Chicago Bears: Losing streak ends in Turkey Day snoozefest

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Detroit, MI– For the first time since October 10th, the Chicago Bears have won a football game. In what was a Thanksgiving Day snoozefest in Detroit, the Bears defeated the Detroit Lions 16-14 on the heels of an 18-play, 69-yard drive that lasted 8:30. The Bears are ready to head home and enjoy Thanksgiving after a tumultuous week that included reports saying week 12 would be head coach Matt Nagy’s final game with the Bears.

Key contributors throughout the afternoon included veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, wide receiver Darnell Mooney, tight end Cole Kmet, cornerback Jaylon Johnson, and pass rusher Robert Quinn, all of whom made an impact at various points in the game.

Lions QB Jared Goff, who made his first start since week 10 went 21-for-25, throwing two passing touchdowns to wide receiver Josh Reynolds and tight end T.J. Hockenson. Despite the Lions striking first, the Bears would score 13 unanswered points in the second quarter, taking a six-point lead at halftime.

From there, the third quarter would be all about the Lions, who rattled off a seven-play, 79-yard drive in just over three minutes as Goff connected with Hockenson for the score. But the Bears would remain in the game, fighting, with the defense continuing to give the offense a chance.

The key moments that defined the Bears’ victory on Thursday afternoon all came on the game’s final possession. Back-to-back timeouts at 1:54 by the Lions have the Bears free yards, and then just two plays later, the Lions would burn their final timeout, giving the Bears an opportunity to run the clock down to just one second remaining in the fourth quarter before Kicker Cairo Santos would hit a game-winning 28-yard field goal.

For the Bears, snapping a five-game losing streak is a positive as are Dalton’s 317 passing yards and one touchdown. Chicago now has just about 10 days to prepare for the Arizona Cardinals, who will be visiting Soldier Field on Sunday, December 5th.

Chicago Bears: Week 11 takeaways, quick tidbits, and more

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Currently, in the middle of a five-game losing streak, the Chicago Bears now look ahead to week 12 for a Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Detroit Lions. But first, let’s recap week 11.

1) There are two players of the game in this one, both on defense. Robert Quinn and Roquan Smith kept the Bears in this one, especially with the defense missing Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, and Eddie Jackson. Props to Quinn for turning in such a monstrous performance with 3.5 sacks, five tackles, three TFL, and four QB hits. Smith had 17 tackles on the afternoon, the most by a Bears linebacker since 2009.

2) Regarding Justin Fields, who has bruised ribs, the Bears have a decision to make. If it were in Fields hands, he’d be dressing up on Thursday afternoon against the Lions. Ultimately, with seven games remaining, the Bears should play it safe with Fields and sit him in a meaningless game. Give the future of the franchise a little over 10 days to get right before the Arizona Cardinals come to town on December 5th. It’s better for the Bears to have Fields healthy for the final six games of the season, a stretch that includes playing the Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, New York Giants, and Minnesota Vikings (twice).

3) The Bears got away from the running game early in this one and it showed. Khalil Herbert had just one carry for zero yards while David Montgomery had 14 carries for 58 yards, averaging 4.1 yards per carry. Keeping the ball out of the Ravens’ hand should’ve been a goal of the Bears but Chicago failed to do so consistently throughout the afternoon. The Bears coaching staff needs to realize that neither Fields nor Andy Dalton can fully the offense, which means knowing your limitations of what skill position players can and can’t do is vital when it comes to offensive philosophy.

4) At times, it may not have looked like it but wide receiver Darnell Mooney had a game. Mooney’s quickly establishing a reputation as a big-play threat in the Bears offense. With five receptions for 121 receiving yards, averaging 24.2 yards per reception, the second-year wide receiver made his presence felt all afternoon, especially on a 60-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Andy Dalton.

5) This was what you could consider the Marquise Goodwin breakout game. Goodwin added to the Bears’ explosiveness on offense, with four receptions for 104 yards, including a 49-yard touchdown pass to give the Bears the lead late in the fourth quarter. This game needs to serve as an example of how the Bears can continue to utilize Goodwin moving forward.

6) The Bears struggled to execute consistently but another issue is playing good situational football. Matt Nagy needs to understand the Bears aren’t getting the job done right now and much of it is due to coaches being able to react in situations. An example of this is when the Bears burned a timeout with 1:41 left to go in the fourth quarter after failing to convert a two-point conversion.

7) The Bears also struggled to get off the field on third down in this game. Baltimore was 7-for-16 on Sunday afternoon, with the game’s biggest play coming on a 3rd-and-12 where Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley hit wide receiver Sammy Watkins for a 29-yard gain with just 0:33 left in the fourth quarter. The Bears defense has struggled to consistently get off the field on third down this season and it’s only going to get harder over the final seven weeks of the season with Mack being out.

8) Speaking of giving up a big gain on 3rd-and-12, guess what? The Bears’ secondary isn’t very good without Eddie Jackson but Jaylon Johnson had a nice showing. Second-year CB Kindle Vildor got rocked all afternoon while Deon Bush and DeAndre Houston-Carson were beaten as a result of miscommunication. The entire unit needs an overhaul in 2021 with just Jackson and Johnson guaranteed to start.

9) What does this loss mean for the Bears? Well, Chicago’s final seven games are against NFC North opponents. But understand the Bears were on the outside looking playoff-wise heading into week 11. This latest loss digs the Bears even deeper into a hole that’s getting harder to get out of.

10) For the rest of the season, nothing matters for the Bears except seeing what sticks on the wall for 2022 and beyond. Essentially, for the Bears, 2022 has already started despite 2021 not being over yet. The Bears’ future is already on the roster in Fields but the front office needs to figure out who’s staying in 2022 in an effort to build around Fields. That means taking a hard look at players and more importantly coaches.

Chicago Bears: Matt Nagy’s message not being received

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CHICAGO–After a fifth straight loss, the Chicago Bears appear to be in no man’s land. A Bears team that was above .500 just six weeks ago is now reeling and out of the NFC playoff picture, on the outside looking in. After Sunday’s loss, head coach Matt Nagy had one simple message for his team.

“You just keep fighting,” Nagy said. “You keep believing in each other, and you keep it real simple and you never stop fighting, that’s all you can do.”

Listening to Nagy’s message, there isn’t a lot to takeaway. The Bears had their bright moments on Sunday afternoon but never really showed up to play consistently at a high level on both sides of the ball. At the end of the day, the only silver lining was that Roquan Smith, Jaylon Johnson, Robert Quinn, and Trevis Gipson has strong performances on defense. On offense, with the Bears being forced to switch to veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, the offense struggled to find any sort of consistency.

“I just understand in the end we all care a lot and we’re all in this thing,” Nagy said after the game. “Of course, we want to do everything we can to win so that’s our job to do that. I think that everyone is competitive and wants to see the Bears win and that’s exactly what we want.”

Over the last three seasons, a prime justification for keeping Nagy as head coach is his ability to be a players coach. 10 games into the 2021 campaign and it’s clear Nagy appears to be losing the locker room.

In Chicago, as the weather gets colder and the days get darker, the winds of change need to set upon the lakefront. Messages continue to fall on deaf ears and Nagy continues to beat a dead horse, signaling that a new face needs to be sitting in the head coaches office at Halas Hall when the calendar turns to January 2022 for the Bears.

Chicago Bears: Losing streak now at five games after latest loss

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What seemed to be a relatively competitive game for the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon got away very quickly in the fourth quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Soldier Field. After failing to score on the first six possessions, the Bears finally managed to get on the board after wide receiver Darnell Mooney scored a 60-yard touchdown with just 8:12 remaining in the third quarter.

With rookie quarterback Justin Fields leaving the game due to an injury and then being ruled out, the Bears were forced to turn to veteran Andy Dalton, who tossed two second-half touchdowns, including a 49-yard pass touchdown to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin on 4th-and-11.

Veteran pass rusher Robert Quinn, who is in the second year of a five-year $70M contract signed in 2020 made an impact all afternoon. With Khalil Mack sidelined for the remainder of the year due to a foot injury, Quinn totaled five tackles, 3.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, and four quarterback hits, making his presence felt from the beginning.

Currently, in the middle of a five-game losing streak, the Bears’ final seven opponents will be against NFC teams. However, this latest loss to the Ravens stings merely because Chicago seemed to be in the game until the very final possession when Ravens quarterback Tyler Huntley connected with wide receiver Sammy Watkins for a 29-yard gain with just 33 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. From there, running back Devonta Freeman scored a three-yard rushing touchdown to give Baltimore the lead.

Despite being shorthanded with no Allen Robinson, Eddie Jackson, or Akiem Hicks, the Bears did all a three-win team could to try and stay competitive but ultimately, a missed field goal in the first half by kicker Cairo Santos and an inability to execute in key situations made the difference in the Bears latest loss. With the Bears scheduled to play in Detroit on Thanksgiving Day, the opportunity to snap a five-game losing streak presents itself.

Chicago Bears: How can the Bears win in week 11?

Currently in the middle of a four-game losing streak, the second half of the Chicago Bears season will begin on Sunday afternoon when the Baltimore Ravens come to town. The Bears, who have won two straight games against Baltimore dating back to 2013 will have another opportunity to get in the win column.

On paper and on the field, the Ravens are just as good as advertised. Led by MVP candidate Lamar Jackson, the offense features a number of weapons, including wide receiver Marquise Brown and tight end Mark Andrews. On defense, Baltimore is one of the most talented in the NFL, a unit that features defensive lineman Calais Campbell, Justin Madubuike, LB Patrick Queen, and defensive backs Marlon Humphrey, Jimmy Smith, and Anthony Averett.

To slow the Ravens down, the Bears will need to slow Jackson down. That means consistently blitzing Jackson while also having a linebacker spy him at all times. The Bears could be forced to turn to reinforcements, as Akiem Hicks, Khalil Mack, and Eddie Jackson did not practice on Wednesday due to injuries. However, luckily for the Bears, Baltimore is coming off a loss to the Miami Dolphins, with a template for how to slow down Jackson and the Ravens offense.

“Give them different looks and get pressure, said CB Jaylon Johnson via the Bears official YouTube Channel. “I thought they did that pretty much all game was sending constant pressure making the ball come out high, making them really go through their route progression. I mean it’s kind of hard to do that when you got six and seven people coming so I mean it, really they just I mean had a good game plan the Ravens didn’t adjust.”

What’s noteworthy is the Bears haven’t won a game out of the bye week dating back to at least 2013. Being 0-3 under head coach Matt Nagy doesn’t bode well either for a HC who’s fighting for his job at this point. The Bears will need to complement the defense’s game plan by being able to consistently move the ball efficiently on offense in order to have a chance on Sunday afternoon.

Chicago Bears: Wednesday injury report a major concern

On Wednesday afternoon, the Chicago Bears released their first injury report in nearly two weeks ahead of Sunday’s home matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. For a team that’s currently in the middle of a four-game losing streak, the Bears’ first injury report of the week wasn’t encouraging, with key starters on both offense and defense being injured.

Heading into a crucial matchup against the Ravens, the following Bears starters are injured: Akiem Hicks (ankle), Khalil Mack (foot), Eddie Jackson (hamstring), Allen Robinson (hamstring), Danny Trevathan (knee), Darnell Mooney (foot), and Alec Ogletree (ankle).

Of the names listed above, only Mooney and Ogletree were limited in practice on Wednesday, while the rest of the names were listed as did not practice. Looking at Hicks, Mack, and Jackson, the Bears’ defense would be short-handed on all three levels. Mack provides a stable presence as a pass rusher and tone-setter, while Jackson has covered up many holes in the Bears secondary throughout 2021.

The injuries to Mooney and Robinson are concerning for the development of rookie quarterback Justin Fields. While the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft has continued to develop chemistry with both wide receivers, Mooney’s connection with Fields is more important. As Fields continues to develop, Mooney is currently the only WR slated to be on the roster in 2022, with Robinson set to hit free agency in the upcoming offseason.

Other injuries to monitor include running back Damien Williams (knee), tight end J.P. Holtz (concussion), and kicker Cairo Santos (elbow). While Williams, was limited in practice on Wednesday, Holtz and Santos were full participants. This means it’s more than likely both Santos and Holtz will be ready to go in Sunday’s contest against the Ravens. Chicago could merely be precautionary and choose not to have Williams dress, especially with the emergence of rookie running back Khalil Herbert, who has burst onto the scene in 2021.

The Bears will release two final injury reports on Thursday and Friday ahead of Sunday morning when the inactives list will be announced just over an hour before kickoff.

For Teven Jenkins, 2021 is now an evaluation process

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On Monday morning, as the Chicago Bears returned to Halas Hall, head coach Matt Nagy announced the team would be activating the 21-day window for offensive tackle Teven Jenkins to return to practice. Jenkins, who’s been sidelined since training camp due to back surgery was the 39th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

After spending fours at Oklahoma State as a key piece of the Cowboys’ offensive line, the Bears traded up 13 spots to nab Jenkins and solidify the left side of the offensive line. As Jenkins gets ready to return to practice, the Bears will take a number of precautions, including easing Jenkins back into practice.

With eight games left in the 2021 season, the Bears’ best hope is Jenkins gets enough playing time to get acclimated to the NFL game, including understanding how to handle bigger, stronger, and faster defensive lineman.

“We’ll have to really get him in here and see where he’s at,” said Bears head coach Matt Nagy on Monday morning. “It’s been a while since Teven’s put the pads on so we’ll start there but that’ll be exciting for us to see.”

The goal for the Bears is simple: See what Jenkins can and can’t do. After spending his final college season as a right tackle, the Bears opted to move Jenkins to the left side of the offensive line, hoping his size and strength would make him an ideal pass blocker to protect rookie quarterback Justin Fields.

“Where he’s at, I know he’s really anxious and excited to get out there,” Nagy said. “As far as the sides, that stuff that we’ll work through with him but it’s always a positive when you have somebody especially when you draft a guy like we did early in the draft and for him to be able to do what he has to do now to get back to this point.”

After overhauling the offensive line during the offseason, Jenkins’ return to action comes at a time when the Bears need an additional boost. Currently, in the middle of a four-game losing streak, Fields has played well enough to keep the Bears in the last two games but the offensive line hasn’t been a major difference-maker. With Jenkins’ addition, maybe that can change.

Could Matt Nagy return in 2022 for the Chicago Bears?

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The hot seat is a conversation that nobody wants to have in the NFL. Nothing is different for Matt Nagy and the Chicago Bears, who currently sit in the middle of a four-game losing streak, having lost the last two games by a total of 13 points.

Much has been made of Nagy’s future with the Bears. Some believe the fourth-year head coach is on his way of Chicago while others see Nagy’s investment in Fields as guaranteed job security in 2022.

Bears ownership doesn’t seem to be overly thrilled that Nagy is likely heading towards another mediocre season however, Fields progression between weeks eight and nine cannot be denied and if Fields continues to progress, Nagy could return in 2022 with a clean slate.

With just three wins heading into week 10, the Bears front office has plenty of time to evaluate whether or not Nagy can rightfully be the guy to lead the Bears in 2022. Fields promising returns likely means the McCaskey family will likely wait until the very end of the season to move on from Nagy.

The Bears’ expectations for 2021 also changed once Fields was drafted. Expectations went from making the playoffs and having a winning season to ensuring Fields would develop properly.

What clouds Nagy’s future with the Bears, even more, is that it’s hard to judge who’s really behind Fields development. Is the so-called plan that Nagy referenced throughout training camp the reason Fields is developing? Or did a change in playcaller from Nagy to offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, lead to a more QB-friendly system for Fields, who excels under center and in the play-action game.

What happens over the next eight weeks will be worth monitoring. The Bears are on the outside looking in when it comes to making the playoffs, however, even if Fields continues playing at a high level, ownership could look at 2021 as a positive, giving Nagy one final chance in 2022.

Chicago Bears: Week 7 takeaways with Usayd Koshul

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After a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in week 7, it’s time for the Chicago Bears to look ahead to week 8. But first, some quick takeaways.

1) Let’s be honest, the Bears gameplan was bad in this one. On the offensive side of the ball, the pass protection was very average, with the coaching staff choosing to start Lachavious Simmons at right tackle instead of Alex Bars, who started eight games for Chicago last season. The Bears need to do a better job of identifying which talent to replace when players go down.

2) Kudos to rookie running back Khalil Herbert, who had his first career 100-yard rushing performance. The 2021 sixth-round pick racked up 18 carries for 100 rushing yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Not bad for a player who’s emerged as a centerpiece for the Bears offense.

3) Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney were underwhelming. Whether you want to admit it or not, the Bears wide receiver duo has been uninspiring. A lack of chemistry with Justin Fields is the major issue but Robinson and Mooney combined for just four total receptions in week 7. Not the production you want to see from a WR duo that had 163 total receptions a year ago.

4) The Bears had zero sacks this game, marking the first time all season Chicago failed to record a sack. Khalil Mack was injured and while the star pass rusher played, the Bears missed Akiem Hicks and Robert Quinn due to injuries and COVID-19. The Bears hope to get both back and healthy for week 8 to get the defense back up to full speed.

5) There was growth from Justin Fields in this game. Trust me, I spent Sunday night analyzing two losses that showed why Fields progressed, even if it was a little bit. Also, Fields isn’t Mitchell Trubisky 2.0, so let’s quit with that narrative.

6) This was a game that cornerbacks Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor will clearly want to forget. Johnson was beat twice by Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for touchdowns, while Vildor was beaten by Evans and wide receiver Chris Godwin. Here’s to hoping that both players have a major bounceback game against the San Francisco 49ers.

7) Fields statline is a hot point of debate. The 11th overall pick was 22-for-32 with 184 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions. Part of Fields struggles are warranted but stat lines don’t define a quarterback’s progress or growth. Nor are final stats factored into development. Fields continues to make rookie mistakes, which is fine. Would you rather Fields makes mistakes as a rookie or in year three or four, when we’ll have a good read on what Fields is as a quarterback.

8) Bilal Nichols’ punch was unacceptable. For the “Nagy is a players coach” crowd, if Nagy was really a players coach, long-term building blocks like Nichols wouldn’t be out there punching opponents in a game that was pretty much over. Have some respect for the guys in the other uniform and play with discipline, something the Bears have been lacking in 2021.

9) The Bears were never winning this game but losing by 35 points is a bad look. Chicago didn’t even attempt to be competitive, which is an issue since the Bears have now lost to Tampa Bay, the Green Bay Packers, and Los Angeles Rams, three playoff-caliber teams in the NFC.

10) At some point, Matt Nagy needs to acknowledge and understand the Bears are out of options on offense. Chicago needs to solidify the offensive line and it starts by benching Sam Mustipher, who was manhandled by Buccaneers defensive tackle Vita Vea on what seemed like every play. It’s time to switch Cody Whitehair back to center, kick James Daniels out to left guard, and slot in Alex Bars at right guard.

Chicago Bears: No answers in loss to Buccaneers

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It was another long week for the Chicago Bears in a 38-3 loss on the road against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. To start, Chicago was never in the game, to begin with. After failing to score on the first six possessions of the game, the Bears offense once again struggled to get anything going until Cairo Santos hit a 28-yard field goal with just 6:13 to go in the fourth quarter.

Throughout the afternoon, the Bears struggled on both sides of the all. The defense allowed three touchdowns in the first half and failed to record a sack. Chicago’s pass rush was non-existent with defensive tackle Akiem Hicks and outside linebacker Robert Quinn being sidelined due to injuries and COVID-19.

Rookie quarterback Justin Fields struggled at times throughout the afternoon. Fields was 22-for-32 with 184 passing yards, zero touchdowns, and three interceptions. The 11th overall pick posted a passing rating of 44.3 while being sacked four times. The lone bright spot for the Bears’ offense was running back Khalil Herbert, who rushed 18 times for 100 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry.

Vintage Tom Brady showed up for his seventh career game against Chicago. Throughout the afternoon, Brady was sharp, connecting with Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans for three touchdowns. While Brady averaged just 5.9 yards per pass attempt, the future hall of fame quarterback was aided by a strong rushing attack that averaged 5.9 yards per carry.

With Chicago now on a two-game losing streak, losses against key NFC opponents continue to pile up for the Bears. Through the first seven weeks of the season, the Bears have lost to the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, three teams who will likely be competing for the Lombardi Trophy when the playoffs begin in mid-January.

After the game, head coach Matt Nagy stressed the importance of not letting the Bears’ latest loss feel like multiple losses. This wasn’t a game that anyone expected the Bears to win by any means but many hoped the Bears would be competitive enough to at least warrant not being blown out.

What’s next for the Bears? Chicago will return home to face the San Francisco 49ers in week 8, which will mark the first time the Fields will face fellow rookie quarterback Trey Lance, the third overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.