The Chicago Bears reverted back to their true form on Sunday. Following a Thanksgiving win against the Detroit Lions just 10 days prior, the Bears came back to Earth. It was a cold, windy, and rainy day at Soldier Field. Just like the weather, Matt Nagy and his team were awful against the Arizona Cardinals. As expected, the Bears lost to the Cardinals by a score of 33-22. After the loss, the Bears' record fell to 4-8.
Now, according to the graphics of various media outlets, the Bears are no longer "in the playoff hunt". But everyone knew that weeks ago. At 4-8, the Bears are the 14th seed in the NFC. They find themselves only ahead of the Seahawks (4-8) and the Lions (1-10-1). While they're only two games out of the final playoff spot, they have to leapfrog a handful of teams.
- 13th seed: Giants (4-8)
- 12th seed: Saints (5-7)
- 11th seed: Falcons (5-7)
- 10th seed: Panthers (5-7)
- 9th seed: Vikings (5-7)
- 8th seed: Eagles (6-7)
- 7th seed: 49ers (6-6)
Nevertheless, the Bears will wait until the end of the year before making changes. Five games remain between now and then following Sunday's clunker of a contest.
In the meantime, here are the main takeaways from the Bears' loss to the Cardinals.
Overall, the offense wasn't terrible. As a result, the Bears outperformed the Cardinals statistically. In total, they collected 329 yards (217 passing, 112 rushing). Throughout the course of the game, Chicago ran 71 total plays and averaged 4.6 yards per play. Likewise, the Bears averaged 4.9 yards per passing attempt on 44 dropbacks and 4.1 yards per rush on 27 attempts. In addition, they logged 26 total first downs.
The Bears controlled the clock with long, methodical drives on offense. Of their 10 offensive possessions, four of them spanned 10 or more plays.
- Second Drive: 10 plays, 55 yards (7:04)
- Third Drive: 13 plays, 77 yards (7:49)
- Sixth Drive: 13 plays, 73 yards (7:03)
- Ninth Drive: 12 plays, 75 yards (3:38)
All in all, Chicago won the time of possession by nearly 10 minutes.
- Bears: 34:45
- Cardinals: 25:15
Although the offense was pretty efficient, there were four turnovers. All of those giveaways hurt the team tremendously, but more on that later.
Red Zone Efficiency
The Bears' offense was successful on all three red-zone trips with each resulting in a touchdown against a defense that is not half bad. It was breath of fresh air seeing the offense function in the red zone and not settle for field goals.
Not only were the Bears good in the red zone, but they were awesome on fourth downs. Chicago converted all four of its fourth-down attempts.
The Bears committed six penalties for 45 yards, which included another illegal formation penalty. Because, of course. As a team, they have to be better when it comes to organization. But, again, look who their head coach is.
While Andy Dalton did a good job moving the ball down the field, he also logged four interceptions. However, one of them was not entirely his fault as Cole Kmet could not haul in a very catchable ball. On the flip side, Dalton tossed two touchdown passes.
The first was a one-yard strike to Jimmy Graham in the flat.
Then, a dangerous pass to Jakeem Grant worked out in Chicago's favor.
All in all, Dalton compiled the following stat line:
- Completions: 26
- Attempts: 41
- Completion %: 63.4
- Yards: 229
- Touchdowns: 2
- Interceptions: 4
- Sacks: 3
- Sack Yards Lost: 12
- QB Rating: 54.9
A reminder for Bears fans: the team is paying Andy Dalton $10 million for performances like this. This PSA also goes out to select media members who think Chicago would be a .500 team if Dalton had started every game.
The heart and soul of the offense continues to prove his worth. David Montgomery racked up 90 yards on 21 rushing attempts for an average of 4.3 yards per carry against Arizona. Oh, he added a touchdown as well.
Additionally, Montgomery led the team in receptions by adding eight catches for 51 yards on nine targets. In total, the third-year running back had 29 touches for 141 yards.
The Bears' defense had a tough time with the Cardinals' offense. However, the interceptions by Dalton put them in a precarious position having to defend a short field. The two early interceptions alone resulted in two Cardinals touchdowns. In the second half, two more interceptions gave the Cardinals another 10 points. As a result, the defense allowed 24 points off of Dalton's miscues. Only twice did the Cardinals have long, sustained drives. They scored both times, which accounts for the other nine points.
Statistically speaking, the Bears' defense looked decent. They held the Cardinals to only 51 plays and 257 total yards (121 passing, 137 rushing). Chicago also limited Arizona's offense to 14 first downs and a 50% conversion rate in the red zone.
In contrast, the eye test shows us otherwise. The Bears' defense had a rough go of it and only stopped the Cardinals three times, which resulted in two punts and a turnover on downs.
Kyler Murray put up 123 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-15 passing. He also logged 59 yards on the ground and two rushing touchdowns. Similarly, James Conner torched the Bears' defense in the running and passing game. It was a rather sloppy and uninspiring performance by the defense. Not only did they not have the horses on the field, but Sean Desai has been questionable as defensive coordinator since Week 6.
The 31-year old Quinn did not officially record a sack on Sunday. However, on the lone sack of Murray, Quinn was there to make the tackle. Still, Quinn logged three tackles, all solo, and two of them were for a loss.
Once again, Roquan Smith led the team in tackles. He is the defensive counterpart of David Montgomery -- the heart and soul of his unit. He played through a hamstring issue on a sloppy playing surface in the rain and balled out against Arizona.
- 8 tackles
- 4 solo
- 1 TFL
That stat line is quite impressive.
For all the grief Jackson gets for his tackling, he made a huge stop in the fourth quarter. After Dalton's third interception, James Conner ran for what seemed like a 10-yard touchdown. However, Jackson made a crucial tackle that stopped Conner short of the goal-line. After three big plays by the defense, the Cardinals settled for a field goal. That stand kept the Bears down only two scores as opposed to three if Conner had found the end zone. Kudos to Jackson.
It was brutal. Obviously, there was re-sodding done down the length of the field between the hash marks. That caused players to slip and the turf to rip up at the seams. This has been a long-standing issue at Soldier Field. Despite the Bears and Chicago butting heads, the two sides should be in agreement that the playing surface is a problem in need of resolution.
Who really cares? He stinks at his job. Wash, rinse, repeat. Of course, the writing is on the wall. On January 10, 2022, Nagy is very likely to no longer be the head coach of the Chicago Bears. It's just a matter of five weeks.
Last week, the Bears ended a five-game losing streak. This week, they started a new one.
The Bears lost to the Cardinals as expected. Now, at 4-8, their playoff hopes are dwindling even faster. The Bears are a bottom-three team in the NFC and have been for a few weeks. So, there wasn't much merit behind those "playoff hopes" anyway.
Currently, the Bears' first-round pick would be sixth overall. However, it belongs to the New York Giants as a result of the trade-up for Justin Fields.
All Bears fans can ask for is this miserable season to come to an end and changes to take place. And they will, but leadership's ability to make the correct decisions is highly questionable at best.
What's On Tap Next?
Week 14 brings about a primetime game against the Green Bay Packers. The Bears will make the trek up north to Lambeau Field to square off against their long-time rivals for a Sunday Night Football showdown on December 12. The game kicks off at 7:20 PM CST and NBC will handle the broadcast.
As for the opponent, Green Bay is coming off of a bye week with a 9-3 record. Despite his broken toe, Aaron Rodgers leads the charge for the Packers with an arsenal of offensive weapons including Davante Adams, Aaron Jones, and AJ Dillon. Likewise, Green Bay's defense has been playing fairly well despite not having Jaire Alexander and a few others.
This looks to be a lopsided game in favor of the Packers, but stranger things have happened before. The Bears will hope Justin Fields (ribs) is ready to go, which would make the game a little more palatable.
"Any given Sunday."
Be sure to tune into the Bears On Tap podcast for further postgame reaction plus updates and analysis throughout the week.