Boy, I’m glad I waited in anticipation through all of Sunday’s football action for the Bears to finally play on Monday night under the bright lights. My present was another dismal offensive performance from the Bears in a 19-13 division loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
For the past three weeks, I’ve preached the importance of patience to Bears fans. Don’t worry, I said. The Bears were in the midst of a three-game losing streak against three very difficult opponents in the Rams, Saints and Titans. These were games they were expected to lose that just happened to be poorly placed together. Wait until they play the Vikings in a game they can and should win.
But, alas, it is now time to panic.
Bears hit new offensive low
The Bears offense was every bit as bad as feared. They managed just 149 total yards — yeah, you read that right — to go with just six offensive points.
The offense can thank Cordarrelle Patterson for his 104-yard kickoff return touchdown to open the second half. Without it, the Bears would have been held scoreless in the third quarter for the ninth time in ten games.
The offense took a running back by committee approach without David Montgomery. Patterson secured the bulk of carries, tallying just 30 yards on 12 attempts, a 2.5-yard average. Lamar Miller, activated from the practice squad, received no carries but caught just two passes for 6 yards. Artavis Pierce ran the ball 3 times for 9 yards.
The passing game wasn’t much better. Despite a few series in the first half that demonstrated good rhythm, Nick Foles finished the game with just 106 yards on 15-of-26 passing. He had one interception and no touchdowns with a 51.1 passer rating.
Allen Robinson led the offensive effort with 6 receptions for 43 yards. You’d be hard pressed to find another offensive player to compliment.
Bears defense has another strong outing nullified by fatigue
I don’t know how much better the Bears defense can play outside taking the ball away and scoring. They seriously have to do things themselves if this is the level of offensive output we can expect the rest of the season.
— BearsBeat.com (@bearsbeat) November 17, 2020
Roquan Smith had an outstanding game, racking up 14 tackles, including 3 for loss, while adding a sack and a quarterback hit. Khalil Mack failed to show up in the sack column again, but he did record a timely interception. Robert Quinn, meanwhile, was blanked across the board, save for one quarterback hit.
You have to give the run defense tremendous credit. A week after holding the bulldozing Derrick Henry to just 68 yards on 21 carries, they held the explosive Dalvin Cook to just 96 yards on 30 carries. That’s two of the best running backs in the NFL, in back-to-back games, both held to a 3.2-yard average.
The defense held the Vikings to under 20 points, which is better than their season average. And they did it while getting almost no help from the offense in the second half.
How bad was it? The offense had four straight three-and-outs to open the second half. They concluded the game with two straight series of turning the ball over on downs. The offense had just 32 yards and two first downs in the second half.
Excuse me while I hurl.
Bears are in football hell
The Bears are officially in football hell. They are not good enough to make the playoffs, and they are not bad enough to be in the sweepstakes for Trevor Lawrence — the Clemson quarterback widely expected to be selected with the first pick in next spring’s draft.
While not mathematically eliminated from the postseason, you only have to examine their remaining schedule paired with how poorly their offense has been playing to realize how bleak it looks.
The Bears limp into their bye at the right time. Foles was carted off the field with less than a minute to play with an apparent hip injury. The news came back positive on Tuesday, but it sounds like Matt Nagy is leaving open the possibility the team returns to Mitch Trubisky, if he’s healthy.
In two weeks time, the Bears play against division rival Green Bay. If they don’t dramatically improve by then, surely a tall order for a handicapped offense, they are going to get embarrassed in prime time on Sunday Night Football. At that point, they would be 5-6 and likely needing to win out or at least go 4-1 the rest of the way to have a shot at the playoffs.
It seems like eons ago that the Bears were 5-1 and headed for the postseason. Now, it’s more likely jobs are on the line and massive changes are headed their way this offseason.