Going into Sunday night’s primetime game in Los Angeles, not many had the Bears picked as a team who could upset the powerhouse Rams, and they would be right.
The Bears stuttered to a disappointing 34-14 loss in a game where major questions will be asked about the defence’s ability to live up to the hype, and if continuing with Andy Dalton under centre is benefitting anyone.
Usually, we go into games safe in the knowledge that the Bears defence will turn up and most likely carry the rest of the team, shining a beacon of hope for the fans. Last night, the reality was anything but this. Sean Desai’s first game in charge of the Bears defence went south quickly as the talent deficient secondary gave up two huge touchdown plays amidst blown coverages and general confusion.
The decline of Eddie Jackson continues to be a concern, with the veteran safety ostensibly struggling with coverages and tackling fundamentals at times. For a player on as much money as he is, the Bears need more from him, but don’t seem to be getting it.
The rest of the defence was pretty much a non-entity for most of the game with only a spattering of decent plays made throughout the night. Is the big stage of defensive coordinator too much for Desai? Or will we see the unit rebound next week against an impressive Cincinnati offence?
As for the offence, Andy Dalton had what could be described as an okay game. If it weren’t for the rushing ability and dogged determination of David Montgomery, then this offence may not have scored any points at all.
DAVID MONTGOMERY SHOWED HIS WORTH TO BEARS
8 offensive drives from this unit resulted in 2 touchdowns, a punt, 1 forced fumble, an interception and 3 turnovers on downs. The play calling from Matt Nagy was suspect at times yet again. From an analysis of the drives, the Bears seen the most success on those where they ran the ball more often or just as often as they threw it. Shocker! We need to run the ball more on every drive. David Montgomery is a star at running back, and Damien Williams looked good at times too.
Some good news was that the offensive line did not look as bad as most imagined it would. In fact, it looked relatively competent for most of the game, until at least the Bears lost both Jason Peters and Larry Borom to injuries. The left tackle spot will be an area of concern moving forward and we should hear more about the injury status of Peters and Borom in the coming hours.
Andy Dalton contributed nothing to this game that Justin Fields couldn’t have done. At the same time, Justin Fields is able to use his superior skills set do more things that Andy Dalton cannot do. Continuing to stick with Dalton is a waste of time for everyone concerned and is harming the development timeline for Fields and the Bears.
Of course, we did see Justin Fields deployed throughout the game, but only on 5 plays – a 9 yard pass; a weird Matt Nagy end-around play which resulted in a loss of yards; a Matt Nagy shovel pass for 1 yard; an RPO handoff for 2 yards, and of course a 3 yards rush for a touchdown.
Going into this week, changes and corrections need to be made on the defence. At this point I wouldn’t be 100% against starting Deandre Houston Carson instead of Jackson or Gipson. As I mentioned, Matt Nagy had a so-so game in terms of play calling, there are still some inexplicable screen passes and end around plays drawn up and called that do not work.
Finally, Justin Fields needs to be the starter at the quarterback position. Not a gadget contributor, but the starter.
If Justin Fields is “ready” to play 5 snaps and score more touchdowns in the game than Andy Dalton was able to, then why is he not “ready” to play the full game? The sooner Nagy gives up this Andy Dalton thing, the better.
Some fans say that Dalton looked okay and that he moved the sticks well and should maybe stay in for the game next week against the Bengals. To those fans I say this, stop accepting “just fine” or “just okay”! This is the problem we have in Chicago; we are willing to just accept mediocrity as it looked slightly better than the last time we played.
I’ll say it again. Justin Fields is the more talented quarterback and the more talented athlete. He gives us the best chance to win and playing him now will mean he can develop over a full season, in order to be better ready for next season.
If Matt Nagy insists on playing Dalton next Sunday then, in my opinion, questions need to be asked about his suitability to lead this team.
The only saving grace from yesterday’s result is that all of the other NFC North teams were also beaten, leaving the playing field level heading into week 2. We will have our Bengals preview and predictions out later this week, but from what we seen of the Cincinnati offence on Sunday, the Bears defence could have it’s work cut out for them again.
If only we had a promising, dynamic quarterback we could turn to?