After a week three loss the Chicago Bears will officially turn the page and look forward to week four against the Detroit Lions. But before Chicago welcomes Detroit to Soldier Field for a divisional showdown, let’s look back at week 3.
1) First things first, let’s talk about first downs. The Bears had just six, which is the fewest of the Matt Nagy era. Not a good showing for a team that’s led by an offensive guru at head coach.
2) Some positives? The Bears pass rush duo of Khalil Mack and Robert Quinn got going, combining for 3.5 total sacks. Quinn now has more sacks in three games with the Bears than he did all of last season. Chicago is finally seeing the returns that the franchise hoped when signing Quinn to a five-year deal worth $70M in free agency in 2020.
3) “I obviously as a head coach did not do a good enough job of getting this offense ready to go, to be able to play and win a football game,” said Nagy after the game. “It starts with me, it ends with me and it’s as simple as that.”
Nagy’s quote is merely a head coach who’s taking the bullet while being open and honest. But there’s still a lot of work to be done. Everything does start and end with Nagy, which means he’ll need to cater gameplans to Justin Fields skillset, something that wasn’t done in week three.
For anyone who’s trying to get #FireNagy trending on Twitter, good luck. Bears ownership has been clear about how firings are handled. They’ll wait till the end of the season to make a decision on Nagy’s future. The Bears are also 1-2 so far, so Nagy has more room to breathe than most people think.
4) By the way, don’t blame Fields at all. For a rookie making his first start in an incredibly tough environment, Fields got no help from the Bears. If any quarterback deserves a pass for a bad performance this week, it’s Fields, who was sacked nine times, while continuing to remain composed and operating with what the Bears were giving him.
5) Figuring out what the Bears are doing with the offensive line is a tough task. Jason Peters and Germain Ifedi aren’t the tackles of the future, that distinction is reserved for Teven Jenkins and Larry Borom but this game showed that the interior of the offensive line (James Daniels, Cody Whitehair, and Sam Mustipher) needs to get better at communication too.
6) Tons of credit to defensive coordinator Sean Desai. After getting punched in the mouth on national television in week 1, Desai and the defense have adjusted nicely, putting together two solid performances. Desai may not have a talented secondary but the defense is looking better each week, a positive for the Bears.
7) No idea what the Bears are doing with the running game. After two strong performances, David Montgomery was shutdown on Sunday, with just 10 carries for 34 yards, averaging 3.4 yards per carry. That’s the lowest mark of Montgomery’s career since week 17 of the 2020 season. Matt Nagy panicked and got away from the running game way too early, something that’s also been an integral part of the offense when everything is clicking.
8) Jaylon Johnson wasn’t bad but he wasn’t great either. Tasked with shutting down Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the second-year cornerback had some bright moments, showing us all why he’s a rising star in the NFL and one of the most underrated players at his position across the league.
9) We’re all still waiting for the big Darnell Mooney breakout game to happen. After 61 receptions as a rookie, Mooney had just one reception for nine yards on Sunday. The fifth-round pick did have six receptions for 66 yards in week two but has yet to find the endzone this season. Hopefully that changes with the Lions coming to town next week.
10) Khalil Herbert has done some nice work as a kick returner on special teams. After averaging 23.8 yards per return on Sunday, the Bears need to get Herbert involved in the running game, hoping he can provide some sort of spark.
Looking Ahead to Week Four
The Lions may be 0-3 but there’s a catch: Two of Detroit’s three losses have been by a combined 11 points. Bears fans like to make fun of the Lions on social media but head coach Dan Campbell at least has this team playing hard when it matters the most.
Perhaps the strongest positional group on the Lions is the offensive line, which features two first-round picks in Penei Sewell and Frank Ragnow. Watching Detroit against Green Bay on Monday Night Football in week 2, it was clear that the Lions’ OL was good enough to allow quarterback Jared Goff to at least have a fighting chance on every play.
The Bears will need to account for the Lions running back duo, Jamall Williams and D’Andre Swift. Both have impacted games heavily as receivers this season, with the stat sheet on Sunday being a major example. Swift and Williams combined for nine receptions for 85 yards. Detroit may not have a star wide receiver on the roster but Williams and Swift have quickly become Goff’s best friends.