ATM: Offense is Terrible, But Did We See Signs of Improvement Sunday?

| November 4th, 2020

None of it was pretty. But 23 points and roughly 330 yards was about the best anybody could have or should have expected from the Chicago Bears offense on Sunday. That is a sad statement. But it is our current reality.

Already with a bad offensive line, the Bears got worse up front early in the game when Bobby Massie went down. His replacement, Jason Spriggs, is a backup for a reason, and a backup on this offensive is most likely a third stringer elsewhere. The Bears ended the game with an offensive line that included two UDFAs (one was a defensive lineman three years ago), a seventh-round pick turned average veteran, a second-round bust and a first-round bust. Some teams can win with a bad offensive line. A team with Nick Foles at quarterback can’t. To their credit, the Bears battled and scored 23 points against a Saints defense just hitting its stride.

The offense wasn’t good enough by NFL standards, but it could have been good enough to win Sunday. If the Bears defense plays to their potential, the same type of performance could also be good enough to win enough games down the stretch.

Could this have been a performance upon which to build?

There are positives. While lacking breakaway speed, David Montgomery remains one of the hardest players in the sport to get to the ground. Darnell Mooney is a big play waiting to happen every time he touches the ball. Anthony Miller is frustrating but he’s shown what he’s capable of being. Allen Robinson is a certified stud. And while he didn’t show anything against New Orleans, Cole Kmet has done enough that he should overtake Jimmy Graham as the team’s primary tight end target.

The saying that a team is only as strong as it’s weakest link is complete bullshit, unless those weak links are offensive line and quarterback. The Bears won’t have an answer at quarterback until the offseason. Nick Foles is a baseline quarterback who needs a great supporting cast to succeed.

The offensive line showed some push on Sunday. While Spriggs’ pass blocking was a huge problem, the interior offensive line was better than we should’ve expected without its best two players. Perhaps Sam Mustipher can be a regular in the lineup and allow Cody Whitehair to move to left guard? That won’t make the offensive line good, but can it be passable? It certainly needs to be better than it has been since James Daniels was injured. With Bobby Massie expected to miss at least a month, the Bears will need to add a body.

Nobody should ever expect this Bears offense to be good. But if they can go from being one of the five worst to one of twelve worst, it could make a big difference. 

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