I think I am going to refer to Sunday’s game as the Depth Game. Or the Back Ups Game.
Maybe it won’t be remembered outside of Chicago, or maybe it was just the hardcore fanbase that even noticed, but yesterday was a big game. Knowing that the Bears were going to be down Akiem Hicks, Roquan Smith, Kyle Long, Taylor Gabriel and Bilal Nichols and picking them to win comfortably wasn’t a given.
Especially the defenders. Roquan and Akiem are two of the better run-stoppers on defense, so it seemed like Sunday’s game was going to be quite a test.
But this defense just seems to keep getting better and better.
From the first Vikings possession on, it just felt like ‘oh yeah, they’ve got this.’
Six sacks, two forced fumbles and recoveries, plus another that wasn’t recovered and just six late points given up, it was like the game was never in doubt on defense.
It’s worth repeating: On a day when the Bears lost their starting quarterback, the story was still their defensive performance.
Let’s look at three good and three not-so-good performances:
Nick Williams, DL - Williams has been in the league for five years and Sunday was his first career start in 32 career games. He certainly made the most of it. He had two sacks, 2 TFL, 2 QB hits and a fumble recovery while replacing the injured Hicks. It’s quite the rise for the Samford alum.
Nick Kwiatkoski, LB - Kwiat has been around but really has been a forgotten man since Roquan arrived last year. He’s still a valuable depth piece, and while he lacks the athleticism for pass coverage, he makes up for with veteran smarts, good power and sure tackling. He led the team with nine tackles, eight solo, a sack, two TFL and one QB hit. He also absolutely destroyed Dalvin Cook on this rush:
Chase Daniel, QB - The back up deserves some love after coming into the game on the first drive and making sure there wasn’t a significant drop off in QB play. I will say that I am definitively in camp Trubisky and I think he is still the better player when healthy, but Daniel did an admirable job to fill in. Daniel left some plays on the field and I think that the Bears would’ve scored another touchdown with Trubisky but these are the situations why it’s necessary to have a good, solid, veteran back up.
Anthony Miller, WR - This was a game, with Gabriel out, set up for Miller to get back into the mix and make some plays. However, he managed just two catches for 11 yards on three targets. He played 63 percent of the offense’s snaps, so it’s not like he was out a lot, but he lagged behind Javon Wims, who seems to be moving ahead in the pecking order. There seems to be some questions about Miller’s route-running, and I can’t help but wonder if he’s going to get a dose of humble pie and dial in to get better or not.
David Montgomery, RB - Montgomery wasn’t terrible and it wasn’t like there were huge holes for him to run through. But Montgomery missed some holes and is averaging just 3.4 yards per carry. He seems to spend a little too much time dancing in the backfield. I do think he’s close to breaking out, but he definitely has to get better to help the Bears’ running game get going.
Kyle Fuller, CB - This is nit-picking a bit, because Fuller was far from bad, but he got burned on a couple of the Vikings’ only big pass plays of the day by Stefon Diggs. I just can’t really pick out another player that had an egregiously bad game.
Who is up and down in your book? Who did I miss?