Grading the Bears: Is 3-7 Progress? – Bear Maven


The bad thing about the Bears defense caving in at game’s end after a stellar performance most of the day was only the way it dispersed some of the blame for a 16-13 loss.

Most of those boos being rained down on the Bears at game’s end as they headed to the locker room would have been intended only for Matt Nagy and the coaching staff but some had to be going for yet another defensive disaster, as well.

The defense definitely deserved a few thumbs down for wasting a career-high 3 1/2-sack day by Robert Quinn and six sacks overall,  by  pairing it with some of the worst pass defense they’ve produced this season.

Losing to a backup quarterback who had never started and found out only 90 minutes prior to the game he would was just one more feather in the cap of this coaching staff.

Ah but there were others.

Their dossier Sunday even included every fan’s favorite, the presnap penalty coming out of a timeout, as Jason Peters got hit with a false start. The defense was penalized for too many men on the field, a penalty defensive coordinator Sean Desai had said was entirely a “coaching” matter.

Penalties don’t even begin to approach the strategic blunders. It almost seemed at times the Bears were being coached by Inspector Clouseau.

A timeout squandered here because they didn’t have their two-point conversion decision made ahead of time after the go-ahead touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin, a timeout squandered there when they didn’t have the right players on the field and were dilly-dallying about going for a first down near midfield or punting. Then they chose to go for it in a dangerous situation while protecting a one-point lead, with the Ravens in possession of the greatest kicker of all time.

Ever hear of field position?

What a time to be aggressive. What a time to waste a timeout.

And of course you know those wasted timeouts loomed awfully large late in the game, especially when the Bears had the ball with 22 seconds remaining trying for a tying field goal.

Even dependable Cairo Santos looked the buffoon in this one by missing a routine 40-yard field goal all while Tucker was nailing three kicks in a game where points came at a premium.

Here is the report card from a day of comedic tragedy at Soldier Field.

Running Attack: C+

Considering they were up against a blitzing defense ranked fourth against the run, the 92 yards rushing on 20 carries looked average enough. It was just a cut below what the Bears have shown they are capable of, and their use of the running game was curtailed by penalties or other blunders.

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Passing Attack: C

The 280 yards passing normally would have been enough to cause a Club Dub, but it was largely inefficient as they completed only 15 of 34. Andy Dalton did look sharp after being away from play for so long. It was the receiver corps suffering through problems, as Darnell Mooney dropped a couple of passes while still catching five for 121 yards. The Bears actually had two 100-yard receivers as Marquise Goodwin had four receptions for 104 yards. Too many sacks or pressure on the QBs and some errant throws by Justin Fields and dalton made for a mediocre day through the air.

Run Defense: C

They allowed 40 yards rushing to Tyler Huntley, who wasn’t especially known as a dangerous runnign threat. Not all of those yards came on scrambles, as he also had some planned runs. The defensive interior won some battles and lost some, but allowed 89 yards on 23 carries to the two top Baltimore backs and 123 yards rushing overall. That was a bit better than they’ve played lately and Roquan Smith had an incredible day with 17 tackles including two for loss. Ultimately it was insufficient for a win.

Pass Defense: D-

The secondary played so poorly at crunch time they rendered everything else done on the day inconsequential. Kindle Vildor can’t get beat for a 29-yard pass to Sammy Watkins at the 3-yard line. He just can’t, but it keeps happening week after week. The worst part of all this is it came against a quarterback who hadn’t started an NFL game. The outstanding pass rush kept this from being a failed grade, from Robert Quinn and his 3 1/2 sacks to Trevis Gipson, they had heat on all day. Vildor even had a sack, proving at least if he couldn’t defend the throw he could keep it from coming off.

Special Teams: F

Cairo Santos’ 40-yard miss made the difference in the game. The Bears dodged one bullet with Tashaun Gipson’s interception in the red zone, but special teams returned the favor by getting a Pat O’Donnell punt blocked at the worst possible time, giving back field position for a 46-yard Justin Tucker field goal. Tucker didn’t miss his attempt.

Coaching: F

The fourth-down gamble at midfield was called being “aggressive” but it was more fool-hardy than aggressive. The ball was at their own 49 with the other team down one point and possessing the game’s best kicker, probably in history. The defense had been playing well to that point so there was no need for a gamble that failed with what was a terrible play call. The wildcat run by David Montgomery got stuffed. The play removes a potential pass threat at quarterback and it let Baltimore gang up on the line of scrimmage. How telling was it that they scored on two play calls with Dalton in the game that they almost never run when Fields is playing? Maybe he’d like to throw the wide receiver screen and to Jimmy Graham?

Overall: D

If the Bears had simply lost then this would have been an easy defeat to accept. Squandering opportunities and committing horrible blunders makes it apparent things have gone awry. There will be a lot of people pulling for the Lions to end their winless streak on Thanksgiving and some might even be in Chicago.

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