The Bears are undefeated no more.
After winning their first three games of the 2020 season, they failed to pick up enough steam to get them over the hump on Sunday, losing to the Colts at home 19-11. The loss drops them to 3-1 on the year, and while they still hold the second-place position in the NFC North by a considerable margin, they find themselves out of the division lead, barring the results of the Packers’ game on Monday.
Here are some immediate reactions to this week’s loss.
Offense struggles to generate early momentum
Any time your offense scores just 3 points in the first half, you can’t possibly be happy with your team’s performance. The Bears struggled mightily to kick the game off: the offensive line looked poor, the ground game was disappointing, their receivers failed to create separation, and Nick Foles didn’t look any better than Mitchell Trubisky did in the first three games.
DeForest Buckner is an absolute beast and the Colts’ defense is no fluke
The Colts held the Bears to just 121 yards in the first half, and while the Bears’ offensive mistakes certainly played a role in that pedestrian total, Indianapolis’ defense deserves plenty of credit for how they played early on. Their run defense dominated Chicago’s offensive line at the line of scrimmage, and their coverage looked reliable pretty much all game. DeForest Buckner was particularly impressive, as he was able to penetrate the backfield and make his presence felt as both a pass-rusher and as a run stuffer.
Enough with the penalties!
The Bears gave up 73 yards on five penalties in the first half, and many of them were incredibly preventable. Cordarrelle Patterson’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a Kyle Fuller pass interference call cost the Bears significant yardage, as well as a horse-collar tackle from Robert Quinn. All three of those penalties played a significant role in the Colts getting into scoring position.
Akiem Hicks is still fantastic
Hicks had been one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL through the first three weeks of the year, and he kept up his high level of play on Sunday. A bright spot in an otherwise underwhelming defensive performance, the former Pro Bowler has looked as good as he has at any point of his career.
Nick Foles and Mitchell Trubisky *insert Spiderman pointing meme*
The Big Nick Energy that was on display in the fourth quarter of the Falcons game was essentially nonexistent this week. One could argue that Foles looked very similar to Trubisky in two specific ways: they both forced throws, and despite making a couple of nice throws down the field, they both threw some inaccurate passes. While not every defense they face will be as good as the Colts’ unit, the Bears’ offense is going to continue to struggle if their quarterback play doesn’t improve, regardless of whether or not Foles starts the rest of the season.
Allen Robinson is still good, but Anthony Miller puts forth a questionable performance
Robinson finished the game with seven catches, 101 yards and a touchdown, showing off his late-game reliability with five catches and 75 yards on their final offensive drive of the game. While he was quiet for most of the game, he certainly made an impact when the Bears entered a late-game drive. Anthony Miller was not quite as reliable, though, as he had two notable drops on his two targeted incompletions, including one that bounced right into the hands of Colts defensive back Julian Blackmon. He keeps making the same mistakes he made as a rookie, and at this rate, it’s hard to warrant a long-term spot for him in their starting lineup.
Defense crumbles late in the game
The Bears have relied on strong play from their defense late in the fourth quarter to get their offense on the field to get back in games past, but that was not the case this week. A 7-minute, 12-second drive in the fourth quarter helped the Colts wind out the clock late in the game, in which Chicago failed to plug up holes in the run game. The absence of Eddie Goldman certainly loomed over this matchup.
I can’t do this anymore
Since 2010, 59 percent of 3-1 teams have made it into the playoffs, and while the additional playoff spot could help the Bears down the line, this team did not look like a postseason team today. When you give up as much push in the ground game, leave the middle of the field open in the passing game, and fail to create momentum on offense, it’s going to be hard for you to win games. We’ve seen them start off slow in two of their three previous games, but this game just felt different. This team looked as uninspired as I’ve seen it in recent years, so let’s hope for their fans’ sake that they can turn things around while it’s still early in the year.