The Bears played a competitive football game on Sunday. They had a chance to win in the fourth quarter. Some might call that progress.
But I get it. No one wants to hear about getting closer when you have lost 12 in a row.
With that, let’s get into the Week 2 grades.
For only the second time in his career, Justin Fields threw for over 200 yards in back-to-back games. The last time it happened were the final two games of his rookie season when he threw for 224 and 285 yards in losses to the Packers and Vikings. In fact, Fields threw for over 200 yards in three of his last four games his rookie season. Last year, he was over 200 yards only twice. Is Fields longing for Matt Nagy? Perish the thought.
It was good to see DJ Moore over 100 yards (104) and — yes — that indeed was Chase Claypool catching his first touchdown pass in a Bear uniform. ( itonly took 9 games)
But Fields getting picked off by Shaquil Barrett on a screen from your own end zone just can’t happen even if the play call was questionable at best. It certainly can’t happen when you are down one score with under 3 minutes to play.
Fields held onto to the ball too long once again to the tune of six more sacks.
To sum it up, there were times when Fields looked good and there were times when he looked lost. You have to wonder if Fields is strong enough to keep moving forward through the muck that is now a 12-game losing streak. Let’s hope so.
WR/ TE: C+
It looked so good on the first drive. DJ Moore busted out with 2 catches for 64 yards which helped the Bears score a touchdown courtesy of Justin Fields’s legs. Then, it wasn’t.
Cole Kmet had four catches and Claypool found the end zone, but elsewhere there wasn’t much. Tyler Scott was not targeted. Neither was Velus Jones Jr.
Darnell Mooney missed most of the game with a knee injury. Equanimeous St. Brown was inactive again. Robert Tonyan has yet to catch a pass in a Bears uniform.
Most of this group’s success falls on the quarterback and the coaching, but there has to be more. Claypool was called for a key penalty that led to the interception that effectively ended the game.
Six more sacks, but some were the fault of the quarterback. Get rid of it! Braxton Jones was called for his third false start penalty in two games. Ja’Tyre Carter filled in for Nate Davis admirably. We did not hear his name all day. Lucas Patrick had Justin Fields jumping around for snaps. Dan Feeney came in for two plays when Patrick got dinged up and did the same. Darnell Wright got beat a couple of times, but seemed to take a positive step in his second game. There were holes to run through when the Bears kept the ball on the ground.
Can someone make a tackle? The Bears could have had 3-5 sacks but ended up with none. Yannick Ngakoue has to be kicking himself for not getting Baker Mayfield on the ground, twice. Justin Jones was in the backfield and had a TFL as did DeMarcus Walker. Jack Sanborn missed more tackles today than I can remember him missing in his entire career. Tremaine Edmunds had 16 tackles followed by T.J. Edwards with 12. But once again the T in the H.I.T.S philosophy (The Ball) came up empty. There were two Bucs fumbles both recovered by the Bucs.
Bucs WR Mike Evans had a day to remember. I think he might be sending Tyrique Stevenson a Chirstmas card for some of his coverage. The Bears lost Evans for 171 yards and a touchdown. Evans had one game over 171 last year, none in 2021 and one back in 2020.
The Bears played woefully shorthanded with Kyler Gordon out, Jaquan Brisker leaving the game because of dehydration and Eddie Jackson suffering another foot injury. Both Jackson and Brisker left early, although Brisker did return. Elijah Hicks needs to learn how to tackle. Quindell Johnson and Greg Stroman held their own under trying circumstances. Jaylon Johnson got the ball out with a peanut punch, but the Bucs recovered.
Special Teams: A-
Cairo Santos was good again, this time from 52 yards. Trenton Gill averaged 46.4 yards on his 5 punts. The Bears played it safe with no kick or punt returns. The third phase did its jobs.
Hey, they improved. A little.
Matt Eberflus looked passionate calling the defense. Perhaps he will continue to do so even after Alan Williams returns. However, Luke Getsy left us scratching our heads with his play calling again. How can Justin Fields only have 3 yards rushing? How many screens are you going to call? Velus Jones Jr. getting the ball on a motion hand-off is the most predictable play in the NFL . DJ Moore gets the ball, then he is forgotten about. The Bears continue to search for rhythm and timing. It feels like they are in a cave with no flashlight.
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