It is often difficult to summarize a football game in one sentence.
Sunday’s game was not one of those.
The Bears had no chance to block the Cleveland Browns and subsequently no chance to run a professional offense.
- What do you say about an offensive line that can’t compete? They didn’t struggle at times. They didn’t fail in big moments. They were a noncompetitive group for the duration a football game. The play of the offensive today should confirm to every single Bears fan an unavoidable point: this is not a championship contender, by any means. Teams don’t win championships with lines like this. Hell, teams don’t win nine games with lines like this. This was their worst performances since the Giants beat up Jay Cutler in the Meadowlands many moons ago.
- Jason Peters trying to block Myles Garrett can’t be a serious approach to an NFL game.
- Germain Ifedi played his worst game as an NFL lineman.
- There will be a ton of criticism heaped onto the shoulders of Matt Nagy this week and rightfully so. Look no further than the other side of the field to see the improvement possible for a quarterback under the right head coach. Nagy has to prove to this organization that he’s the right guy to coach this quarterback moving forward. And with Exhibit A, the glove didn’t fit.
- A few thoughts on Justin Fields:
- His “mistake” in the game was not dumping the ball to Marquise Goodwin on the RPO when he rolled left. Could have been a big game. But one has to assume, at that point, he was in “run for my life” mode.
- Seeing the camera shot from behind Fields made it clear he was wise not to throw the football to his well-covered targets.
- It just doesn’t seem Nagy’s schemes produce many easy throws. How do you combat a pass rush? End arounds? Screens? Sprint outs? Anything? Don’t tell me those things had no possibility of working when none of them were even attempted.
- Top of the third quarter, Fields held on when he arm was throttled on a sack. No idea how he did that.
- Fields will learn which guys he can or can’t outrun but folks have to understand that Fields is a passer first. His eyes are always downfield. He’s not Lamar Jackson and the Bears don’t want him to be that.
- The play didn’t matter but fourth and ten late, Nagy and Castillo left Peters on an island with Garrett AGAIN. How is that even possible? How does any objective observer not look at that play – that play ALONE – and conclude the coaching staff is out of their depth?
- Hey Goodwin, come back for the football.
- 3rd and 2 pitch outs to David Montgomery when you can’t block the edge are insane calls.
- Naked boots with Fields in the red zone are too.
- Robert Quinn and Khalil Mack played their tails off. And the Bears can now see what was imagined when Ryan Pace gave Quinn all that money. Against weaker teams, these two have a chance to dominate.
- Baker Mayfield was a real difference maker in two ways:
- His scrambling, as predicted here end of last week, has been a huge boon to the Browns throughout this young season. He knows when to tuck it and run and did so effectively again on Sunday.
- Two beautiful back shoulder throws, one to each sideline, were key plays.
- But Baker also missed a few easy throws, both of which were likely touchdowns.
- Kindle Vildor is not a starting corner in the NFL.
- Eddie Jackson is not a top safety. I understand he’s made some big plays in his career – mostly in the passing game – but top safeties are not pathetic tacklers. And Jackson is a pathetic tackler. Bears overpaid for him because the common wisdom is pay these guys early. Would they pay him that contract now? Absolutely not.
- Saw a lot to like from Sean Desai Sunday.
- Once he recognized Mayfield was an issue on the scrambles, he started using Mack and other DL to sort of spy him. It limited Mayfield on the ground.
- His aggressiveness is palpable, even if it makes the team vulnerable to the screen game. When you can’t do anything on offense, you have to try and make things happen on defense.
- We haven’t seen the top corner of the Bears track the opposing number one receiver in a long time. Jaylon Johnson didn’t have a perfect day but I like both he and Desai embracing this approach.
- When did teams start blowing off field goals to go on fourth down? Kevin Stefanski left six points on the board early for no reason?
- Pat O’Donnell has kept his preseason going. He’s never kicked the ball this well.
- Khalil Herbert has a real burst in the kickoff return game.
Ultimately, the Bears got roughed up by a far superior team; a title-contending team. And the Bears should know how far away they currently are from that label.