When it comes to the Chicago Bears, by now, we should know to expect the unexpected.
Sure, Chicago’s football team came away with a 20-17 win this afternoon. But it looked nothing like you’d expect. Then again, at times … it did.
The Bears forced four turnovers. We’re used to that. And the Bears didn’t do much scoring off those turnovers. Sadly, we’re used to that, too. Andy Dalton had a 118.2 passer rating. That was unexpected. And in the same metric, Justin Fields’ number was down at 27.7. Can’t say I saw that coming. Then again … no one would’ve predicted a Dalton injury pushing Fields into full-time duty in the first place. Eddie Jackson contributed with a Peanut Punch, but also tackled a teammate. Uhhh … that was weird. Jaylon Johnson came away with his first interception, which was part of a series of three consecutive Joe Burrow throws that were picked off. But then Burrow threw two touchdowns in a matter of moments. So … there’s work to be done to be better there.
But, yeah, there was a lot of good to takeaway from that game:
• David Montgomery continues to be the Bears’ best offensive player. Not that we’re surprised, as it’s become evident that he *IS* this team’s offensive identity. And it’s not just the production, either. Montgomery runs with an edge and embodies the spirit of Bears football by being hard to bring down. No, Montgomery didn’t break away often. But every stop was a hard-fought battle. And nothing captured that like the fourth quarter first-down run that sealed the game and put the Bears into the victory formation.
1st down David Montgomery!! pic.twitter.com/aBgXUrpXk9
— Greg Braggs Jr. (@GBraggsJr23) September 19, 2021
• That’s Bears football.
• Roquan Smith continues to climb the defensive playmaker leaderboard. Five solo tackles. One sack. A QB Hit. His first ever pick-six. Smith is looking like someone who is deserving of a second contract with the Bears, and a big one at that.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) September 19, 2021
• The interior offensive line continues to befuddle me. When run blocking, the group looks alright. They’re making holes and cutback lames for Montgomery, which is springing the run game to positive gains. But when pass-blocking? Yuck. There were too many moments when guys were getting pushed into the backfield. You shake it off when it’s Aaron Donald and the Rams. Not so easy to do when we’re discussing the Bengals and whomever they’re throwing out.
• Michael: I just want to jump into add that although Fields had a couple of penalties and not much of a stat line to boast about, he flashed the sort of arm strength and accuracy that has been missing in Chicago for years. He also showed what he can do with his legs on multiple plays, scripted or otherwise. And, of course, had a couple really excellent deep balls that were dropped by Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney. It happens, and you’ve got to do more when more opportunities arise, but there is clearly a lot of talent here – more than the stat line would suggest.
In the end, we had a game where it looked like the Bears “D” was back. And even though they gave up some scores late, they looked the part. It’s almost as if getting wrecked on national TV last week was the wake-up call they needed. But also, we can say the same about that Bears offense that we’ve grown to strongly dislike. Maybe a fresh look at QB will be what jump-starts this thing. We’ll have to wait and see on what happens with Andy Dalton.
The good news is that this might be looked back on as the first win of the Justin Fields era, even though it goes Andy Dalton’s record because he was the starter. And yet, there’s still so much to do for it to be the first of many. But the Bears will take it, as 1-1 is better than 0-2, no matter how you get there.