Last week our guy WhiskeyRanger whipped up a clever “Groundhog Day” themed story centered around the comments made from Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy and his use of rookie tight end Cole Kmet, but that Groundhog Day feeling is what I’ve had as a Bears fan most of my life.
It’s the same story year after year after year after year...
The Bears have a good defense and an inconsistent offense.
That’s not a winning combination in most eras, but in an era where everything is designed to help the offensive side of the ball, it’s like starting each game off with a handicap. The Bears should petition the league to get a 3 point head start each week just to keep things interesting.
Yesterday against the New Orleans Saints, the Bears’ running game had its best performance in over a month, but it didn’t matter as the overall showing from the offense still stumbled most of the afternoon.
There was another ridiculous interception, more dumbass drive killing penalties, and a third down conversion rate of 33%.
So far on the year, there is only one team that sucks more at converting third downs, the New York Jets, and what makes this even worse is Chicago’s D is the stingiest in the league in allowing third down conversions.
The Saints only converted 15% of their third downs, but they were 2 for 3 on fourth downs.
New Orleans had more yards than the Bears (394 to 329), more first downs (23 to 18), and they won the time of possession (35:15 to 33:09), and this one shouldn’t be a surprise, but they were also flagged less than Chicago was (5 for 45 yards to 7 for 53).
But now let’s take a closer look at the playing time break downs for the Bears, and also some individual stats.
The aforementioned Cole Kmet finally did see more reps, but he only had 1 catch for 2 yards. The starting tight end, Jimmy Graham, was targeted 7 times, but he only had 2 catches for 13 yards plus a false start penalty.
The Bears top three wide receivers, Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney and Anthony Miller, formed a nice trifecta with A-Rob’s 6 receptions for 87 yards and a TD, Mooney’s 5 for 69, and Miller’s 8 for 73.
David Montgomery led the Bears in rushing with a season high 89 yards on 21 carries.
Quarterback Nick Foles hasn’t given the Bears the type of consistent and heady play he was supposed to give them, and while the pass protection has been sketchy at times, Foles deserves his share of blame. He went 28 of 41 for 272 yards, with 2 TDs, 1 interception, and a passer rating of 92.7. That stat line may not look too bad, but it doesn’t tell the entire story. He simply wasn’t good enough and he hasn’t been good enough during his time running the O.
The Saints defense was credited with 5 sacks, 8 quarterback hits, and 9 tackles for loss.
Roquan Smith continues his fine season as he led the team with 11 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and a pass defensed. Fellow inside linebacker Danny Trevathan had 9 tackles and a TFL.
The Bears only had 1 sack, and it was from Khalil Mack, who also had a forced fumble, 5 tackles, and a TFL.
Two other Bears were credited with forced fumbles, Buster Skrine and Eddie Jackson, but New Orleans recovered all three.
Each Bears’ starting safety, Jackson and Tashaun Gipson, had 8 tackles a piece.
I don’t like seeing Akiem Hicks (3 tackles, 1 QBH) playing such a high percentage of snaps. At 30-years old and 350 pounds, the Bears really need to figure out a plan to get him a few more plays off if they want to maximize his effectiveness each week. He’s a great player, but get him a break and get Mario Edwards Jr. a few more reps while you’re at it.
*The above image has players that only played in the third phase.
There were 8 different Bears that recorder a special teams tackle, which is the most I can remember seeing since I’ve been doing these weekly articles.
New punt returner Dwayne Harris paid immediate dividends as he caught all three punts that were in the field of play for 17 yards. He also played a few other special teams in his Bears’ debut making one of the aforementioned tackles.
Kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson had a rough day with just a 14.7 average.
Patrick O’Donnell has 4 punts for a 50 yard average, but only a 33.3 net as the Bears allowed 67 yards in return.
Cairo Santos continues his good kicking by making all 2 extra points and all 3 field goals, including a 51 yarder.
To check out the full Bears vs Saints box score I find that ESPN has an easy to navigate site.
All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL’s Game Statistic and Information System, as are the accompanying pictures.