The Chicago Bears played one of their worst games of the 2021 season against the Baltimore Ravens. That is saying something. Yet in spite of all that, they still had the game in their hands with under two minutes to play. All Robert Quinn, Roquan Smith, and the defense needed was one stop to get back in the win column and save their season. Instead, backup Tyler Huntley sliced through them in just over a minute to score a backbreaking touchdown. The second such collapse for the defense in as many weeks.
It was the sort of loss that defines a season. Here the Bears were handed a golden opportunity and they somehow found a way to choke on it. Quinn was the best player on the field. His 3.5 sacks showcased a dominant performance from the veteran pass rusher. To see it wasted like that after the offense, despite its obvious struggles, giving them a chance to close it out again? The look on his face in the postgame press conference said it all.
He was visibly disgusted and completely at a loss.
While Quinn admitted there were a number of reasons the team lost, he couldn’t seem to get over that last drive. It was right there. The Bears had a four-point advantage. All they had to do was not give up a touchdown. Then through a series of awful miscues they did exactly that. In his mind, the blame can’t go anywhere else but on the shoulders of the defense. They had the opportunity and they blew it.
He wasn’t the only one. Smith, who finished the game with a career-high 17 tackles, was spotted walking to the sideline after the Ravens TD in a clear rage. This is something the linebacker has noticed happening with alarming regularity for the past month. To see it happen again, this time to a backup in his first start? It’s hard to blame him.
Robert Quinn is one of the best stories of 2021
People thought he was one of the worst free agent signings in Bears history after last year. A season where he managed just two sacks. Now through just 10 games, he has 10 sacks. Just an incredible comeback year for the longtime pass rusher. He now sits at 89 sacks for his career. If he finishes strong, there is a chance he could go into next season with a shot at hitting the 100 mark. Something only 37 players in NFL history have officially achieved.
It is such a shame that his big rebound comes in the same year the Bears defense experiences a major downturn in effectiveness. The unit is aging and banged up. They’re lacking in some key areas. Particularly cornerback. This is why they can’t close anymore. The talent either isn’t there or wasn’t what it was a year or two ago.
Combined with a listless and poorly-coached offense?
That is how you get a 3-7 football team. The only thing left to do is salvage what they get and begin the process of figuring out what they have for 2022. Robert Quinn should be part of that picture given how he’s played. Seven games remain for others to make their case. The Bears have several in-house free agents to sort through. A safe bet many of them won’t be back after this year.