After the Bears’ depressing, 17-9 loss to the rival Minnesota Vikings on Monday night, I feel like there’s just one expression that sums up how I feel about the state of the Bears season through 14 weeks.
“I’ve seen some pretty sh—ty situations in my life, but nothing has ever sucked more a— than this!”
Okay, technically, I didn’t say that. It was Billy Bob Thornton from the movie, Bad Santa, which I watched immediately following the Bears’ latest failure. You’ll have to pardon me for cleaning it up a little bit, but ol’ Billy Bob’s expression is apropos to how I, we, almost all Bears fans feel right now.
The dumpster fire of an offense that still ranks in the bottom five of the league in scoring managed just three points through three quarters of action. The Bears had more first downs, yards, yards per play, and way more passing yards than the Vikings did. But they also had more turnovers and penalties and couldn’t get out of their own way.
Justin Fields, Chicago’s golden boy who apparently can do no wrong, continues to do wrong. In what’s becoming an all-too-familiar occurrence, Fields fumbled twice and lost one of them, this time while scrambling, not while getting hit from behind on a sack.
Fields also took some ill-advised sacks, including on one screen play that even left ESPN color commentator Louis Riddick — many Bears’ fans choice to replace Ryan Pace as general manager — saying, “you’ve got to throw the ball at the feet of the receiver there; you can’t take a sack.” (I’m paraphrasing)
Lest you think I’m placing all the blame for the Bears’ offensive woes on the rookie signal caller, I assure you I have hope for the kid and think he still has a chance to be the Bears’ long-awaited answer to the quarterback enigma. But I will continue to hammer home the point that Matt Nagy had it correct when he wanted to ease Fields onto the field specifically for these reasons. And with every poor decision, lost fumble, missed read or otherwise dumb rookie mistake, that point is becoming more evident to hardened Bears fans.
Nagy took over play calling duties Monday night after offensive coordinator Bill Lazor missed the game due to COVID. If you hadn’t been aware of the Bears’ COVID issues, you would never have known who was calling plays. The Bears had some success moving the ball but failed to score enough points. Same story, different chapter.
On the other side of the ball, I have few complaints about a shorthanded Bears defense. With new starters in the secondary, the Bears held Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins to a whopping 87 passing yards. And before you go and say, “well, he didn’t need to throw much because they ran the ball well,” be advised that the league’s third-leading rusher, Dalvin Cook, who had 205 rushing yards last week, was held to just 89 rushing yards by the swarming Bears defense. He had just 3.3 yards per carry.
How can you get mad about the way the Bears played defense? Just 17 points and 193 total yards allowed? They played with energy and made a lot of plays at key moments in the game.
But you can’t win games without scoring points. And the Bears’ offense is horrible at that.
As Billy Bob would later say in the movie, “They can’t all be winners, can they?”