A national audience — for at least part of the late afternoon on Sunday — got to witness the difference between first and last, top and bottom, good and bad, and polished and ugly, as the Kansas City Chiefs laid waste to the Chicago Bears.
Bears fans were left shutting their eyes, covering their ears, and humming “Bear Down, Chicago Bears” in the midst of a 41-10 beat down at the hands of the defending Super Bowl champion Chiefs.
With my glass-half-full perspective on most things Bears, it’s gotten to the point where it’s hard to find a silver lining. This Bears team, and to a broader extent the organization, just isn’t any good right now. And despite the improvements they made to their roster build this past offseason, they somehow have looked worse through three games than they did all of last season.
I’m usually not one of those meatball fans who storms the bastille with a pitchfork and flaming torch, shouting, “Daaa… tear dis ting down. Blow it all up. Dis team is a disgrace.”
But I really don’t see this thing getting better any time soon. What exactly do they do?
— BearsBeat.com (@bearsbeat) September 24, 2023
As I posted on X during the game, I am not the type of fan ready to call for heads to roll inside that organization. I’m not looking for ritualistic, ceremonial, token terminations. Any coaching moves the Bears could theoretically make during the season would not improve their long-term outlook — unless you want to make the argument that keeping the same coaching staff in place is only going to further send Justin Fields down a spiral for the remaining 14 games of the season.
I’m not ready to make that claim. If the Bears were to fire coaches in the middle of the season, who would take their places? No outside coach is going to come in during the season and try to install a new system with the little talent they have in place and basically burn one season of his credibility.
No, the Bears would have to promote someone from within. And if Matt Eberflus were fired, which coach on his staff would you want to replace him, who would make things even the slightest bit better?
What you see is what you get for the remainder of the 2023 campaign. Could they make slight improvements? Oh, absolutely. The schedule does look marginally better the rest of the season. They still have dates with the Broncos, Raiders, Panthers, Cardinals, and Falcons. They still could beat the Commanders, Lions, Vikings, Browns, and Packers – if they improved, that is. I don’t see any game on the schedule, like the Chiefs game, that makes me think they definitively could not win.
However, if they play the way they have through the first three games and don’t let Fields play more naturally like last year, then no, there won’t be many wins on the schedule this year.
As far as recapping the action against the Chiefs, there isn’t much to discuss.
Fields completed only 11 of 22 passes on the day. His completion percentage (50%) was bad, his passer rating (58.7) was bad, his passing yards (99) were bad, and his passing average (4.5) was bad. You could make the argument that Fields didn’t play well, and I wouldn’t debate you. But there also isn’t any argument against the painfully obvious fact that his offensive line couldn’t be any worse than if we pulled in five random fat guys eating a deep dish pizza from anywhere in Chicago.
Surely I jest, but the offensive line is bad. And for that matter, so is the defensive line. Football is won in the trenches. Everything begins up front. And where it begins for the Bears, it also ends rather quickly. Chiefs running backs Isiah Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed a combined 30 times for 117 yards. They would sometimes hit the second level of the defense without even being touched. And of course, quarterback Patrick Mahomes barely got touched all game, a recipe for disaster against a player of his talent.
The Bears had nothing going all game. It wasn’t until the fourth quarter when the Chiefs had already brought in their backup quarterback and took their foot off the pedal that the Bears even scored any points. The Miami Dolphins on Sunday put up a whopping 70 points, and one has to wonder if the Chiefs could have matched that had they actually wanted to. As it is, Mahomes got hurt at the end of the first half and they already had a 34-0 lead at that point. They could have just let him rest the remainder of the game.
The Bears’ first eight possessions of the game ended with a punt, punt, punt, fumble, interception, punt, punt, and turnover on downs. The Chiefs had a 36:13 to 23:47 advantage in time of possession and a 31-11 first down edge.
Where do the Bears go from here? It feels so hopeless. You don’t want to throw in the towel on the season after only three games, but there’s nothing for the team to hang its hat on. Even last year, the Bears were worth watching because the excitement and anticipation of what Fields might do with his legs was enough to motivate you to sit through three hours of bad defense.
Anyone remember that Dolphins game in 2022? Boy, they couldn’t stop that Dolphins offense for anything, but the Bears’ offense hung with them all game and lost by only a field goal, 35-32.
I’m not saying that Fields won’t find the time machine and start cooking on the ground again. But through three games, we’ve only seen minimal glances of what he once was.
And if he does not regain that explosive playmaking ability, not only will it be tough to tune in and watch them struggle for the remaining 14 games of the 2023 season, but the Bears will be well on their way to having a Top 5 pick for the second-straight draft.
But this time around – as Bryce Young and the Carolina Panthers continue to flounder – the Bears might have two of them.