Sunday, May 22, 2022

12 Thoughts On The Bears’ Gut-Wrenching Loss To The Vikings

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Dhruv Koul shares his in-game reactions, thoughts and observations from the Vikings-Bears Monday Night Football game at Soldier Field.  Follow him on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.



CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears have had several nightmare weeks in 2021.  Like, seriously, the list is massive.

The week after Cleveland, when the Bears managed just one net passing yard in Justin Fields’ first career start.  (He was sacked nine times.)

The week after losing to Green Bay at Soldier Field.  Aaron Rodgers famously declared his ownership of the franchise after a game-clinching TD run.

The Halloween loss to Jimmy Garoppolo and San Francisco at Soldier Field, when Matt Nagy missed the game after testing positive for COVID-19.

The MNF loss in Pittsburgh after “penalties” snatched the game from the Bears.

The home loss to Tyler Huntley.

The week of Thanksgiving and the Patch.com report of Matt Nagy’s imminent firing.

Like, there have been a LOT of bad weeks for this franchise in 2021.

And now, there’s this week.  Along with the several players already on the list (including Eddie Jackson, Eddie Goldman, and others), all three coordinators went out with COVID (until Sean Desai was cleared pre-game).  Andy Dalton (backup QB) went on the list, raising concerns about Justin Fields.  And then, this came out Sunday:

The Bears’ secondary on the list:

I mean, sheesh.  This set up… Kindle Vildor (?) against Justin Jefferson (?!?!).

The Minnesota Vikings, coming to Soldier Field after winning on Monday Night Football last November, needed a win tonight to stay in the playoff race.  It seemed like the Bears were all set up to oblige, especially after they all but knocked Minnesota out last year with a road win of their own.

In the end, it was the same old story, as the Bears blew a game they absolutely could’ve and should’ve won.

I shared my in-game reactions, thoughts and observations below on the Bears’ final prime time battle of the season (and likely of Matt Nagy’s Bears coaching tenure).  Follow me on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.

Thoughts and Observations

1.  (PREGAME) — Want to know how bad it is for the Bears?  Check out their likely starting secondary tonight:

Against Justin Jefferson?  Whew.

On the offensive line, Teven Jenkins will start at LT and Germain Ifedi makes his return at RT.  I’d imagine the Bears want to give both players plenty of help tonight — for Justin Fields’ sake.

2.  Odd start to this game.  After the Bears actually somehow forced a punt on Minnesota’s opening possession, the Bears shot themselves in the foot.  A Teven Jenkins hold on the first snap (drink!) negated a strong run by David Montgomery.

A drop by Cole Kmet on the next play put it at second-and-long.  Eventually, the Bears had to punt.  The Vikings got excellent field position after the punt.

They then drove (easily) for 54 yards for a touchdown, with Kirk Cousins finding Justin Jefferson wide open twice — both on third downs — including the opening touchdown.  He beat Deon Bush (easily) on that touchdown.  7-0 Vikings.

3.  Justin Fields kept the ball on a 2nd and 11 and was very loose with it.  It resulted in an easy lost fumble, recovered by the Vikings in Bears territory.  This is his 11th fumble of the season — the fifth one that’s been lost.  It’s absolutely unacceptable.  He better get that fixed in the offseason.

And after the Bears’ defense held Minnesota to a FG to go up 10-0, the Bears drove all the way to the Vikings’ red zone before David Montgomery fumbled and lost the ball.  It’s ridiculous how few breaks this team gets.

4.  On the bright side, Thomas Graham Jr. has been excellent in coverage today for the Bears.  He’s broken up two plays so far — one that took away a MIN touchdown and another that forced a punt deep in MIN territory.  He’s been a very bright spot so far tonight.

5.  The Bears drove down the field again, setting up in the red zone in the same spot where Montgomery previously fumbled.  That, thanks to an outstanding catch by Monty on a weird 4th and 1 call by Nagy.  Of course, on the next play, Fields jumped and ate a sack on a screen pass to set up 2nd and 24.  (Yikes.  And he also fumbled and luckily recovered.)

The Bears got a FG, but that was another majorly rookie moment for Fields…

On the next drive, Robert Quinn got his 16th sack of the season (second of the game).  And then Kirk Cousins lofted an INT to Deon Bush which he returned to the Vikings’ 39-yard line.  And then the Bears gained just eight yards on three plays and opted to kick.

And then!

Seriously…

6.  What a horseshit start to the second half for the Bears.  As they opened the half on offense, two first downs later, Justin Fields took one of the worst sacks of the season to ruin the drive.

And then the Vikings scored a backbreaking touchdown on a drive where the refs legitimately carried Minnesota down the field on some of the dumbest calls I’ve seen.  A phantom “illegal low block” on Teez Tabor after a 3rd and 17 stop extended the drive.  It’s absolutely asinine.  The Bears are not a good team, but no team deserves this kind of nonsense.

7.  One of the worst fourth down play calls I’ve ever seen — a rollout out to the short side of the field with just no one open.  Fields ate the ball for a sack and the Bears turned it over on downs.

After the Bears’ defense made a spirited stop on the ensuing drive, Damiere Byrd muffed the punt for another turnover.

It’s absolutely comical at this point.  The Bears really, really should fire Matt Nagy after tonight’s game… the team has fought spiritedly but they are so, so undisciplined.  It’s been brutal to watch.

8.  Man, after the offense finally got going a little bit, the Bears still couldn’t score a touchdown in Vikings territory.  Fields drove them from inside their own 5-yard line to the Vikes’ 7 (aided by a couple legitimate penalties).  But alas, they couldn’t convert despite two great throws into the end zone by Fields.  Bears are just snakebitten tonight.

9.  And the Bears force another punt.  With the number of players the Bears have had out tonight on defense, this is a beautiful coaching job tonight by Sean Desai.  Incredible work.

10.  Another drive into the red zone, and another one with no points.  It’s exhausting to cover.

Fields needs to hit Mooney on third down.  He had him.  On 4th down, pressure made that throw a little high, but Damiere Byrd *has* to make that catch.

This team just can’t get out of its own way.

11.  This about summarizes it:

 

12.  We’ll see if Matt Nagy is still the Bears’ head coach tomorrow after a rough, rough game in prime time tonight.  Regardless, the Bears fly to beautiful Seattle to take on the Seahawks at Lumen Field on Sunday.  Russell Wilson against Justin Fields.  Should be fun.  Just, probably not fun for the Bears.  Happy holidays, Bears fans.

Early prediction: Seahawks 19, Bears 13.

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