Chicago Bears: Week 4 wrap up, quick takeaways, and week 5 preview

justin field, bears

After winning at home in week 4, the Chicago Bears improve to 2-2 on the season with solid performances from rookie quarterback Justin Fields, running back David Montgomery, wide receiver Darnell Mooney, and the Bears defense. Let’s look back at week 4.

1) Head coach Matt Nagy admitted after the game that offensive coordinator Bill Lazor was calling plays. Guess what? Lazor calling plays should be part of the Bears gameplan moving forward. The Bears were efficient on offense, running and passing the ball effectively, being a threat to score on every single play.

2) Fields deep ball was a thing of beauty. A quarterback capable of hitting any throw, Fields connected with wide receiver Darnell Mooney for a 32-yard gain down the sideline with just 10:54 remaining in the third quarterback. The two also connected three times on the Bears first drive for 29 yards. Fields excels at hitting the deep ball and the Bears need to get more explosive on offense, so expect to see more of the Fields-Mooney connection as the season progresses.

3) Shoutout to running backs David Montgomery and Damien Williams. The two combined for 31 carries, 161 yards, and three touchdowns. Montgomery did injure his knee and as we await the results of a scheduled MRI, should the 2019 third-round pick end up missing time, the Bears will turn to rookie running back Khalil Herbert to complement Williams.

4) The Robert Quinn revenge tour continues. Despite being 31-years old, Quinn had five tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss, and two quarterback hits. With 4.5 sacks on the season, Quinn has upgraded the Bears pass rush this season, justifying the five-year, $70M contract the Bears dished out to Quinn in free agency during the 2020 offseason.

5) Can we talk about the sneaky good game that inside linebacker Alec Ogletree had? A late training camp addition, Ogletree has quickly emerged as a solid piece for the Bears defense and totaled 12 tackles and one tackle for loss on Sunday. The veteran is making a strong case for keeping the starting ILB job once Danny Trevathan returns.

6) The Bears did struggle on third down, going just 1-for-8. But as Nagy mentioned in his postgame presser, the Bears did avoid multiple third-and-long situations, which should be considered a step in the right direction. Chicago’s offense is still a work in progress and the Bears can’t afford to make many mistakes, so going 1-for-8 is still better than what the Bears have done in the past.

7) Justin Fields needs to get better at protecting the football. His first and only fumble of the afternoon came in the second half but this is the second time at home this season that Fields has lost a fumble. The 11th overall pick lost one against the Cincinnait Bengals in week 2 but recovered it to save the Bears offense.

8) Chicago averaged 6.5 yards per play on Sunday, the most yards per play Chicago has averaged this season and the highest since week 14 of the 2020 season, when the Bears averaged 6.9 yards per play against the Houston Texans at home in a 36-7 win.

9) Fields credited the Bears offensive line on four different occasions during his postgame press conference and Chicago’s front five rightfully earned it. The offensive line allowed just one sack all afternoon, compared to week three, where the entire unit allowed nine sacks.

10) The Bears were better in the redzone too, scoring on three occasions with four total redzone trips. The field gets harder to defend when a defense is back up against the ball and the Bears took advantage with smart playcalling, running the ball every time Chicago converted.

 

What about week five?

Week 5 is sure to be interesting. The Bears will travel to Las Vegas to take on the Raiders, with this being the second time both team’s have met since 2019. It’s another Khalil Mack revenge game, considering the Raiders got the best of Mack in 2019 during the last matchup in London.

Bears fans like to make fun of Raiders head coach Jon Gruden for trading Mack back in 2018 but Gruden also has the Raiders offense averaging 30.0 points per game. The Bears secondary will be tested in this game. Quarterback Derek Carr has passed for 435, 382, and 386 yards in three games this season.

The Bears will need to account for the Raiders skill position players, including tight end Darren Waller, wide receiver Henry Ruggs, and running back Josh Jacobs, who is listed as questionable for Monday Night Football against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Chicago does enter another must-win game. Win in Las Vegas and Fields, who could start for the third straight week will enter week 6 against the Green Bay Packers at home with a major boost in confidence. The Bears will have a chance to get to 3-2 before having to play Green Bay and then travel to Tampa Bay in week 7 to take on the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers.

 

The New York Giants have something special in Kadarius Toney and it’s time to unleash him

new york giants, kadarius toney

The New York Giants snuck out of victory against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon, marking their first win of the season. After starting the year 0-3, the Giants’ offense enjoyed signs of life, as quarterback Daniel Jones threw for 402 yards and two touchdowns.

Long receptions to John Ross and Saquon Barkley resulted in scores from Jones, both of which were over 50 yards downfield. Coordinator Jason Garrett finally opened up the playbook and created more explosive plays against a top-rated New Orleans Saints defense.

However, despite losing Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton for the game, the Giants still managed to score 27 points, thanks to the performances of WR1 Kenny Golladay and rookie Kadarius Tony.

The two receivers combined for 194 yards and 12 catches, as this was Toney’s most active game after struggling to make an impact to open the year. His quick-twitch abilities and agility were on display, as he hauled in six receptions for 78 yards, including a long of 21. However, he made a number of important grabs, including several first downs, one of which was a 3rd-and-18 screen pass he maneuvered his way around.

It is clear that Toney is capable of being an elite playmaker, but the Giants must continue to build and design plays around extracting his talent. During his senior year with Florida, Toney posted a 35% forced missed tackle rate, the highest of any pass-catcher in college. Those attributes are clearly translating to the professional level, as he sent linebacker Demario Davis flying on multiple occasions, using his stop-and-go abilities.

It is time for Garrett and the offense to fully unleash Kadarius, as his route running has developed nicely this off-season, and getting him in space spells trouble for any defense. With a tough game in Arlington next week against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants will need all of their star playmakers, and Toney must be included in the game plan. Garrett is known for changing the strategy on a weekly basis, but this is a player he cannot leave out given his tremendous impact in the Week 4 win.

New York Rangers news and notes: Final roster remains undecided

The New York Rangers training camp is entering its last week and head coach Gerard Gallant still has some tough decisions to make to get his roster to 23 players.

The New York Rangers split their two games this weekend.  On Friday night the team was embarrassed in a 7-1 loss in New Jersey against the Devils. The Blueshirts rebounded the following night in Boston as they won that contest 4-3 in overtime.

The coaching staff along with general manager Chris Drury has been hard at work putting the pieces together they feel will bring the best results when the season begins in just 10 days.

Roster Moves

Prior to Friday’s game against the Devils, the club announced that following being placed on waivers Anthony Greco, Jonny Brodzinski, Ty Ronning, Tim Gettinger, Anthony Bitetto, and Keith Kinkaid to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL).

Sunday saw more moves as the Rangers begin to see how their team will look for the final two preseason games this week.

The team cut its training camp roster down to 27 players as Will Cuylle has been assigned to his junior team, the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), and Matthew Robertson, Braden Schneider, Lauri Pajuniemi, Tyler Wall, and Adam Huska have been assigned to the Hartford Wolf Pack of the American Hockey League (AHL).

The Rangers have 27 players remaining in Training Camp. The roster breakdown is listed below:

FORWARDS (16)

10 – Artemi Panarin
13 РAlexis Lafreni̬re
14 – Greg McKegg
15 – Julien Gauthier
16 – Ryan Strome
17 – Kevin Rooney
20 – Chris Kreider
21 – Barclay Goodrow
24 – Kaapo Kakko
29 – Dryden Hunt
47 – Morgan Barron
72 – Filip Chytil
74 – Vitali Kravtsov
75 – Ryan Reaves
91 – Sammy Blais
93 – Mika Zibanejad

DEFENSEMEN (9)

5 – Jarred Tinordi
6 – Zac Jones
8 – Jacob Trouba
12 – Patrik Nemeth
23 – Adam Fox
25 – Libor Hajek
55 – Ryan Lindgren
64 – Nils Lundkvist
79 – K’Andre Miller

GOALTENDERS (2)

31 – Igor Shesterkin
40 – Alexandar Georgiev

Upcoming Games

On Wednesday the Rangers will host the Devils at the Garden with a 7 p.m. faceoff. The preseason schedule concludes in Bridgeport, CT. where the team will play the Islanders.

Head coach Gallant still has not announced who the third defensive pairing will be or who the extra roster players will be once the season starts.  That should become clearer this week as the Blueshirts work out the kinks and fine-tune the team to be ready for opening night on Oct.13 in Washington.