Bears Takeaways: Chicago keeps the eyes on the prize

The Bears have stayed steadfast focused on preserving a high draft pick in the 2023 NFL draft. The Bears have now lost six in a row. They have lost 9 of their last 10. Things look very good in Week 14 as they have a bye. Then, they get the Bills and the Eagles in back-to-back weeks and finish the season against the Lions and Vikings who they have already lost games to. There is a high probability the Bears could finish 3-14, but I am thinking that they upset the Lions or Vikings so my prediction is 4-13. Houston feels like they have the top pick locked in, but there are several other three and four win teams vying for the second draft pick including the Bears, Seahawks (pick from the Broncos), Lions (pick from the Rams), Eagles (pick from the Saints), Panthers, Jaguars, Cardinals, and Colts. It will come down to the wire, but it looks good for the Bears to have a top 5 pick.

With Houston probably taking the best quarterback off the board, the Bears have a chance at one of the best non-QB positions and the Bears have many needs. I would like to see the Bears grab a top wide receiver from the free agent ranks but it looks like that class might be thin. The Bears could use playmakers from anywhere in the front 7 for their defense. Regardless, the Bears are going to get the top guy in the draft at one of their many positional needs.

Let’s take a look at how the Bears did against Green Bay this past Sunday.

Fields Survives

Most Chicago fans didn’t see the logic in playing Justin Fields with a dislocated shoulder in a lost season. Fields looked mostly like himself on Sunday and the injury didn’t seem to hamper him at all. The Bears did alter their play calling a bit, calling only three designed runs for Fields and Fields looked like he was sliding (and sliding early) instead of taking hits like a running back.

The results were similar to past weeks. He had 71 yards rushing including a 55-yard touchdown run which sets the record for most 50+ rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a career (Fields did it in one year). Fields remains on track to break Lamar Jackson’s single season rushing record for quarterbacks. The number of passes remained constant at 25, but he was very accurate, completing 20 of them. He was also effective, throwing for over 12 yards a completion for a season high 254 yards.

But the offense stalled in the second half. Scoring only 3 points for the last 30 minutes, the Fields led offense could not keep the Packers down and let Aaron Rodgers take over the game. The same issue that has plagued the Bears offense the entire season reared its very ugly head again. When the Bears need quick scores and chunk plays through the air, the offense couldn’t produce. Typically, the issue is sacks and incompletions. On Sunday, it was interceptions that doomed the Bears chances of staving off the Packers.

The Receivers

With Mooney out, Fields distributed the ball to six different receivers with some interesting results. Equanimeous St. Brown had three catches for 85 yards. Cole Kmet is turning into a top NFL tight end with another six catches and 72 yards. N’Keal Harry had a catch for 49 yards. Chase Claypool didn’t rack up the yardage but five catches on six targets shows that he is getting more involved in the game. David Montgomery had four catches, again showing more involvement in the pass game, but only turned it into 6 yards. For the most part, it is easy to see why Fields hit 254 yards, multiple chunk plays to different receivers which is improvement.

Run Bears Run

David Montgomery had a decently efficient game rushing with 61 yards and a 4.4 clip per carry. Again, Fields led the rushing team based on his 55-yard touchdown scamper.

Defensive Struggles

The defense wasn’t to blame for this loss.  Some of the numbers actually looked really good. Aaron Rodgers was held to 18 completions on 31 passes which is a poor day for him. Good coverage and decent pressure forced a lot of bad passes. However, the pressure did not turn into any sacks against an Aaron Rodgers still hurting from an injury a week ago. Rodgers evaded the Bears rush all day and was able to make a few of his ad-hoc, scramble plays for yardage and touchdowns. The Bears smothered Aaron Jones to the tune of 26 yards. Although AJ Dillon had a decent day with 93 yards on 18 carries (5.2 average), the Packers run game was mostly held in check.

Bottom Line

The Bears interceptions put the defense into short field situations and halted a couple promising drives that could have put the Bears back in the lead. That being said, if you are hoping for a top draft pick, things are going according to plan.

Author

  • Larry Goldman

    Larry spends his nights and days watching, researching, and writing about sports in Chicago and the national conversation.

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