What Happened in Vegas: Bears Beat Raiders, Give Themselves Chance for a Season

| October 11th, 2021

The Bears were significant underdogs in Las Vegas. And they won the game by double digits. There is plenty to criticize about this performance. (And you’ll find much of that below.) But one thing can not be stated clearly enough: this was a massive win for the 2021 Chicago Bears and their head coach, Matt Nagy. They now have a chance for a season.

Rapid fire.

  • Everything starts with Justin Fields and he was getting annihilated early. And most of it was NOT the result of poor play on the offensive line. The Raiders came into Sunday with the clear directive to hit Fields, whether the play was alive or dead. And Fields almost didn’t survive it.
    • As brutal as the hit was later in the game, don’t think for a moment those early hits didn’t play into Roquan Smith’s mindset when he knocked Derek Carr from the game. That was a teammate having the back of another teammate. You hit my guy up top, I hit yours up top. That’s how football used to be played.
  • Fields was good in this game, but the Bears have to let him do more moving forward. At several moments late, Nagy could have told his quarterback, “Make a play here and the it’s over.” He didn’t Sunday. He will have to soon.
    • I would have loved to see a replay of Fields’ touchdown pass to Jesper Horsted from any angle but the one shown on TV. (Apparently the only camera working at the time was on the other side of the field.) It looked like a bold decision, perfectly executed.
    • The Fields-to-Mooney 3rd down toss on what ultimately became the game-sealing drive was an absolute thing of beauty. If Fields can make that throw, in that moment, there’s nothing he can’t do physically out there.
  • As for Roquan, what a performance. He broke up a touchdown in the end zone. He stopped Carr on what looked like an easy first down run on a pivotal third down in the first half. And he’s called for two big penalties – a PI and an unnecessary roughness – neither of which were actually penalties. In the modern NFL, teams need to be wary when paying inside linebackers. The Bears should hand him a blank check.
  • There’s very little left to say about Khalil Mack. The Raiders tried to hold him early but the refs called it. Then they tried to double, and sometimes triple him. He beat it all. Some days he’s unblockable. Quite frankly, there aren’t enough of those days. But Sunday was one of them.

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Wednesday Lynx Package (6/16/21)

| June 16th, 2021

There are very few points on the calendar where the NFL is at rest and this period – between the draft and camp – is the the league at its most restful. That’s why the “Justin Fields Makes Us Happy” and “Classic Game” posts have dominated the site. There’s no point in writing opinion pieces when there’s nothing on which to actually opine. So here are some damn links.

  • Lindsay Jones at The Athletic has an interesting piece, breaking down the slow pace of vaccinations for NFL players. These guys should look no further than Jon Rahm on the PGA Tour, and understand vaccinations as a business decision. Rahm cost himself $1.6 million plus by delaying his jab and being removed from the field with a positive test at The Memorial. Testing positive will still take players off the field. And the only players getting tested will be the unvaccinated. Why risk it?
  • Not a big Jason La Canfora fan when it comes to his often erroneous news breaks. But this piece for CBS absolutely skewers the Packers and their handling of the Aaron Rodgers situation. What the Packers are currently doing makes zero sense. Why take shots at Rodgers in the press? If you are willing to move on, and start the Jordan Love era, why not just do that and accumulate a million assets from Denver? The Packers are operating as if they have leverage. That leverage doesn’t exist. And Rodgers knows it.
  • Where is Deshaun Watson going to play in 2021? My eyes are still fixed on Carolina, a quarterback-needy club that hasn’t addressed the position in a significant way. (Sam Darnold ain’t it.) The Cat Crave blog has a nice breakdown of what the Panthers might need to give up to bring Watson back to the Carolinas. If Watson ends up a Panther, it would be hard to make them a favorite in the NFC.

Also, it is June 15th and we have no idea where two of the five best quarterbacks in the NFL will be playing in September. That’s wild.

  • A serious x-factor for the Bears this season will be running back Damien Williams, a Covid opt-out in 2020. (Colleen Kane has a nice profile of his return in the Trib.) Williams’ versatility will be a major asset for the offense, as he’ll be able to spell both David Montgomery AND Tarik Cohen; capable of both a 20-carry game and a 10-catch one. Nagy never had Williams in Kansas City but no doubt he received serious recommendations from the men there who did.
  • ACTUAL BEAR NEWS. Two sleeping campers were attacked by bears in Alaska. Two thoughts. (1) If I come home from a night out, and someone I don’t know is sleeping in my apartment, and I throw them out violently, that’s not “an attack”! This is where the bears live. By sleeping there, the campers take on the risk. (2) The story says they had “bear deterrent”. Well, guess what? If you’re doing something that requires you have bear deterrent on you, you deserve to get attacked by bears. I have no sympathy for folks this stupid.
  • Registration is now open for the Chicago Bears-led virtual 5K and Kids Dash. Last year the event raised $60,000 for local Covid-related causes in Chicago. This year they expect to do even better. From the release: “Registered participants will have the opportunity to run the 5K (3.1 miles) and Kids Dash 1K (.62 miles) any time from June 14 through July 31. Walkers are welcome, as there are no pace restrictions. All paid registered 5K runners will be mailed an official race shirt, commemorative Bears finisher medal, Bears/PNC-branded gaiter and Bears/PNC-branded fanny pack (for the first 250 registrants), while supplies last. Kids registered for the Kids Dash will be mailed a finisher medal, Bears/PNC-branded gaiter and tie headband from the Chicago Bears Kids Club brought to you by Jewel-Osco, while supplies last.”

Six links. And not one mention of Justin Fields. Not bad.

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