The Bears came out winners Sunday, despite three quarters of, frankly, awful play.
They tried their best to give the game away, including a “how did he not catch that” drop in the endzone by the Lions, but the Bears came away victors and all that really matters is the nice 1-0 start for the first time in ages.
So which players looked good and which need to get better?
Matt Nagy - He may not be a player but let’s give credit where credit is due. Yes, it’s only one game but dang, Nagy changed his offense to fit his personnel and (lack of a good) quarterback.
He mixed in a lot of runs, used a lot of two tight end sets and plenty of play action to move the ball, and while the QB play was still lacking for three quarters, the offense as a whole was a little better. The Bears had 28 rushing attempts for 149 yards as a team, which resulted in the third-highest yards-per-attempt output of Nagy’s tenure.
Jaylon Johnson - The rookie got thrown into it and came out the other side just fine. He wasn’t perfect and there’s going to be some ups and downs but Johnson held his own for the most part, including on the final play of the game.
There were a couple of instances where everyone knew Johnson would be the target of Matt Stafford; one resulted in Kyle Fuller’s interception and the other was the batted pass that ended the game.
Anthony Miller - I hope it was all right to come in to this season skeptical of Miller. We have been waiting to see Miller take the next step for over a year now and it seemed like it might not come. After reading reports of a strong finish to camp, I remained skeptical because it seemed like good practices were something of a theme for Miller but it never translated.
I won’t say it’s all on Miller, because obviously we know about the quarterback’s shortcomings. However, it seems to me that last year we might have seen Miller looking visibly frustrated after getting just one target in the first half, but on Sunday he kept working and was rewarded with four catches, a team-leading 76 yards and the game-winning touchdown. A sign a maturity for sure.
Danny Trevathan - The veteran looked slow out there and was blocked out of far too many running plays. When he was targeted in the passing game, he allowed a 75 percent completion percentage, this according to Pro-Football Reference.
Bilal Nichols - Nichols isn’t Eddie Goldman, that’s not Nichols’ fault, but the defense definitely missed Goldman as they got gashed by Adrian Peterson at times. Nichols was losing at the line of scrimmage, even in one-on-one situations.
John Jenkins - Definitely in the same boat as Nichols. He was getting pushed around and ended the game credited with just two tackles. But the run defense and lack of pass rush was troublesome enough that both of these guys deserve to be on the list.
Is there someone I missed? Who did you notice, good and bad, from Sunday’s game?