They faced steep odds to begin with, but any hopes the Bears may have had of making the playoffs were destroyed by the end of Sunday night.
Chicago fell to the Rams in Los Angeles 17-7, moving their own record down to 4-6. The Bears stayed in the game for a considerable amount of time, but they just couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities.
Here are some notes from last night’s action:
It isn’t saying much, but Mitchell Trubisky had one of his better outings of the year last night.
Granted, he had a 55.8 completion percentage and failed to top 200 passing yards despite 43 attempts. He was far from perfect and wasn’t necessarily effective, but for what the Bears have likely come to accept from Trubisky, he was passable.
He made a handful of good throws throughout the game, showed some signs of pocket presence and displayed some solid accuracy on intermediate balls at times. His accuracy wasn’t very consistent, though, and his ability to go through progressions and make multiple reads wasn’t quite there.
In all, it was basically more of the same from Trubisky, but the entirety -- or even the majority -- of the blame cannot be placed on the quarterback in this game.
Chicago’s weapons struggled with drops and separation issues throughout the game. Taylor Gabriel ended the game with 7 catches for 57 yards, but he could have had even more production had he not dropped multiple passes and gotten more consistent separation. Anthony Miller had a decent game with 6 catches for 54 yards, but he also had a pass deflect off of his hands that resulted in Trubisky’s lone interception. Even Allen Robinson, who has been reliable for much of the year for the Bears, dropped a pass in a game he’d like to forget, having been blanketed by Jalen Ramsey throughout.
The Bears’ run game was poor, as well, but Tarik Cohen had a surprisingly decent game. He’ll never be a bell-cow back in the league, but he had his best game on the ground of the year, rushing for 39 yards on nine carries. David Montgomery rushed for 31 yards on 14 carries and struggled to make much of an impact, though his offensive line didn’t do him any favors.
This game was essentially a similar result to most of the Bears’ games this season, and at this point in the year, one has to assume a turnaround isn’t in store.
The Bears’ defense played well enough to keep their team in the game, but it still was not a flawless performance.
Todd Gurley exposed Chicago’s run support early on, tallying 64 yards and a touchdown in the first half against a unit that didn’t have much of an answer for him. The All-Pro finished the game with 97 yards on 25 carries after the Bears adjusted coming out of the break and improved their gap-eating abilities in the front-seven.
Roquan Smith was the star of the show on defense for the Bears. The second-year linebacker finished the game with 11 tackles and made plays all over the field, even notching an interception in the process. In a season that has shown ups and downs in his development, this was a step in the right direction for the 2018 first-round pick.
Los Angeles wisely relied heavily on their ground game to defeat the Bears, so Jared Goff only threw the ball 18 times, as opposed to the team’s 34 rushing attempts. Still, Goff managed to put together a few good plays, even if his accuracy and judgment were also inconsistent. He completed three passes for over 15 yards on the Rams’ final touchdown drive -- four if you include the 51-yard touchdown throw to Josh Reynolds called back for an illegal formation penalty. Goff also delivered an impressive 50-yard dart to Cooper Kupp late in the first half.
Chicago started the second half very well, forcing the Rams to punt in each of their first five drives of the half. A collapse late in the game helped seal the deal for a unit whose offense hadn’t helped them out much throughout the night.
Three and out
3. Eddy Piñeiro might not be the guy, either.
After a hot start to the season, the kicker has been nothing short of disappointing in recent weeks. He missed both of his two field goal attempts on Sunday, just one week after a missed extra point attempt against Detroit. This week marked Piñeiro’s first game with a field goal attempt in three weeks, when he went 3-for-5 and missed a potential game-winner against the Chargers.
The Bears’ kicking woes are laughable at this point. Nothing can seem to go right for them at the position.
2. Trubisky was benched in favor of Chase Daniel late in the game after the starter dealt with hip discomfort. The backup’s attempts proved to be unfruitful, but the severity of Trubisky’s injury is currently unknown. What was previously thought to be a controversial, late-gaming benching was actually just a precautionary measure. However, it will be interesting to see if the Bears choose to start Trubisky next week against the Giants.
1. Welp, this season is just about over.
Realistically, we all knew any chances the Bears had at making the playoffs were slim to none, but this loss ensured that they will fail to make the playoffs for a consecutive year, something the team hasn’t done since 2005 and 2006.
Where the Bears go from here is currently unknown. They’ll surely bring in another quarterback to at least compete with Trubisky, if not replace him entirely, but whether that player is a proven veteran or a draft pick remains to be seen. Chicago has some talented players to re-sign, and odds are some of them will leave in free agency. What the team chooses to do with fairly limited cap space and draft capital will be interesting to watch this offseason, though.
However the Bears choose to attack this offseason, Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy better hope that it works. Their jobs may depend on it.