Friday, June 2, 2023

15 Thoughts On The Bears’ Inexcusable, Fireable Loss To The Ravens


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

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bears had some return to Halas Hall after their bye week.  After a horrid ending in Pittsburgh sent them to the off-week at 3-6 instead of 4-5, it was expected the bye would get them healthier for the Baltimore Ravens today at Soldier Field.


Khalil Mack was put on season-ending injured reserve, needing foot surgery.  Akiem Hicks was out for today’s game.  Same with Eddie Jackson and Allen Robinson with hamstring injuries.

In other words:

But not so fast!  On Saturday, the Ravens tweeted that QB Lamar Jackson was being placed on the injury report again with a non-COVID-19 illness.  And on Sunday, it was confirmed that Jackson would not suit up at Soldier Field.  Same with Hollywood Brown.

Follow all that?  Whew.

The Bears desperately needed this game.  Not just for the playoff picture and for this regime’s future status, but also to build on Justin Fields’ success the last two games — his second half against Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football essentially serving as his coming out party.

In the end, the Bears absolutely imploded in the final minute to lose to Tyler Huntley at Soldier Field and dropped to 3-7.

I shared my in-game reactions, thoughts and observations from the game below.  Follow me on Twitter @DhruvKoul to continue the conversation.

Thoughts and Observations

1a. (PREGAME) — The reality is no matter the situation at QB for the Ravens, the Bears need to stop Baltimore’s diverse and prolific rushing attack.  While they suffered two huge injuries before the season, the running game has functioned well, and they got Latavius Murray — a big, bruising RB — back for this game.  The Bears have struggled to stop the run a little bit the last few games, and without Mack and Hicks, they *need* to force Tyler Huntley to throw the ball in precarious situations.  Otherwise, we’re looking at a colossally lost opportunity for Chicago.

1b. (PREGAME) — Likewise, the Bears don’t have Allen Robinson in this game.  It’ll be fascinating to watch how Fields can move the ball without Robinson taking away attention.  The Bears need to prove it if they can’t re-sign A-Rob in the offseason.  Here’s the first test.

2. So, the first drives for both teams were, um, interesting.  After Tyler Huntley led the Ravens to a couple of first downs, a Robert Quinn sack (after a botched big screen attempt) forced a punt.

The Bears took over, and marched down the field with some very interesting and fun play calling.  And then inside the red zone, things went to hell.  A toss-sweep on 3rd and 5 lost six yards, and then Cairo Santos sailed his FG attempt from 40 yards out wide left.  After all that, 0-0.

3. Robert Quinn is taking his Renaissance year very seriously.  Having to step up with Mack and Hicks out, he’s sacked Huntley twice in the first quarter, ending both Ravens drives so far.  He’s been excellent.  And the Bears really need him.

4. Man, no one wants to score in this game.  The Bears went three-and-out on their second drive.  After a timely sack by Kindle Vildor (nicely designed blitz) forced the Ravens to punt, the Bears were on the move again when Fields fumbled on a sack.  That was right after a big play, too.  It remains 0-0, midway through the second quarter.  Fields needs to protect the ball better than that, even though the protection fell apart.

5. The Ravens are figuring out how to move the ball now.  They marched down the field to kick a field goal and take a 3-0.  I don’t understand why Duke Shelley and Kindle Vildor have been on Mark Andrews, but he’s winning those battles.  And Huntley is settling down.

6. Dismal football from the Bears’ offense.  Darnell Mooney dropped two passes on the Bears’ attempt at a drive before halftime — including a clutch third-down attempt over the middle that would’ve given the Bears the ball in Ravens territory.

The Ravens took the ball and finished the half with a very impressive march inside the 10-yard line.  Tucker kicked a FG to make it 6-0 at halftime.  Brutal.  Chicago gets the ball after halftime, but this is awful football from Chicago.

7. Oh man, the Bears’ game has gone from bad to worse.  After the Bears got stopped near midfield on their first drive of the second half (a play where Fields should’ve checked down to David Montgomery for an easy first down), Fields left the game with an injury.  It’s not clear what the injury is, but he headed to the locker room after a brief stint in the injury tent.  Andy Dalton coming into the game.

It’s a rib injury for Fields and he’s questionable to return…

8. Two plays.  It took two plays for the Bears to go 83 yards for a touchdown with Andy Dalton at QB.  A play-action crosser to Jimmy Graham went for a big gain, and then a WR-screen to Mooney went for a big time touchdown.

And just like that, the Bears lead 7-6.

9. Oh my word.  The Bears tried a deep shot on 3rd and 1 near midfield.  Mooney was just OOB trying to catch it.  Then Matt Nagy’s head set went out, setting up confusion.  Then they called a timeout.  Then they went for it — with a David Montgomery Wildcat — and they were stopped short near midfield.  Montgomery made a bad read.  (Oh, and there was an offensive hold, on top of all that.)

The Ravens have a legendary kicker and need just about 15 yards to get into FG range, down one.  Awful mess.

10. So I tweeted this as the Ravens got near the red zone:

And then!

Absolutely incredible play by Tashaun Gipson.  Bails out a massively awful sequence from Matt Nagy and the offense.

(FWIW, the Bears punted right after.)

11. Ravens take the lead.  This awful football game has the Ravens ahead with about 3.5 minutes left at Soldier Field, 9-7.  Awful showing by this coaching staff.

12. Some real heartburn on this final drive by Andy Dalton. He was off on several throws, including a wobbler on 4th and 1 to Mooney, who stumbled.

And then on 4th and 6, after a high throw to Mooney that was almost a miracle catch, a Jason Peters false start made it 4th and 11.

And then Dalton lofted a back-foot deep ball to a wide open Marquise Goodwin for a touchdown.  This is all actually happening in this football game.  Bears lead 13-9 after they couldn’t get the two-point conversion.

Absolutely incredible.

13. The Ravens had 1:41 left to score a touchdown to try to steal this road game without Lamar Jackson at Soldier Field.

And the Bears’ defense failed again.  Absolutely horrendous showing in the final minute — terrible, terrible, terrible.

14. This is it.  This is the game that should fire Matt Nagy.  It really should happen tonight, at this stage.

15. The Bears have a short week as they head to Detroit on Thanksgiving Day.  The last time the Bears played on Thanksgiving, Mitch Trubisky beat David Blough (!) in 2019.  The Bears can’t lose to the Lions, can they?  (But with Justin Fields’ status extremely precarious, and after that horrid loss to Tyler Huntley, who really cares?)

Early prediction: Lions 17, Bears 13.

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