Yesterday was the breakdown of what the Bears must do to beat the Rams, a team superior to them at almost every facet of the game. The Bears don’t run it better. The Bears don’t throw it better. The Bears don’t stop the run better. The Bears don’t stop the pass better. The 2020 Bears were better in the return game but their kick returner has left town. It is not difficult, at all, to see why the Bears are opening as more than a touchdown underdog on the road.
But hope is not lost.
Why Do I Like the Chicago Bears This Week?
I always like the Chicago Bears.
But they’re testing me right now. And I’m failing.
Big Night For Nagy, Dalton
To paraphrase the great Hyman Roth, “This is the life they’ve chosen.”
By not giving Justin Fields even so much as the opportunity to win the starting job, Nagy has effectively forced the NBC cameras to cut to Fields with every three-and-out, every Dalton blunder, every quarter that goes by with the offense flailing. No, this group shouldn’t be expected to flourish against unquestionably one of the league’s best defenses, but that doesn’t matter.
Because every time Dalton gets sacked, fans will wonder if Fields could have avoided it.
Every time Dalton checks down, fans will wonder if Fields could have extended the play a few seconds with his mobility and made a big gain down the field.
Every time Dalton throws a ball into the fourth row, fans will wonder if Fields could have used that 4.4 speed to race by the sticks and extend the drive.
Matt Nagy and Andy Dalton don’t need to win Sunday night. But they need a tight, clean performance. They need to look like this offense is heading the right direction. Because the eyes of the football world will be upon them.
Stats of the Week
- Sean McVay took over the Rams in 2017. Since then, these are his opening Sunday results: 46-9 victory, 33-13 victory, 30-27 victory, 20-17 victory. The man is 4-0 is in his openers and his team averages 32.25 points per game in those games.
- Matt Nagy took over the Bears in 2018. Since then, these are his opening Sunday results: 24-23 loss, 10-3 loss, 27-23 win (wherein the opponent dropped the game-winning touchdown in the end zone).
- Rams had a turnover differential of -3 last season. Bears had a turnover differential of -4. The Rams changed their quarterback because of it. The Bears changed their defensive coordinator.
Tweet of the Week
Top-selling NFL jerseys for @Fanatics since Aug 1: Josh Allen, Mac Jones, Tom Brady, Justin Fields, Patrick Mahomes. pic.twitter.com/2vRGk8unNk
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 9, 2021
I know most Bears fans harbor disdain for the ownership of this franchise but imagine their position. They finally have the exciting, young, dynamic quarterback. The stadium rose to their feet to cheer him on during the goddamn preseason. His jersey is flying off the shelves.
And he’s sitting behind Andy Dalton.
That’s got to be frustrating.
HughesReviews: Five Best Movies “About” Los Angeles
Maybe the best screenplay ever written, by the estimable Robert Towne.
(4) The Player
The most scathing indictment of Hollywood ever put on screen, directed with an uncharacteristic structure by Robert Altman.
(3) LA Confidential
The kind of movie emblematic of what made the 90s great: take a great script, hire a bunch of brilliant actors, let them play.
(2) Mulholland Drive
This great David Lynch puzzle is open to the interpretation of the viewer. To me it has always been fundamentally about one thing: the illusion of Los Angeles, a place where dreams comes to die a depressing death in a shitty apartment.
(1) LA Story
Quite simply, one of the most perfect movies ever made. Romantic, hysterical, smart, it is everything one comes to expect from a Steve Martin script. (And it has my favorite movie poster of all-time.)
Bold Bears Prediction
On a down of an offensive day, Cole Kmet has 8 catches, 89 yards and a touchdown.
For years I have picked the Bears to win every week. That gag is played. This year I’m going to try and accurately predict all 17 of their games and see how well I do.
And let’s just look at the factors here.
(1) McVay’s Rams tend to get off to hot starts, specifically on offense. And this season he has a real quarterback.
(2) That quarterback, Matt Stafford, had his way with essentially this same defense a year ago. (In fairness, that secondary was actually far better.)
(3) The Bears offensive line will be playing their first game together as a unit, facing one of the best fronts in the sport.
(4) Dalton lacks the mobility required to compensate for struggles up front and tends to make bonehead errors under pressure. (Dalton throws more picks on screens than any quarterback in recent memory.)
(5) Rams receivers vs. Bears corners is about as definitive a mismatch as you’ll find on an NFL Sunday.
So…how is this game close?
Los Angeles Rams 30, Chicago Bears 13