This is a game of two emotions.
The Positive, First.
Justin Fields was excellent. Yes, he made some rookie mistakes, mostly regarding his clock in the pocket. But this was the kind of game you love to see from a talented rookie. He kept his eyes down the field. He went through his progressions. He extended plays with his legs. But most importantly, he made several, SEVERAL, absolutely gorgeous throws. There is no questioning the ability of this player. If he develops as the Bears hope, their future involves a star quarterback.
(There will be plenty of time to talk more Fields as the week progresses.)
The Negative, Second.
Everything about David Montgomery’s knee injury – his reaction, the reaction of teammates, the refusal of TV to show it a second time – leads one to believe it’s unlikely he’ll be on the field again this season. This is a devastating blow for the 2021 Chicago Bears. If you were someone who hoped this team would compete for a postseason spot, this injury should relegate those hopes moot.
More thoughts on the ballgame, rapid fire:
- Very surprising to see the Bears defensive front get blown off the ball in the run game. Was this due to the early Hicks injury? Outside of an offsides penalty, was Eddie Goldman involved in a single play from scrimmage? If the Bears don’t stop the run they’ll have little chance stopping anything else moving forward.
- Underrated play in this game? Darnell Mooney’s brilliant catch on the Bears opening drive. If that ball isn’t hauled in, it could easily linger in the quarterback’s mind. Instead a really good player made a really good play and Fields settled into the contest nicely. Mooney is emerging as the the team’s clear number one receiver.
- The Fields first down run on 3rd down to end the first quarter was the play the Bears were desperate to see made for years. It rips the heart out of the defense.
- Before getting hurt, Monty’s initial touchdown run was brilliant. Gus Johnson’s call was perfect. “Nine yards…the hard way.”
- Why didn’t Gus ever know what yard line the game was on? He was off 5-10 yards every time he tried.
- Also, why didn’t this broadcast discuss Chicago play-calling situation at all? Seemed such a natural narrative to follow throughout. They completely ignored it.
- Pivotal passage in this game, second quarter, around 11 minutes remaining:
- 2nd and goal -> Quinn blows up Hockenson and stops a run in the backfield. (Quinn is playing brilliant football all season long. He’s been one of the 3-4 most consistent pass rushers.)
- 3rd and goal -> Pass rush wrecks the play, but Roquan almost gets penalized for hitting Goff in the head. (Bears have to get more disciplined on defense when it comes to silly penalties.)
- 4th and goal -> Ogletree saves a touchdown by deflecting Goff’s pass to a wide open Swift in the end zone.
- J.P. Holtz had a solid day on coverage units. He made a brilliant solo tackle on a punt and was in on most of the kickoff return scrums.
- We saw it this preseason but Pat O’Donnell has continued his brilliant punting.
- Fields dodging the blitzer with a spin move, rolling to his right and throwing a perfect pass to Cole Kmet was maybe his finest play of the game. Now, Kmet falling down was not so fine. At some point the Notre Dame tight end has to show us he’s good. Because right now it’s all hypothetical and color me extremely skeptical.
- Rolling into the half, the Lions commit a false start on 3rd and 4, with 50 seconds left. How do you commit that penalty there?
- How do you snap a ball into your quarterback’s thighs inside the ten?
- Why wouldn’t you kick a field goal on fourth down, down ten, with two minutes left? I know analytics don’t like kicking on fourth downs but analytics are wrong quite a bit in this sport.
- Duke Shelley had a decent game in pass coverage. Grading on a curve, but he had some nice PBUs.
- Deon Bush might be the best tackler in this secondary.
- Is there not someone on this earth the Bears can pay to actually CATCH punts until Tarik Cohen returns? This is getting absurd. Every punt that reach the 20 yard line ends up inside the 5.
- The flag thrown on Xavier Crawford on his brilliant coverage tackle was ludicrous. The official heard a big hit, assumed it was illegal, and threw his flag. Then the ref covered his ass with the bogus “interference” call. This was a badly-officiated game throughout but most of them are these days.
- Love the play design on Kalif Raymond TD in the red zone by Detroit. When you bring speedsters in motion and have them reverse course, there isn’t a safety alive that can hang with them.
- Don’t be fooled into thinking this defense is good. It is not. It has some terrific players, capable of making big plays, but their secondary (outside Jaylon Johnson) can’t cover anyone.
Justin Fields should be the starter moving forward.
Bill Lazor should be the play caller moving forward.
The Bears and their fans should have hope moving forward, into Vegas and beyond.