or Khalil Herbert were able to pop one against the Dolphins stout run defense when it came to anyone other than Justin Fields. The pair combined for 21 carries for 59 yards and a 2.8 YPC — i.e not enough. However, Montgomery picked up his usual tough yards and Herbert looked especially good on a 30-yard kickoff return-— yes to using Herbert more in that role, no to Herbert as a blocker for Bears punts. Herbert will be thinking about Jalean Phillips running by him in his sleep for a couple of nights.
Offensive Line / Tight End A-
It does not feel like a stretch to call that the best game of Cole Kmet’s Chicago Bear career, by far. Wow! Two touchdown catches, six catches in all plus being used in the run game. Add in running over tacklers, doling out punishment and it was all oh-so-sweet to see. Trevon Wesco also caught a two-point conversion to make it a three-point game in the third. Fields was sacked twice and there were a couple of costly holding penalties ( the one called on Sam Mustipher was ticky-tack at best ) hence the minus and not perfect A score. The offensive line was happy to see the Dolphins versus Washington and or Dallas.
Wide Receivers B-
Darnell Mooney did everything right on his 16-yd TD catch — his first TD catch of the season. Mooney also was out blocking beautifully on Field’s 61-yard TD run. Chase Claypool had a drop, but the Bears coaches came right back to him on the next play for one of his two catches. He also drew a pass interference penalty that was not called that could have ended up winning the game for the Bears. You are probably aware of that particular detail. And he signed autographs!!
Equanimeous St. Brown dropped a 4th down pass that would have kept the final drive alive. The ball went right through his hands. That was extremely disappointing. I don’t know what to say. Brown does get credit for his block on Kmet’s first touchdown.
Defensive line/ Linebackers: D
Did anybody do anything? I guess we should shine a positive light on Jack Sanborn who stepped in for the traded Roquan Smith and led this unit with seven tackles. Sanborn was around the football a bunch and there is reason to believe he can be a contributor moving forward. Nicholas Morrow missed tackles again, Al-Quadin Muhammad had his invisible act working. Dominique Robinson was only noticed when he got a roughing the passer penalty. Tua Tagovailoa would love to play the Bears again.
There needs to be some form of break given to this group today and the rest of the season considering the Bears lack of pass rush. Jaylon Johnson gets credit for deflecting a pass to Jaylen Waddle to give the Bears the ball back with 2:38 left. But Dolphins receivers collected 302 yards and most times there was not a Bear defender anywhere close.
Special teams: D
You cannot have a punt blocked for a touchdown. Khalil Herbert is the main culprit as Trenton Gill did not have a chance. Herbert did have that 30-yard kickoff return and Cairo Santos was perfect nailing a 32- yard field goal and holding the Dolphins to one kickoff return that went for a measly 18 yards.
Luke Getsy has gained everyone’s confidence that he knows exactly what he is doing with his quarterback. The Flus showed his disapproval with the referees and got his team ready to play after a tough week with Roquan Smith getting traded and the Bears essentially punting on the season. Richard Hightower needs to rework his punting unit. Just like Velus Jones was downgraded out of punt return, Khalil Herbert cannot be the Bears best option to block whenever Trenton Gill gets the call.
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