Once again, the Chicago Bears fell prey to the Green Bay Packers. This time it was a 45-30 defeat in a primetime Sunday Night Football matchup. The loss dropped the Bears to 1-7 against the Packers in the Matt Nagy era and plummeted Chicago's record to 4-9 on the season. The loss puts them two games out of the final wild card spot in the NFC.
It's obvious the Bears' season is over, despite mathematically remaining in playoff contention. Currently, Chicago is the second-worst team in the NFC, only ahead of the woeful Detroit Lions. If the Bears were to rattle off a couple of wins in their upcoming games, it's still an uphill battle. They would have to leapfrog eight other teams. It's a tough task for a team with very little hope in 2021.
Nevertheless, the Bears lost to the Packers in a very similar fashion. In fact, this game may have been Nagy's last as a Bears head coach against Green Bay. This is ironic because Sunday's game was reminiscent of his first contest against them. Yes, the Bears lost, but there might be a silver lining here. Perhaps this is the last time they will have to face Aaron Rodgers in a Packers uniform?
Now, without further ado, here are the takeaways from the Bears' loss to their longtime foes.
Tale of Two Halves: First Half
In the first half, the Bears laid all their cards out on the table. They brought a high level of energy and the effort was pretty damn good. In fact, the Bears' defense shut out the Packers' offense in the first quarter and Chicago held a 3-0 lead after 15 minutes. However, that's when the game went off the rails. The second quarter saw the two teams combine for 45 total points, which set a record in the rivalry.
The Bears and Packers traded six consecutive touchdowns in the high-scoring second quarter.
- Bears: Offensive TD (10-0)
- Packers: Offensive TD (10-7)
- Packers: Pick-6 (10-14)
- Bears: Offensive TD (17-14)
- Bears: Punt Return TD (24-14)
- Packers: Offensive TD (24-21)
The Bears wrapped up the first half with a field goal to hold a 27-21 lead at the break. It was truly amazing to see the Bears keep up offensively with the Packers and go toe-to-toe with a juggernaut. The offensive numbers were nearly identical.
Halftime: "I'm having so much fun"
At halftime, Matt Nagy had an interesting choice of words to describe the first half. So much so, that the postgame crew on NBC Sports Chicago ripped the fourth-year head coach for it.
Tale of Two Halves: Second Half
After Nagy told the sideline reporter about how much fun he was happening, the second half happened. Some of us saw it coming. Because it was inevitable.
The Bears completely wet themselves in the second half.
After scoring 27 points in the first half, the Bears produced only three points in the final 30 minutes. In fact, the Packers outscored them 24-3. The offense struggled to sustain any drives and find its rhythm. Meanwhile, the defense struggled to stop the Packers' offense. Green Bay made the necessary adjustments while Matt Nagy was just having fun. The Packers flipped the script and dominated the final 30 minutes of the game.
The Bears lost all the energy they brought in the first half and whimpered their way to the finish. Here is Chicago's first half vs. second half comparison.
Justin Fields: First Half
It's not unreasonable to say that Justin Fields is still going through growing pains. However, it doesn't help that his supporting cast and coaching staff haven't helped him out much. Nevertheless, he had himself a good first half by posting the following stat line:
- Completions: 9
- Attempts: 16
- Completion %: 56.2
- Yards: 150
- Yards/Attempt: 9.4
- Touchdowns: 2
- Interceptions: 1
- Fumbles: 0
- Sacks: 0
- Sack Yards Lost: 0
- QB Rating: 101.6
Of course, the two touchdowns accounted for the majority of his stats.
- TD plays: 2-2, 100 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT
- Non-TD plays: 7-14, 50 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT
On those two touchdown passes, the ball traveled approximately five yards in the air, which some would try to dismiss or discredit. But Fields still made those plays, so they count.
The rookie quarterback also added 44 yards on six rushes in the first half. He was very selective and had conviction on his runs early. It was also nice to see him slide smoothly. It seems like he's learning how to protect himself.
Justin Fields: Second Half
In contrast, Fields' second half was rough. He logged the following stat line:
- Completions: 9
- Attempts: 17
- Completion %: 52.9
- Yards: 74
- Yards/Attempt: 6.8
- Touchdowns: 0
- Interceptions: 1
- Fumbles: 1
- Sacks: 2
- Sack Yards Lost: 14
- QB Rating: 39.8
To be fair to Fields, the Packers brought the heat on the rookie quarterback and he held his own.
Interestingly, the Bears called and attempted only one pass of 20-plus yards, according to his throw chart. In addition, Fields tacked on another 30 yards on three rushes to give him a total of 74 yards rushing on nine attempts for the game.
David Montgomery: First Half vs. Second Half
In the first half, Montgomery logged 40 yards on nine rushes and added one reception for two yards. Then, for whatever reason, the Bears shied away from the running game. David Montgomery only had one carry for two yards in the entire second half.
However, the Bears used him more in the passing game. Montgomery hauled in five catches for 37 yards. In total, he finished with 81 all-purpose yards on 16 touches for an average of 5.1 yards per touch.
Since the trade that brought him to Chicago, Grant has been making his presence felt, especially in the return game. He finally broke out on Sunday Night. Early on, Grant took a touch pass on a jet sweep 46 yards to the house for a touchdown.
Later in the second quarter, Grant returned a punt from his own three-yard line and took it 97 yards for a score. It was almost Devin Hester-esque.
Next Gen Stats illustrated how fast Grant ran during the return.
NBC Sports Chicago Bears insider Adam Hoge made a good point about Grant and his usage.
He compared it to how the Bears were using Tarik Cohen when he was healthy. The injured running back was a big part of Chicago's offense and brought a different element to it as well.
(Damiere) Byrd is the Word
Go figure, Damiere Byrd led the team in receiving. He finished the contest with two catches, 76 yards, and one touchdown. Of course, 54 yards came on this touchdown pass in the second quarter. Byrd beautifully executed the angle route, which all Madden players will know and understand.
Despite his struggles in 2020, Robert Quinn has been on a tear in 2021. Quinn entered Sunday's contest with 12.0 sacks on the season. He logged two more to bump that number to 14.0 after only recording 2.0 in total last year.
First, Quinn brought down Aaron Rodgers and mocked his "belt" celebration.
Then, he tripped up Rodgers and Bilal Nichols jumped on the pile for good measure.
Quinn's fantastic season is on the verge of breaking a Bears single-season record for sacks.
- Richard Dent: 17.5 (1984)
- Richard Dent: 17.0 (1985)
- Robert Quinn: 14.0 (2021)
- Richard Dent: 12.5 (1987, 1993)
- Khalil Mack: 12.5 (2018)
While Quinn had the first two sacks, Trevis Gipson had the third and final one.
The Bears lost a handful of players due to injuries against the Packers.
- Jason Peters (ankle)
- Xavier Crawford (concussion)
- DeAndre Houston-Carson (arm)
- Khyiris Tonga (shoulder)
- Roquan Smith (hamstring)
Even though Davante Adams went off for 10 catches, 121 yards, and two touchdowns, most of his work came against everyone not named Jaylon Johnson. When he did line up across from Johnson, Adams hauled in two catches on five targets for 19 yards and one touchdown.
Unfortunately, Johnson was unable to shadow Adams the entire game as the Packers moved their receivers around to avoid the second-year cornerback. Of course, Adams feasted against the other Bears' defensive backs as he caught all eight targets for 102 yards and a touchdown.
The fourth-year head coach was brutal again. Of course, the first half was fun. But, the second half was dreadful due to a lack of adjustments by Nagy and his coaching staff. Nagy had a few noticeable issues.
- Keeping three timeouts going into halftime. Instead of settling for a field goal before the break, maybe the Bears could have worked the middle of the field and used those timeouts to potentially push for a touchdown.
- Deciding to kick a field goal late down 18 points. His 4-8 team was on the road against their rivals. Why is he coaching scared?
- The Bears had a fourth-and-inches scenario early in the fourth quarter while trailing by 11 points. Of course, Nagy sent out the punting unit.
As a result, the Packers got the ball back and made a two-score game a three-score one. That essentially ended any shot the Bears had at a comeback. Once again, a scared coach coaching scared.
Green Bay Packers Dominance
Of course, the Packers' 29-year dominance continues. First, it was Brett Favre. Now, it's Aaron Rodgers. The Bears are 3-21 in their last 24 games against Green Bay, which dates back to the 2010 NFC Championship Game. Additionally, Chicago is 1-7 against the Packers under Matt Nagy.
Here are some other startling Bears stats regarding this rivalry:
- 5-23 against Rodgers
- 0-6 in their last six games in Green Bay
- Fields 0-2 against Packers
- Bears were once leading all-time series 80-57-6 (+23)
- Bears now trail 103-95-6 (-8)
The Bears ended a five-game losing streak on Thanksgiving. However, they're now on a new two-game losing streak. Losing their ninth game ensures their first losing season since 2017 and the first under Nagy. It's time to admit the season is over.
Yet, Fields continues to take a beating unnecessarily. The future of the franchise is having to learn the speed of the NFL and develop under a coach who's in over his head and too stubborn to put Fields in a position to succeed.
It's almost as if Bears fans are desensitized to this incompetency. In due time, Nagy will no longer hold employment with the Bears. Same with Ryan Pace. However, the organization will continue to have the same dysfunction because it goes beyond the head coach and general manager roles. The problems are rooted deep and it starts with George McCaskey and Ted Phillips.
What's On Tap Next?
Another challenge awaits; this time in the form of the Minnesota Vikings. Once again, the NFL decided putting the Bears under the national spotlight is the best course of action. This time, the Vikings travel to Soldier Field on Monday, December 20 for Monday Night Football. The Week 15 contest will kick off at 7:15 PM CST and air on ESPN.
As for the opponent, Minnesota is coming off of a mini-bye week. They last played on Thursday Night Football against the Steelers. The Vikings came away with a thrilling win after Pittsburgh nearly rallied for an upset. Now at 6-7, the Vikings have tons of firepower on offense. Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, and Adam Thielen lead the charge for Minnesota. Of course, Kirk Cousins is still the quarterback, but he has executed the offense fairly well. When preparing for this game, the Bears cannot overlook Minnesota's other playmakers such as K.J. Osborn and Tyler Conklin.
On the flip side, the Vikings' defense is full of playmakers. The Bears will have their hands full with Everson Griffen, Harrison Smith, Patrick Peterson, Danielle Hunter, Bashaud Breeland, and Anthony Barr.
As for the Bears, they can hang their hat on the fact that Matt Nagy is 5-1 against the Vikings. Offensively, they should be able to score. But on defense, it's going to be ugly. On paper, it doesn't look like a good matchup for the Bears, but stranger things have happened. At this point, everyone is just trying to get through the season as fast as possible. Just ask Allen Robinson.
Be sure to tune into the Bears On Tap podcast for further postgame game reaction plus updates and analysis throughout the week.