The Chicago Bears lost a lopsided game to the Los Angeles Rams, 34-14, and it was a game that exposed all of the Bears’ issues. Their sketchy secondary allowed L.A.’s Matthew Stafford to complete 20 of 26 passes (76.9%) for 321 yards, 3 touchdowns, and a passer rating of 156.1. They featured a quick strike passing offense much of the time, so the Bears’ pass rush was mostly ineffective.
Chicago was forced into a quick strike offense as well, partly because the Rams have Aaron Donald, but also because I don’t think the Bears trust their pass protection yet. And a couple more injuries along the o-line isn’t going to give the Bears any confidence with longer developing pass plays next week.
The overall numbers weren’t quite as lopsided as the final score would indicate, with the Bears having the edge in first downs (24 to 18), total plays (69 to 50), and time of possession (35:14 to 24:46), and while L.A.’s edge in total yards (386 to 322) wasn’t too bad, they averaged 7.7 yards per play to just to 4.7 for the Bears. The explosive plays were a killer and this find from Kevin Fishbain was brutal to see.
Bears 50+ yard touchdowns allowed by year, per @Stathead:— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) September 13, 2021
2015 - 2
2016 - 1
2017 - 1
2018 - 2
2019 - 1
2020 - 1
2021 - 2
Per Fishbain, that 7.7 yards per play was the most the Bears have allowed since 2016.
The Rams also won the turnover battle (2 to 0), and they held the edge in conversions last night by going 6 for 11 (55%) on third downs to Chicago’s 5 for 11 (45%), and on fourth downs the Rams converted their only attempt but the Bears failed on all four of theirs. The Bears were moving the ball at times — then advanced into Ram territory on their first 7 drives — they just didn’t manage to make the critical play when it was needed.
Fishbain dug up some more
interesting depressing nuggets in his recent article at The Athletic.
• The Bears had two plays that went for more than 14 yards. The Rams had 10.
• The last time the Bears allowed at least 30 points in a season opener was 2015. They hadn’t allowed more than 31 since a 49-7 loss to start the 2003 season.
• In his 166th career start — and 21st against the Bears — Stafford hit career-high marks in passer rating (156.6) and yards per attempt (12.35).
• No player with at least 20 pass attempts against the Bears has had a better passer rating than Stafford’s 156.6 since at least 1950, including Aaron Rodgers.
• His 12.35 yards per attempt ranks second among QBs against the Bears in a game since 1970 (minimum 20 attempts).
He had even more nuggets about the game, so be sure to give his full article a glance when you get a chance.
Now let’s take a closer look at the playing time break downs for the Bears and also some of their individual stats.
Head coach Matt Nagy said in his post game press conference that their plan all along was to work rookie quarterback Justin Fields in the game a little bit, and Fields went 2 for 2 passing for 10 yards, and he ran once for a 3 yard TD. I would imagine we’ll continue to see Fields get in a few reps every game, and I just hope his usage is increased every game.
Andy Dalton wasn’t awful on Sunday night, but he didn't push the ball downfield and he didn’t make any impactful plays. He had the bad red zone pick on a tipped ball, with overall numbers of 27 of 38, 206 passing yards, and a passer rating of 72.9. He was sacked three times, and he scrambled twice for 13 yards.
Again, Dalton wasn’t awful. He was serviceable but nothing special, and there’s a player with the potential to be special sitting on the bench. Nagy and the Bears aren't waiting until 2022 to name Fields the starter. I’ve said all along that once Fields shows the team he’s ready, Nagy’s hand will be forced.
The players all know who the more electrifying QB is.— Lester A. Wiltfong Jr. (@wiltfongjr) September 13, 2021
At this point there's a storm brewing in the #Bears locker room that'll continue to grow. Eventually the skies will open and the storm will be too much to hold back and they'll have no choice but to turn to Justin Fields. https://t.co/b0QUQG3M5b
David Montgomery led the Bears in rushing with 108 yards on 16 attempts and a TD, and he had a reception for 10 yards. Damien Williams ran 6 times for 12 yards, and he caught 4 balls for 28.
Allen Robinson had 35 yards receiving and he led the Bears with 11 targets and 6 receptions. Cole Kmet led the Bears with 45 receiving yards on 5 catches. Darnell Mooney had 5 grabs for 26 yards and Marquise Goodwin had 4 for 45.
While Goodwin was listed as the number three receiver, it was Damiere Byrd that picked up the third most snaps at the position, and he had 3 receptions for 19 yards.
Tight end Jimmy Graham, who has nearly $9 million left on his contract, only played 14 snaps, and had 1 catch for 11 yards.
Roquan Smith led the Bears in tackles with 11, and four Bears chipped in with 5 tackles each Eddie Jackson, Jaylon Johnson, Alec Ogletree, and Kindle Vildor. Johnson also had the Bears lone pass defended.
Akiem Hicks and Robert Quinn split Chicago's only sack, and they also had 2 quarterback hits each.
Khalil Mack was held to just 1 assisted tackle.
The Bears had zero tackles for loss, and they allowed Ram running backs to pick up 4.4 yards per carry.
Cooper Kupp, L.A.’s primary slot receiver, was their most targeted player with 10, and he caught 7 for 108 yards and a TD.
Marqui Christian got the start at the nickelback spot (Duke Shelley was a surprise inactive), and he played 75% of the snaps. With the Bears opening up the game in nickel, that meant that technically rookie nose tackle Khyiris Tonga didn’t get credited with the start in place of Eddie Goldman, but he was out there for 13 snaps.
Trevis Gipson’s nice preseason didn’t carry over to week one as the second year pro only got in for 7 snaps on D.
*The above image has players that only played in the third phase.
Patrick O’ Donnell punted one time for 36 yards.
Rookie Khalil Herbert returned 4 kickoffs for 106 yards.
All statistics and snap counts are taken directly from the NFL’s Game Statistic and Information System, as are the accompanying pictures.
To check out the full Bears vs Rams box score I find that ESPN has an easy to navigate site.