All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL’s Game Statistic and Information System, as are the accompanying pictures.
What if I told you that the Chicago Bears would out-gain the New England Patriots (453 yards to 381), have more first downs than them (29 to 21), a better third down conversion rate (8 of 16 for 50% to 6 of 13 for 46%), and drop 31 points on their defense while only allowing Tom Brady and the Pats’ offense to rack up 24 points against them?
Most of us would take that, but football is a funny game.
Even though the Bears did enough on offense and defense to pick up the win, their special teams allowed two touchdowns, and the Bears lost 38-31 to what is probably the best team in the AFC again in 2018.
As fans of a young team, our only hope is that they learn how to play a full sixty minute, three phase game at some point. It’s okay to be pissed off that they aren’t able to close these winnable games out, while also being excited for where this team could be once they do figure everything out. Those two feelings aren’t mutually exclusive.
The Bears may be 3-3, but they’ve been fun to watch so far this season.
If there’s not a light at the end of the rebuilt tunnel, then we’ve got a Phil Emery/Marc Trestman scenario playing out, and I just don’t believe that to be the case.
Let’s take a closer look at the playing time break downs for the Bears, and also some individual stats.
This was one of Mitchell Trubisky’s worst games as a pro. He was erratic all day, he was sacked twice, and he threw two interceptions. He was barely over 50% at 26 for 50, with a passer rating of 69.8, but his 333 yards was the second most in his career, and his third straight game over 300 yards.
He also had 6 scrambles for 81 yards, including this fantastic touchdown.
Mitch Trubisky basically just power walked into the end zone pic.twitter.com/KcI5GpgXiM— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) October 21, 2018
Trubisky’s top target was tight end Trey Burton, who came down with 9 of 11 targets for 126 yards and a TD. Tarik Cohen was the most targeted with 12, and he caught 8 for 69 and a TD. Cohen added 14 yards on 6 runs, and a 17 yard punt return.
Anthony Miller was targeted 7 times and he hauled in 2 for 35 yards. Taylor Gabriel had 3 receptions for 26 yards.
Kevin White — remember him? — caught both of his targets for 64 yards. Allen Robinson II only caught 1 (5 targets) for 4 yards. If Robinson is going to take time off because of his groin injury, I’d like to see White get those reps instead of Josh Bellamy.
Jordan Howard had 39 yards rushing on 12 carries, and a TD. Ha also caught 1 ball for a 9 yard gain.
After the game head coach Matt Nagy talked about his displeasure with their ground game saying, “Our run game has to get better.”
Agreed, but what seems to be the problem?
“It’s everybody,” he said via the Chicago Sun Times. “And we just need to figure out how we can do that, what’s best for us identity-wise. And it’s not one person.”
I think the problems with the sputtering running game starts with Nagy.
The offensive line hasn’t exactly been great as run blockers, but the team hasn’t stuck with the run enough to see.
Chicago’s o-line wasn’t flagged once in the game.
The Bears allowed Tom Brady to have a 108.2 passer rating, and the Patriots’ running game to get 4 yards per carry.
Too many snaps for Akiem Hicks and a hobbled Khalil Mack, and not enough for speedy Roquan Smith.
Hicks ended up with 2 tackles, and Mack had 1. Smith had 5 tackles, a sack and a tackle for loss.
Danny Trevathan led the Bears in tackles with 10. Corner Kyle Fuller had 5 tackles, an interception and 2 passes defended. Safety Eddie Jackson also had 5 tackles and also the first penalty (a face mask) of his NFL career.
Rookie defensive lineman, Bilal Nichols, had his best day as a pro, while also playing the third most snaps among the d-line. He had 4 tackles, a quarterback hit, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
The players listed above only appeared in the third phase.
The Patriots had a Cordarrelle Patterson kick return go for a touchdown, and they also had a blocked punt that they returned for a touchdown. For more on the Patterson TD, check out this Tweet.
#Bears-#Patriots: Special Teams...Backside force/cutoff players must fold to the ball. Get over the top of blocks & close the lane. Opens up for Patterson here to get up the field. Make the “safety” miss, beat the kicker. @NFLMatchup pic.twitter.com/ab23iPTiUx— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) October 22, 2018
The 4 punts that Patrick O’Donnell got off went for a 34 yard net average.
Kicker Cody Parkey was perfect on the day with a 46 yard field goal and 4 extra points, but he only had 2 kickoffs deep enough for touchbacks.
Besides his 2 tackles on defense, Nick Kwiatkoski also had 1 on special teams to go along with a forced fumble that DeAndre Houston-Carson recovered.
Other Bears’ recording special teams tackles were Ben Braunecker, Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Josh Bellamy, and Benny Cunningham, who also had 92 yards on 4 kickoff returns.