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The Bears needed to win. The Bears could have won. The Bears were hoping to build some momentum. The defense played well enough. The Bears had plenty of time to prepare. The Vikings were banged up. The Bears were at home. The Bears….lost again. On to the grades.
58 yards passing for Justin Fields who left the game in the 3rd quarter with a hand injury. The 58 yards marked the lowest number for Fields since his first game as a Bear in 2021 when he was allowed to throw two passes for 10 yards by Matt Nagy.
Fields played an entire half of football and did not put the ball in the end zone. DJ Moore was targeted one time. How is that possible? Fields threw an interception that led to the Vikings taking a 12-6 halftime lead. QB1 held on to the ball too long and once again did not get enough help from the offensive line or the coaching staff. He left the game after being sacked by Danielle Hunter on the first series of the second half. It is unclear when Fields will be able to play again.
Meanwhile, the Bears lone TD was scored with Tyson Bagent under center getting his first NFL game action. Bagent had the Bears in position to win the game, but his well underthrown pass intended for DJ Moore was picked off by Byron Murphy. Bagent was also strip-sacked by Josh Metellus. Jordan Hicks took the fumble 46 yards for a touchdown.
But Bagent showed some moxy and will seemingly get an opportunity to show what he is capable of doing if Fields is out. The ball was coming out quicker. If Bagent plays well, a BIG IF, welcome to your latest Bears QB controversy.
The Bears did not lose this game due to a failure to run the ball. D’Onta Foreman ran hard for 65 yards on 15 carries. Foreman fumbled once, but did finally show why Ryan Poles signed him after David Montgomery bolted for Detroit in free agency. Darrynton Evans ran hard as well for 32 more yards and even Velus Jones Jr. looked capable in his two opportunites picking up 15 yards. The Bears had 162 yards rushing when you add in the QB ground game, plenty to win and control the clock. The Bears won time of possession by over 10 minutes. Most times, you win that game.
Let’s start with the sacks, five total. Fields took 4 of them leaving one more for Bagent who got a quick lesson on what Fields has been dealing with all season long. The sacks though were not the biggest problem.
Cody Whitehair has developed the yips at center. Balls were either at the QB’s feet or headed to the heavens. Some were wide left, others wide right. The Bears need a center. Whitehair was also called for a false start. The Bears are second worst in the NFL with 11 false starts behind only Carolina. Thank you Panthers. For everything.
Elsewhere Darnell Wright got beat by Hunter, Nate Davis left the game on a cart and getting rolled into. The degree of difficulty for whoever was playing center was high. The grade gets a boost because the Bears were able to gain yards on the ground.
DJ Moore led the way with five catches for 51 yards. That is 179 yards less than what Moore had in his signature game against Washington. We knew there would be a drop off, but Moore needed to get the ball more. Darnell Mooney had the big play of the day, a 39-yard catch, but Mooney was only targeted three times for two catches. Again, not enough.
Cole Kmet looked bothered by his hamstring injury. Kmet ended with a season-low nine yards on two catches. Tyler Scott reappeared in the offense catching two balls from Bagent. Robert Tonyan had one catch. This group needs to have much more production.
The defense played well. That usually starts up front and the front seven deserves credit. T.J. Edwards is looking like an astute signing by Ryan Poles. Edwards is constantly in the right position to make plays including his sack, 1 of 2 Bears sacks on the day.
Jack Sanborn follows the same script. Sang-d was tied with Edwards for the team lead in tackles with 8. Tremaine Edmunds used his spring to dive for a key interception. Justin Jones, who had been close all year, picked up 2 TFL’s. Zacch Pickens and Gervon Dexter Sr. combined for one more TFL even though Pickens was given full credit. Kirk Cousins could have beeb pressured more, but progress was made.
This group competed. T.J. Hockenson led all pass catchers with 50 yards. K.J. Osborn led the receivers with 48. That ain’t much. Jaylon Johnson looked healthy and contested passes nicely. Jaquan Brisker had a stretch in the second quarter that showed both his physicality and his ability to cover. Kyler Gordon returned and reminded Bears fans some of what they have been missing. Tyrique Stevenson had a pass deflection as well. This group continues to be the Bears’ strength.
Special Teams: A
Trenton Gill pinned the Vikings deep and averaged 44 yards per punt. Cairo Santos remained perfect on the year, 8-8 FG, 11-11 PAT. Santos kicked his longest field goal of the year, 53 yards. Velus Jones returned 3 kick-offs for 90 yards. We will forget the one ball he let drop, picked up after it went to the end zone that was eventually ruled a touchback. This group has been consistent and productive all season long.
The offensive explosion of the last two weeks was gone. The questionable play calling was back. The not-putting-your-quarterback-in-a-position-to-succeed returned. Justin Fields was sacked on the first play untouched. Perhaps that was on Fields, but how does that happen?
3rd and 6 run plays, followed by 3rd and 2 pass plays left all of us arm chair offensive coordinators scratching our collective heads. Sticking to the basics is always a good plan.
Matt Eberflus then delivered another doozy of a postgame press conference telling he media that Cody Whitehair was not benched because of his poor ability to snap the football. It was instead due to Flus wanting Lucas Patrick, a guy who had more experience at the position, to settle down Tyson Bagent. What??
Whitehair has played 62 games at center. Patrick has played 24. And if that is your logic, why wouldn’t you want the same thing for Justin Fields?
Can someone else address the media after games? It ain’t the Flus’s strength.
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