• This touchdown encapsulates everything wrong with where the 2021 Chicago Bears are right now:
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) December 5, 2021
• These Bears are who we thought they were: A team trying to grasp the last breaths of fresh air from a closing window while ignoring a perfectly working door that could open to a better future. I’m not sure anything captures that essence like Jimmy Graham catching a touchdown pass from Andy Dalton in the year 2021.
• If this was artwork at a museum, it would come with a sidebar explanation from someone whose expertise is in this era of art. They would say something like “Jimmy Graham vulturing a touchdown from David Montgomery essentially represents how the Bears continue to ignore the development of players who will be on next year’s roster for the sake of trying to make things look more competitive than they really are.” You’ll nod in understanding, all while being confused as to why this would happen in the first place. You find yourself equally amused and bemused before walking over to the next exhibit.
• And then there was this, which should be hung in The Louvre for truly capturing the moment:
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 5, 2021
• Andy Dalton’s line vs. the Cardinals: 26/41, 229 yards, 5.6 Y/A, 2 TD, 4 INT, 54.9 passer rating.
• Mind you, this is the quarterback the head coach wanted in there from the start of the season. About that…
• How do you process a game like that? Just don’t, writes 670 The Score’s Cam Ellis.
• Dalton gave me Chase Daniel flashbacks to when he put up a strong Thanksgiving showing against the Lions, only to throw something of a clunker against the Giants 10 days later. Like Daniel before him, Dalton looks to be at that place in his career where he can steward your team through a game if your QB1 goes down. And he’ll even give you a good effort against an inferior opponent in a pinch. But if he is your full-time starter, your team is going to be on the short end of the stick.
• A two-tackle, four-interception day would play better if Dalton was suiting up on the other side of the ball:
“I had two tackles today, unfortunately.” —Andy Dalton pic.twitter.com/sVXQmwBZny
— Sean Hammond (@sean_hammond) December 5, 2021
• Cole Kmet took responsibility for one of Dalton’s picks, per NBC Sports Chicago’s Alex Shapiro. It was aa tone-setter when Kmet’s mishandling of a wet ball as the Bears were entering the red zone led to a Cardinals turnover. The Bears really went from having an offense marching down 7-0 deep into Cards territory to being on defense with the Cardinals in a position to strike from the Bears 15. What a brutal turn of events.
• Games against teams like the Cardinals serve as a measuring stick for teams like the Bears. And while we didn’t need any more evidence, seeing these two teams against one another turned out to be a prime example of how far Chicago needs to go to get where Arizona is right now. In a way, that’s so sad. And it’s an indictment on the organization. The Bears and Cardinals had the same record last year. One team made major changes, while the other rolled out much of the same as it has been for the last few years. Naturally, the team shaking it up put up 33 points and looks like a real contender.
• Two fourth downs tell the story of how far apart these teams are on the competitive spectrum. Take for instance Arizona’s opening drive when the Cardinals – rather than take points early – went for it on 4th-and-short. Not only did they go for it, they got it with a deep shot pass. It was as if Kliff Kingsbury was saying even if we don’t get this, I don’t think your offense will make me pay for taking this risk. It turns out that the Cardinals were right in not thinking the Bears offense could hang. But damn, it’s not great when the perception that your offense can’t hang is put right on the table in that manner. The Cardinals straight-up had no respect for the Bears on their home turf, and it was evident from the get-go.
• On the other end of the competitive spectrum, the Bears head a 4th-and-short- opportunity of their own. But rather than show faith in his team, Nagy chose to try to force an offsides penalty (it failed) before ultimately punting. The FOX broadcast tried to spin it as a sign of respect. But others saw it as cowardly:
*CHI committed a (likely intentional) delay of game penalty, moving the play from 4th & 2 at the ARI 49 to 4th & 7 at the CHI 46.
If this penalty was in fact unintentional, the Surrender Index would be 2.13, ranking at the 67th percentile of the 2021 season.
— Surrender Index (@surrender_index) December 5, 2021
• It’s never good when your team is calling cowardly punts. Unfortunately, this is just the latest in a growing trend. More on that later.
• Even the good plays were a mess:
I can’t believe THIS worked. pic.twitter.com/lMhsgCYwpD
— Bleacher Nation Bears (@BN_Bears) December 5, 2021
• Jakeem Grant Sr. had five catches, 62 receiving yards, and a touchdown. Nice work getting snaps in place of Allen Robinson II and Marquise Goodwin. Maybe there is future work for a gadget player here. But we’ll probably need to see a new coach who has a better idea how to get him the ball in space.
• David Montgomery, who scored Chicago’s first touchdown and was given 14 carries in the first half, finished with just 21 on the day. Because we really needed to see Dalton throw the ball 41 times on Sunday. In the wind and rain on the first weekend in December. It just didn’t make sense to me.
• Up next for the Bears, more pain. But in front of a nationally televised audience:
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) December 6, 2021
• The Lions beating the Vikings got Detroit in the win column for the first time all year. But in the postgame, there was a reminder that some things are bigger than football:
Lions HC Dan Campbell dedicated the game ball to the Oxford community after Detroit earned their first victory of the season today.
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) December 5, 2021
• It’s nice to see old friends do good things at their new jobs. So, kudos to Brian Johnson — who began the week on the Bears’ practice squad and closed it by kicking a game-winning field goal against the Raiders:
BRIAN JOHNSON NAILS IT
— Washington Football Team (@WashingtonNFL) December 6, 2021
• Speaking of old kicker friends:
One day after their kicker missed two extra points, the Jets now are signing veteran kicker Eddy Pineiro to their active roster, per his agent @DrewJRosenhaus.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 6, 2021