Having been a Bears fan for over a decade, I’ve seen Sunday’s game more times than I’d like to admit.
Chicago was given a myriad of circumstantial advantages heading into the weekend’s tilt against a listing 1-4 Minnesota Vikings team. These advantages included (but were not limited to):
- A ‘Mini-Bye’ that afforded Chicago extra time to rest, scout, and prep for this game
- A surprise Wednesday announcement that Vikings’ superstar Justin Jefferson would be placed on IR, undoubtedly causing the Minnesota to scramble while planning their offense
- Plenty of tape on how the Vikings would handle Justin Fields defensively (thanks to Jalen Hurts providing a close comparison)
- A parade of returning Chicago starters (Kyler Gordon, Jaylon Johnson, Teven Jenkins, and Eddie Jackson) that looked to boost both sides of the ball
- All of the intrinsic momentum that winning your first game of the season provides
And yet, despite these advantages, Chicago lost the game and fell to 1-5 on the season. That may be the death knell for any playoff hopes the organization still had.
It’s a damn shame they managed to lose too. The Bears’ defense held the Vikings’ offense to 220 total yards and 12 offensive points, yet Chicago allowed its 4th defensive touchdown in 6 weeks and lost 19-13 all the same. The 2023 Bears always make one mistake too many — that’s a direct indictment on their coaching, if you ask me.
There are conversations to be had about Fields’ eyes against Brian Flores’ blitzes, how strange it was to see the Bears abandon the run while it was hot, Tyson Bagent’s overall performance & more, but now that Chicago’s starting Quarterback is likely to miss time with a dislocated thumb, the story of the season may change in a flash — next the Bears host a “Bad, But Not That Bad” Las Vegas Raiders team in a game that would’ve been winnable with Fields but has now become a battle of backup QBs.
If this team falls to 1-6, what keeps them competing?
What do Matt Eberflus’ season goals become?
Does a total reset of the organization become inevitable?
We’ll cross some of those bridges when we get to them, but I can’t help feeling like an era ended on Sunday. I’m just not sure whose era it was.
The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
- Everyone on Defense chipped in. The 2023 Bears defense has received plenty of grief on this site this year, but with the season in the balance they played as good a game as you could ask yesterday. Jaylon Johnson broke up passes, Tyrique Stevenson stopped Jordan Addison on a key 3rd & long, Zacch Pickens added a TFL, and TJ Edwards powered past Alexander Mattison to get home on a blitz & tip a Kirk Cousins pass in the air & create a huge interception that Tremaine Edmunds was ready for.
- It wasn’t the Vikings offense’s best game (I’m still not sure why they were so averse to spreading out their WRs and passing relentlessly), but that’s not important — the defense did what they had to do on Sunday by shutting out Minnesota in the 2nd half and offering their offense 6 opportunities to take the ball and score. Plenty of good from that unit.