The Chicago Bears' losing streak continues. The once 5-1 team has now fallen to 5-5 after their 19–13 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.
While their season is hanging in the balance, their playoff hopes are definitely on life support. Leave it to the Bears to let Kirk Cousins and his 0-9 record on MNF off the hook and be thoroughly humiliated by the Vikings' atrocious defense.
Bears fans are absolutely sick to their stomachs right now and rightfully so. What was once an ugly, yet promising start has quickly unraveled into a slew of dysfunction and incompetence.
Reliving the horrid parts of the Bears' performance definitely won't make any fans feel better, but there is some good in it. Don't worry, you're not alone.
Here are some of the main observations from the Week 10 garbage fire under the bright lights.
Raise your hand if you've heard this name before.
To no surprise, Roquan Smith is turning out to be exactly what the Bears hoped he would be and more as a first-round pick. He put together a solid showing as a rookie in 2018 before experiencing an up-and-down 2019 campaign. However, in 2020, he's truly played like a man on a mission.
He's passing the eye test with flying colors. Whenever a play is made, Smith is seen popping out of the dog pile or is in/around the point of contact. Smith's stat sheet reflected that as well for this game:
- 14 total tackles
- 8 solo
- 3 tackles for loss
- 1 sack (only sack of the night for the Bears)
- 1 QB hit
Therefore, it's safe to assume that Roquan Smith is the future of this defense and a draft hit by Ryan Pace.
Bears fans saw shades of 2018 Khalil Mack in this game. While Mack didn't log any sacks, he made a huge play by picking off a Kirk Cousins pass and rumbling 33 yards to put the Bears in scoring position.
Consequently, that play woke up the beast within him, and he was dominant from that point forward. Mack even took down the Vikings' right tackle with one arm a few plays later.
While Patterson didn't stand out on offense with his 49 all-purpose yards -- 30 rushing yards, 19 receiving yards -- he made one of the biggest plays of the game.
Patterson returned the opening kickoff of the second half 104 yards to the house against his former team. That score happened to be the Bears' only touchdown on the night.
First off... Happy Birthday, Akiem Hicks! The man in the middle turned 31 years old yesterday.
Furthermore, not enough can be said about him on the field. His presence in the middle of the defensive line is so critical. Hicks' role in stopping the run is so integral, and this game proved just that.
Unfortunately, Hicks left the game with a hamstring injury with 2:46 left in the third quarter.
Up until that point, Dalvin Cook logged only 39 yards on 19 carries, good for 2.1 yards per attempt. Following Hicks' injury, Cook popped off for 57 yards on 11 carries, averaging 5.2 yards per attempt.
Many look at Eddie Jackson, Roquan Smith, Khalil Mack, or even Kyle Fuller as the studs on defense. However, the 31-year-old big man is the true star of the defense and is often overlooked. It's time he gets his due.
Defense: As a Whole
Monday night's game did not feature the best effort the defense has put forward. However, it's hard to really place any blame on the unit, as they have been carrying the team for the past three years. Furthermore, allowing 385 total yards (286 passing yards, 99 rushing yards) isn't nearly as bad as it looks.
They stifled Dalvin Cook for most of the game and contained him to 96 yards on 30 carries. Most of the crucial production came after Hicks' injury, as previously alluded to. The real back-breaker was allowing the Vikings to covert eight of 15 third-down opportunities. Nevertheless, holding an opponent to 19 points is more than enough to get it down in today's high-scoring NFL, or at least should be.
Consistency is the name of the game. Since Santos took over the kicking job, he has provided the Bears with much-needed reliability. He was perfect yet again in the kicking game, going 2/2 on field goals and 1/1 on extra points.
On the season, Santos is 17/19 (89.5%) kicking field goals and has converted all 18 extra points.
Two field goals and a return for a touchdown is a strong showing from a special teams unit. They provided all 13 of the Bears' points. Outside of a muffed punt by Dwayne Harris, they were truly special in this game. Anthony Miller even stepped up and contributed in the punt return game. Thus, special teams turned out to be a pleasant surprise on Monday night.
Um, yeah... what was that performance? During the past few weeks, Skrine has been getting burned often. Skrine has now allowed three touchdowns in the last two games. Two touchdowns occurred in this game alone, both to Adam Thielen. To make matters worse, it's been an issue of simply not turning his head and playing the ball instead of playing the receiver. He has been a weak spot of late.
Here is the first touchdown:
All Skrine had to do was turn his head and play the ball. Egregious.
The Chicago Bears were penalized only once for five yards. Danny Trevathan was called for a neutral zone infraction on the third play of the game. That was it. Hence, it was a pretty clean game by the Bears in that regard.
There is little hope left for the offense. They’re absolutely dreadful with no signs of life. Matt Nagy has done almost everything in his power to fix the offense. New coaches, a new quarterback, new players, but nothing is helping... at all. As a result, the stubborn head coach/play-caller gave up the play-calling duties to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
Initially, the change in play-caller looked like it made somewhat of a difference. There was a bit of rhythm and flow early on, as the Bears were moving the ball comparably better than they have most of the season. However, they were still leaving points off the board. Ultimately, the offense completely fell apart in the second half and reverted back to their original form.
The Bears finished the game with 149 total yards -- 108 through the air and 41 on the ground. If that doesn't blow your mind, this nugget probably will: the Bears mustered up just 32 total yards of offense in the second half (1.4 yards per play).
Additionally, the Bears once against didn't score an offensive point in the third quarter.
Bears fans, it's worse than that.
What’s even more terrifying to think about is the fact they were 2 for 11 on third downs.
This offense is broken with no clear fix in sight. The quarterback play, the offensive line, the play-calling, the game plan, the scheme, and the overall execution are all bad.
This offensive line has allowed the third-most QB hits (74) this season, which is tied with the Bengals, Seahawks, and 49ers. The only teams with more QB hits allowed are the Giants (77) and Eagles (88).
The injury bug bit the Bears yet again on Monday night. This time it claimed Akiem Hicks (hamstring) and Nick Foles (leg/hip).
The Bears will have a much-needed bye week before returning to action against the Packers during the final weekend of November, so hopefully the time off can aid in the recovery of their injured players.
The Chicago Bears continue to suck the joy out of watching football in Chicago. Watching them play this brand of football in 2020 is not only confusing but disheartening. The team continues to rely on the defense as a crutch and the offense will not leave mediocrity behind. Wash, rinse, repeat. It's the same old Bears -- a team that fans have grown used to but not the one that they deserve.
What's On Tap Next?
In short, nothing. It's a bye week. Therefore, the Bears don't play so they can neither claim victory nor defeat. Give your hearts and minds a break. We all need a little rest from the season thus far.
Be sure to tune in to the Bears On Tap podcast for postgame reactions, updates, analysis throughout the week, and discussions on a variety of other Bears-related topics.