The tank keeps chugging along.
Behind the strength of a quarterback change, the New York Jets — who dumped Zach Wilson for Mike White — put up 31 points to take down the Chicago Bears by a 31-10 score on Sunday in Week 12. Coming into the year, I thought there was a chance for the Bears to win more games at MetLife Stadium than both of the New York teams combined. Instead, the Jets and Giants cleaned up against Chicago’s football team. But if it is any consolation, the losses have the Bears angling toward the No. 2 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.
Hey, it’s something!
Did Justin Fields Show Progress in His Development?
No, because he didn’t play.
But in a way, yes.
Hear me out.
Fields didn’t play on Sunday due to the shoulder injury he suffered during last week’s loss to the Falcons. However, in not suiting up against the Jets, we got a chance to see what the Bears offense would look like without Fields. And it is what I would’ve expected it to be going into the game. Sloppy, sluggish, and unproductive. If you watched that game, you saw the difference a quarterback with Fields’ skill set can make with a subpar supporting cast. And if you didn’t watch the game, just know that the Bears put up just 292 yards of total offense, were on the field for just 56 plays, collected 14 first downs, and were limited to just 10 points.
To put those numbers in perspective, the Fields-led offense had been averaging 365 yards of offense, 67 plays per game, 21 first downs, and an average of 29.6 points in the previous five games.
So, for me, comparing the Trevor Semien-based numbers and the ones produced by Fields in recent weeks show growth in a different kind of way.
OK, But Did the Bears Win?
And it didn’t feel all that close.
The Jets might not have a bunch of household names. But that defense is relentless and they’re well-coached. You could really sense the talent deficiency on that side of the ball when you went from watching the Jets on defense to what the Bears were cooking with on that side of the ball. To be fair, the Bears were without safety Jaquan Brisker and cornerback Kyler Gordon. They’d also go on to lose safety Eddie Jackson to a foot injury during the game. It was a mess, to say the least.
On the other side of the ball, the Bears’ offense consisted mostly of getting David Montgomery touches (14 carries, 3 catches, 113 scrimmage yards) and that was about it.
Can We Call it a Tank Win?
Oh, gosh, yes!
It’s a Tank Win that puts into perspective why there is a vocal subset of Bears fans rooting for this in the first place. These Bears need help. And help can be found at the top of the 2023 NFL Draft boards. Go get it, Ryan Poles!
Because you care, here is where Sunday’s action leaves the top 10 of the 2023 NFL Draft order after the noon slate of games (per Tankathon):
- Texans (1-9-1)
- BEARS (3-9)
- Seahawks (via Broncos, 3-8)
- Raiders (3-7)
- Lions (via Rams, 3-7)
- Steelers (3-7)
- Panthers (4-8)
- Eagles via Saints (4-7)
- Texans (via Browns, 4-7)
- Cardinals (4-7)
We’ll update these standings tomorrow after the dust settles from the rest of today’s games.
MetLife Stadium is cursed.
Safety Eddie Jackson (foot), receiver Darnell Mooney (ankle), and defensive back Dane Cruikshank (hamstring) suffered leg injuries during the game. And considering the much-maligned MetLife Stadium turf, it’s hard not to point it out as a culprit. Meanwhile, right tackle Riley Reiff went down with a shoulder injury. Not turf related, but still bad news. And there was a moment in which Nathan Peterman was set to start because Trevor Siemian had an oblique issue that popped up during warmups.
Here’s hoping the Bears don’t have to return to this cursed stadium any time soon.
We’ll be on Obsessive Justin Fields Recovery Watch while keeping our eyes open for a number of injury updates elsewhere on the roster. As noted above, the Bears were bludgeoned by the injury bug at MetLife Stadium. Frankly, that the Bears didn’t go down with more injuries at first glance feels like a minor miracle.
And when the sun rises tomorrow, it will kick off yet another Bears-Packers week. This time, the Bears will be playing at Soldier Field — where (unlike MetLife Stadium) the field turf gets replaced at the behest of the head coach after his franchise got dragged for it publicly. Wonder what it would take for the folks in New Jersey to follow suit?