Sunday night, the Bears had their walk of shame aired on national television.
Already eliminated from playoff contention, Chicago faced a Chiefs team that was simply much better than they were and were embarrassed because of it, losing 26-3 on Sunday Night Football.
The Bears dropped to 7-8 with the loss, falling under .500 and heading into a matchup against the Vikings on the road who are far from the team they beat back in September. Then, a much-needed conclusion to one of the most disappointing seasons in recent franchise history will be reached.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
This prime time matchup served as yet another humiliating reminder of the Bears’ franchise-altering gaffe in the 2017 draft.
Patrick Mahomes was everything Mitchell Trubisky was not last night. The former MVP was accurate, poised and made several great decisions. The quarterback selected ahead of him, though, was not.
Trubisky finished 18-for-34, which resulted in a 52.9 completion percentage that is his second-worst of the year so far, and threw for only 157 yards while failing to throw a touchdown pass. Unlike many of his games throughout the year, there weren’t any flashes of competency to try and combat the poor throws. He was finally consistent, but he was consistently bad.
Matt Nagy didn’t call a perfect game this week—far from it—but more of the blame from this loss falls on Trubisky, who collapsed under pressure and threw poorly placed passes on a regular basis. With the final two games of the season not mattering much to the Bears, this game was able to become a way for the quarterback to make a last-minute good impression on the front office heading into the offseason, and he was unable to do so.
Allen Robinson was the only receiver to even top 30 receiving yards this week, let alone 50. He finished with 6 catches and 53 yards, doing the best he could given the passes he was thrown. He could have potentially added a touchdown that would’ve gone for more than 50 yards had Trubisky not overthrown the pass. Still, it was another good game for Robinson, given the circumstances.
The rest of the Bears’ offensive weapons had relatively weak games. Anthony Miller’s hot streak came to an end this week, finishing with only a catch that went for a two-yard gain. Granted, he did fumble a botched handoff that resulted in a 10-yard loss, but he should have been given the ball more. Even though he had 33 catches, 431 yards and 2 touchdowns in the five games prior, Trubisky only targeted Miller twice all game. Deeper looks at game tape will determine who gets the blame for that, but a player of Miller’s caliber should not only be targeted twice in a game.
Javon Wims was targeted nine times and only caught the ball three times, tallying only 26 yards. His issues with drops heavily plagued the Bears’ offense through the game. Tarik Cohen was the only other target besides Robinson and Wims to have more than one catch.
David Montgomery had a passable game, rushing for 57 yards on 13 carries. The rookie’s offensive line hasn’t been stellar this year, but one can’t help but be a bit disappointed he hasn’t done more in 2019. He’ll be a potential breakout candidate next season, assuming the Bears make an offensive line upgrade or two and the run scheme gets worked on. However, his processing still has to speed up, and that will also play a factor in if the rookie can become more consistent in making big runs.
The Bears’ offensive performance on Sunday hammered home the fact that they have a lot of work to do over the offseason. If they don’t make significant improvements next year, the roster designed for a clearcut playoff window could begin to fall apart.
Chicago entered Sunday night with one of the league’s best defenses, and Kansas City entered the game with one of the league’s best offenses. The good offense reigned supreme in this matchup.
The Bears had no answer for Mahomes and Co., as the quarterback was consistently accurate and head coach Andy Reid did a great job of scheming the passing attack. Chicago’s zone coverage was picked apart and exposed, and the Chiefs’ receivers were able to create separation and attack the soft spots in the Bears’ defense all night.
Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill both topped 70 yards against the Bears, and they did so easily. Chicago simply couldn’t defend Kelce in the second level of the defense, and Hill’s electric athleticism allowed him to burn past players in the Bears’ secondary. The coverage as a whole was very underwhelming from a team that had entered the game as a top 10 pass defense in DVOA.
Khalil Mack was a bright spot for the defense, though, as he picked up a sack and added 4 tackles and a hit on Mahomes. He did a great job of penetrating the backfield regularly and winning one-on-one battles more often than not. The sack brings him to a total of 8.5 on the year, and though the total is disappointing by his standards, it is still a solid number considering the double- and triple-team blocks he has faced all year. He remains the most valuable player on the Bears’ roster.
Save for his penalty for running into Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, Kevin Pierre-Louis had a solid game altogether. He finished the game with 12 tackles and was a reliable force in run support. Nick Kwiatkoski finished close behind with 11 total tackles on the night. With the dynamic athleticism he brings to the table as both a linebacker on defense and a coverage player on special teams, Pierre-Louis has been able to carve a niche for himself on this Bears roster. Though he has played on four teams in the past four seasons, he appears to be worth keeping around if his price tag isn’t too high.
Still, the Bears struggled as a unit, and though later observations will determine more of an appropriate blame for the issues, both defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano and the players themselves could have done better. Chicago’s cornerbacks didn’t have a great game as a unit, and their safeties appeared to be pedestrian when tasked with underneath coverage. The pass rush was lacking outside of Mack, as no other players tallied even a single hit on Mahomes all night.
Chicago has been very good defensively for much of the season, but this game was not one of their better performances. They were simply the inferior unit on Sunday night.
Three and out
3. Regardless of who the quarterback is for the Bears next year, they should look to add talent at tight end.
The position is utilized as a security blanket of sorts in an Andy Reid-inspired offense, but the Bears have found no such comfort there in 2019. Trey Burton was uninspiring even when healthy, Adam Shaheen solidified his status as a bust, while no other tight end on the roster proved worthy of anything more than a minuscule role in the offense at best. Players like Austin Hooper, Hunter Henry and Eric Ebron all have expiring contracts this offseason, while draft prospects like Brycen Hopkins, Harrison Bryant and Albert Okwuegbunam develop into long-term starters.
No matter the route the Bears take this offseason, there will be talent they can add at tight end this year. They should attack the position aggressively to fill a major need on their roster.
2. The Bears head to Minnesota next week to take on the Vikings in a game that has very little significance for Chicago, who will simply use the game for evaluational purposes during the offseason. Don’t be surprised if a handful of younger players see a slight uptick in reps come next Sunday.
Chicago will also look to finish the season at .500 with a potential win. If they lose, then it will mark the fifth time in the last six seasons that they have failed to reach that mark.
1. This season has been disappointing since the Bears’ four-game losing streak kicked off back in October, but this game was just an emphatic reminder of what this year should have been.
The game was initially slotted for ‘SNF’ with the expectation that both the Bears and the Chiefs would be playoff teams battling for divisional titles and securing a higher seed in their respective conferences. That description rings true for the Chiefs, at least.
Instead of a hard-fought battle between two playoff teams, this game was a one-sided trouncing from a team with a bright immediate future to a team that has more questions than answers at this point. Chicago’s collapse was put on full display for all of America to see on Sunday night, and one can’t help but just feel melancholy with how everything has turned out this year.
Thankfully, the car crash of a season that has been 2019 will soon come to a merciful end.