The Bears lost to the Packers in a primetime football game. Wash, rinse, repeat.
Chicago’s bad luck against their biggest rivals continued on Sunday night, as they fell 27-10 to the Packers at Lambeau Field to fall to 1-1 for the 2022 season. It was a tough game to watch if you’re a Bears fan, and it’s definitely tough to find something to write about as I’m typing this up at 11 at night.
I’ll spare you the formalities this time; let’s look at some of the key takeaways from this week’s action.
The Bears threw the ball just 11 times on Sunday, so watching this game was exactly what one would expect from reading the box score.
David Montgomery was arguably the MVP for the Bears this week, rushing for 122 yards on 15 carries. He looked tremendous on the ground, plowing through some defenders and evading others to average 8.1 yards per carry. His power and agility were on full display with a solid workload, and he did a very good job of moving the ball down the field when called upon. Khalil Herbert also did well with 38 yards on just four carries.
Kudos should go to the Bears’ offensive line for generating push up front, too. In their last two games, their young group has done a good job of paving running lanes for their teammates.
The Bears have been expected to take a run-heavy approach this year, so it’s not really shocking that they relied on the ground game quite a bit. That said, the fact that Justin Fields only threw the ball 11 times was extremely disappointing.
One can only speculate why Chicago didn’t let Fields throw the ball much, especially considering they were behind for most of the game. To me, it comes down to two options: Luke Getsy either thought that a massive throwback offense is a good idea — which is concerning — or he didn’t trust Fields to stretch the field, which is also concerning.
Fields didn’t have a fantastic game, as he went 7-for-11 with 70 yards, no passing touchdowns and an interception. He had a quality rushing touchdown at the start of the game, and while it’s tough to break down a quarterback’s game on just 11 throws, but there wasn’t anything that stood out as a “wow” throw to me. He got sacked three times, continuing to struggle with pocket awareness and determining what moves to make to avoid pressure.
Again, it’s such a small sample size for Fields that it’s tough to grade how he played. The fact that he didn’t get opportunities to throw the ball, though, is concerning. It’s just a matter of why he didn’t get said opportunities that determine what the issue is for the Bears.
One week after a strong defensive outing for the Bears’ defense — albeit in a borderline hurricane — the unit struggled traveling up to Green Bay on Sunday night. The Packers were able to run the ball down the Bears’ throats, averaging 5.34 yards per carry, a tally that increases to 5.84 yards per carry when excluding Aaron Rodgers’ five rushes. Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon did a very good job of running the ball in between the tackles, and part of that was due to the Bears’ inability to wrap up and make tackles.
There were plenty of players to struggle for the Bears’ defense. Though Roquan Smith finished with 11 tackles, he had issues with block-shedding, regardless of who blocked him. The All-Pro looked out of place in some cases, and he got dominated at the initial point of attack. Kyler Gordon got targeted heavily in coverage, and the rookie allowed a big chunk of yardage through the air. He had one pass deflection, but he was beat often across the middle of the field, especially out of the slot.
The Bears had some encouraging play from Jaylon Johnson, who was very rarely targeted in coverage. Trevis Gipson also dominated for two sacks and three quarterback hits, and Robert Quinn tallied his first sack of the year. As a unit, though, Chicago severely underwhelmed. Rodgers didn’t beat them; the run game did, and that was with Elgton Jenkins coming off of an injury and no David Bakhtiari at left tackle.
The All-22 tape will tell what the Bears’ defensive struggles fully came down to, but there a lot of things that went wrong, and a lot of it seems to come down to tackling problems. Here’s hoping they can turn things around against the Texans next week.
Three and out
3. The Bears are a young team, and they’re going to make some mistakes.
There is reason to be excited with some of how the Bears’ young players performed. Upon first review, Trevis Gipson had a phenomenal outing. Jaquan Brisker made some plays — albeit among some inconsistencies — both of the two lead running backs had great games, and their young offensive line did a good job of clearing lanes for their teammates. Kyler Gordon obviously had his struggles, and Darnell Mooney and Cole Kmet both failed to make plays on offense. This season is about growing pains, and amidst the highs and lows, it’s a good chance to evaluate which players Ryan Poles wants to keep around going forward.
2. I would like to see the Bears work on many things, obviously. A minor one that I’d like to see special teams coach Richard Hightower work on is letting his kick returners know when to allow a touchback.
The Bears returned kickoffs five times, and they went 1-for-5 in returning a kick past the 25-yard line where they would’ve ended up in the instance of a touchback. Granted, that includes a quality Trestan Ebner return that was called back, and they didn’t have the luxury of letting the ball bounce out every single time. They did have that chance a few times, though, and it came back to bite them when they didn’t. It’s a minor issue, but it does eat seconds and yards away from a drive.
1. It’s clear that Fields is still a work in progress, and that’s fine for now. He isn’t where Bears fans probably wanted him to be at this point when he was originally drafted, but there have been flashes, and there’s still a lot of the 2022 season left to play. There’s no need to call the Fields project off right now.
However, the Bears need to at least give him some sort of a chance to prove himself. He has attempted just 28 passes in his first two games, and Sunday’s loss saw him throw 6 fewer passes than he did in a monsoon the previous week. There are reasons to be concerned about Fields: his pocket presence still isn’t great, and he can make too many questionable decisions with the ball. That said, Chicago needs to give him more reps through the air going forward. At the very least, it will help Ryan Poles and Co. determine whether their current quarterback can be “the guy” going forward.