The Bears started off the 2020 season at 5-1. They now sit at 5-6.
For the first time since Week 16, the Bears allowed over 40 points in a single game. A disastrous performance saw them fall to the Packers 41-25, with 15 of those points coming in garbage time.
From a disastrous effort tackling to their inability to stretch the field on offense, the Bears were unable to get anything going on either side of the ball. In a game that will likely make or break their postseason chances down the line, they certainly saw their playoff odds crumble in the prime-time spotlight.
Here are some takeaways from Sunday night’s nightmare.
Save for 15 points in garbage time, this was a lifeless offensive performance for the Bears.
Mitchell Trubisky was arguably better than Nick Foles has been as their starting quarterback, but that’s saying very little. Trubisky was still pretty bad in his return to the starting lineup, throwing two interceptions and completing just 56.5 percent of his passing attempts. He made a lot of the same decision-making mistakes he has over the previous three years, forcing throws and failing to go through progressions and scan the field. Seven of his 20 incomplete passes were broken up by Green Bay defenders, including three by Kevin King and two by Darnell Savage, the latter of whom having picked off both of Trubisky’s turnover throws.
Trubisky’s footwork did appear a little less erratic, and he had some flashes of being able to hit his receivers in stride. However, the down-by-down consistency was lacking, and his tendency to throw into double or even triple coverage plagued the Bears’ ability to string together any momentum. He also had a disastrous fumble that the Packers recovered for a touchdown in the second quarter, further burying his team into what was then a 27-3 deficit.
The offensive line has looked worse than it did on Sunday night, and a look at the All-22 tape will help provide a better idea of what they did right and where they went wrong, but it was still far from a perfect performance from the big men up front. Chicago struggled off the edge in particular, as Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith combined for two sacks and five quarterback hits.
They weren’t terrible in the ground game, though, as they helped David Montgomery finish the day with 103 yards on 11 carries. 57 of those yards came on one run, sure, but taking that run out gives Montgomery 4.6 yards per carry, which would have been his third-highest average of the season. The second-year back also looked more dynamic than usual, as he showed off some nice acceleration and juice in his cuts in space. He even had a receiving touchdown and finished with 5 catches for 40 yards.
Allen Robinson served as the primary security blanket for Trubisky on Sunday, being targeted 13 times and notching 8 receptions for 74 yards and two touchdowns. He made some solid grabs and showed off his reliability in getting open and being a safe option to go to through the air. Darnell Mooney struggled to get going throughout the game, as while he was the second-most targeted player with nine targets, he only caught three passes. Granted, part of that definitely falls on Trubisky’s shoulders, but Mooney didn’t make a major impact in this week’s matchup.
The Bears had their fair share of struggles on offense, but they were exacerbated by their defense’s poor performance. Still, despite a solid game from Montgomery and two scores from Robinson, this offense is not making any real improvements until they make some serious personnel changes.
The pattern typically goes that the Bears’ defense plays well but is unable to hold off long enough to make up for the offense’s poor play. This time, it was the defense that put them into a deep hole.
Aaron Rodgers went off for four touchdowns and completed 72.4 of his passes, hitting Davante Adams six times and Robert Tonyan five times. The former was a problem for the Bears’ secondary to slow down, while the latter was a beneficiary of a wide-open middle of the field that Chicago’s coaching staff failed to make a priority in coverage all game.
Buster Skrine struggled heavily out of the nickel. They say that a cornerback’s tackling numbers typically indicate how well he shut down the opposition, so Skrine’s 13 tackles clearly showcase an evening of getting beat in coverage and quickly having to recover in order to prevent an even bigger gain.
The defensive scheme is heavily to blame for the Bears’ shoddy coverage, too. Sure, Rodgers played a great game and made some really nice throws; he always does. Chuck Pagano failed to make the necessary adjustments as a defensive coordinator to scheme pressure onto Rodgers and to play tighter coverage. He has a penchant to rely on passive zone coverage with a “bend, don’t break” approach to defense, but that style of plays makes it incredibly tough to win the time of possession battle, especially with the offense Chicago has.
Speaking of which, that time of possession was a major flaw in the Bears’ defensive outing, having lost with 22:16 to Green Bay’s 37:44. A large part of that came largely in part to Chicago’s porous run defense, as they allowed 182 yards and 4.7 yards per carry on 39 rushing attempts. The lack of Akiem Hicks this week was apparent in how much they got controlled at the point of attack, though their depth off the line of scrimmage was deep enough to the point where the Packers had an immediate advantage upon contact.
That defensive front struggled in rushing the passer, too. The Bears failed to not only sack Rodgers at any point on Sunday, but they also failed to even hit him once. That fearsome duo of Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn failed to make an impact against the Packers—Mack mostly due to being schemed out of the game with double-team blocks, while Quinn just flat-out struggled rushing the passer.
There are genuinely very few positives to take out of the Bears’ defensive performance against the Packers. Danny Trevathan finished with 10 tackles, but he also got beat plenty in coverage. Jaylon Johnson had a pass deflection and a punishing hit in coverage, but the rookie also had some issues with tackling early in the game.
It’s rare to say that the Bears’ defense was the main reason they lost a game, but that was the case this week. That’s not to say their offense was good—it wasn’t—but it was the defense this time that let the team down most.
Three and out
3. With this loss, the Bears jump from the No. 16 pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft to the No. 14 pick.
Much can change between now and the end of the season, but given where they stand right now, their draft positioning is definitely something to keep an eye on. In particular, it’s important to keep track of which quarterback-needy teams are ahead of them. The Bears jumped both the Patriots and the 49ers in the draft order, and they are within striking distance of jumping the Vikings, Broncos and Falcons if their play stays at this level.
Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields are likely out of their reach barring a gargantuan trade-up, but moving up in the draft order could put the Bears in the position to add Zach Wilson or Trey Lance. A trade up to secure either one of those two wouldn’t be as pricy, either. There may be a silver lining to their poor play after all.
2. On the plus side, Roquan Smith finished the game with six tackles, placing him in second in the NFL with 102 total tackles.
It wasn’t his best game by any stretch, but his impact at the second level has been crucial for the Bears, especially considering their porous performance up front. If there’s any player on this roster who deserves to be an All-Pro in 2020, it’s Smith.
1. It is time for the Bears to clean house.
After a five-game losing streak capped off by a disastrous loss to a divisional rival, it’s hard to believe the Bears being able to turn anything around at this point. Regardless of how these next few weeks turn out, they do not have the personnel—both on the field and off of it—to excel as a playoff contender in the NFL. The McCaskeys are going to have to make some serious changes in the offseason in order to avoid dwelling in purgatory in the long run.