After Sunday’s disappointing home loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, the Chicago Bears find themselves at (3-4) and reeling worse than we’ve ever seen them in the Matt Nagy era. To put it nicely, the Bears have simply not been a good team for the better part of a month now and their offensive struggles continue to be a glaring weakness.
For most, this was the straw that broke the camel’s back for the 2019 season and the team’s playoff hopes. I can absolutely be counted among those feeling that way. Things have simply not materialized the way a lot of fans, including myself, believed they would. Especially coming off a surprise (12-4) season.
Sure, some of that has been due to a tougher schedule but they’ve lost a pair of winnable games to inferior opponents and simply haven’t looked like the same team that they did in 2018.
Despite the loss and overall realization that the playoffs don’t appear to be in the cards for 2019, there was still some good to focus on and that’s where we’ll pick up on Week 8’s game balls.
RB David Montgomery
In Week 7, The Bears ran the ball a total of eight times and last week leading up to the game, Nagy vowed that the team would run the ball more. Low and behold, they did exactly that.
As a team, the Bears ran the ball a total of 38 times, with only four of those runs coming from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. That goes to show how committed the team was to running the ball in Sunday’s game.
The third round rookie led the team in both rushes (27) and rushing yards (135), which was his first 100-yard game of his brief NFL career. He also had the team’s only touchdown of the game and collected four catches for 12 yards as well.
Montgomery busted off multiple bigger runs, but none more impressive than his 55-yarder coming out of the two-minute warning that ended up leading to a field goal and a (9-7) lead going into the half.
In a game where the Bears vowed to get the running game going, the rookie showed up in a big way and gave fans a glimpse of what’s to come in the future. It’s worth noting that the run blocking was also better than it has been in games past, but still nowhere near where it needs to be.
If the Bears plan on finding any sort of offensive success in the near future, Montgomery is going to be a big part of that in both the run and pass game. Sunday’s game was a big step in the right direction and showed everyone why they were willing to trade up in the third round to secure their top running back left on the board.
CB Kyle Fuller
Don’t get me wrong. The team’s defense has not been the issue for the most part and any time you hold a team to under 20 points a game, that’s probably a game they should win.
With that being said, I would be lying if I said that this team looks like the dominant force it did in the first four games of the year. Part of that is injuries like Akiem Hicks. The other element to that is simply their overall aggression and issues getting to the opposing quarterback as of late.
Even so, Fuller’s play on Sunday was enough to award him Week 7’s game ball. He forced the only takeaway of the game for the Bears and was three yards away from a pick-six.
On the day, Fuller led the team in tackles (7), had the defense’s lone takeaway and also added another pass break up as well. It’s worth noting that defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano has been playing much more zone coverage than I expected, which has called for Fuller to play back in coverage, keeping the receiver in front of him.
I don’t think that Fuller is playing to his All-Pro level from just one year ago, but he continues to show that he’s still one of the better corners in the league in 2019.
Honorable Mention: WR Anthony Miller
If you’re looking at the box score right now, you may be wondering why I have Miller as an honorable mention. Part of it is because Trubisky finally found a way to connect with Miller more than once. The other part is that we finally saw the type of receiver Miller can be in this offense. At the very least, this is the first glimpse we’ve seen in 2019.
On the day, Miller finished with three catches for 67 yards. He had a 35 yard catch over the middle of the field and another big-time third down catch.
On top of that, what stood out to me is his lack of mistakes. That’s been a big issue for Miller not only in 2019, but in his rookie year as well. Whether it’s freelancing on his routes or picking up stupid penalties. Simply put, Miller has had a knack for poorly timed plays.
There’s been a some smoke surrounding Taylor Gabriel and a potential trade before today’s deadline, but even if Gabriel stays on the roster through the rest of the year, he’s almost guaranteed to be gone once the off-season hits due to his upcoming cap hits. This could be a big opportunity for Miller to step in and carve out a role for this year and beyond.