Bears film study: Rams' game was affirmation of prior problems
The Monday nighter in L.A. wasn't pretty, but the good news is the Bears are playing a third-place schedule this year, so the playoffs are still very realistic. Here's a look at the coaches film:
Blast from past
After watching this one again, an appropriate title would be the Leonard Floyd Game. Not sure if the former Bears' first-round pick was extra fired up or the Rams just demonstrated the best way to use him.
The Floyd domination hit home in the first quarter during the Bears' field-goal drive. Remember, the Bears drove to the LA 32-yard-line and seemed to have momentum to score the tying touchdown. But then Floyd happened.
On first down, the Bears tried a jet sweep to Cordarrelle Patterson and they had this one blocked pretty well -- except Cole Kmet couldn't hold off Floyd and he forced Patterson out of bounds after a 2-yard gain.
On second down, they ran David Montgomery up the middle (conservative play-calling, I know). This one was also pretty well-blocked. The problem was, Jimmy Graham was supposed to hurry across the formation and block Floyd on the right end. He never got there because Aaron Donald blew past Bears left guard Rashaad Coward. Graham bumped into Donald, Floyd was never blocked and dropped Montgomery after a 3-yard gain.
On third-and-5, the Rams rushed five and the Bears couldn't deal. Floyd blew past right tackle Robert Massie, Donald got around Coward without much trouble and a safety ran unblocked up the middle. Nick Foles had no time and dumped it short to Darnell Mooney for a 3-yard game. Cue the field goal team. If Foles had another second, he might have seen Anthony Miller open deeper across the middle for what easily could have been a touchdown. Floyd later recorded two sacks.
For the most part, the Rams game was an affirmation of past complaints. In the 2019 offensive review, we learned the biggest problem was not Mitch Trubisky, but the offensive line. Against good teams, the line has really struggled and now the Bears may have to play without the best of the group, center Cody Whitehair, against the Saints.
There's not much else to say about the offensive line, just a lot of below average NFL talent. The best way to combat this is to run play action, throw on first down, move the pocket, etc. But head coach-playcaller Matt Nagy still seems to be locked into the old-time, "Got to establish the run" mentality and it's not working against good teams.
As mentioned before, all he has to do is watch the opponent. Other teams respect the Bears defense, so they typically find creative ways to keep the pass rush at bay. The Rams went heavy on bootlegs and jet sweeps, and were able to stay out of third-and-long for the most part.
Another reason the Rams loved the sweeps was the Bears' 5-2 formation. If someone runs wide and gets past the outside linebacker while the defensive backs are in coverage, there's no one there to make a play. I'll say it again: Bring back the 4-3.
That interception in the end zone was an illustration of the Bears' tough calls. They kept Montgomery and tight end Demetrius Harris in to block, so Foles had time. But he only had two receivers to throw to and neither was open. Foles should have launched it out of the end zone.
The fourth-and-one pitch to Patterson had a chance to work. Problem was, they were counting on wide receiver Javon Wims to block linebacker Terrell Lewis and he couldn't do it. Why wasn't Harris in that spot against a linebacker? Coward pulled and couldn't find anyone to block, which didn't help.
The fourth-and-four near the goal line was a case of the Rams being committed to pressure and the Bears offensive line getting overwhelmed. Germain Ifedi and backup center Sam Mustipher basically whiffed on a double-team of Donald, while Floyd flew past Massie once again.
On the second Foles' interception, he didn't have much time, but threw into a crowd. Miller was wide open over the middle.
Ugliest play: One contender is the 34-yard pass to Rams tight end Johnny Mundt. Linebacker Danny Trevathan had an unfortunate missed tackle after the catch, but even worse, both Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson stopped nearby thinking the tackle was made. The two safeties ended up standing and watching as Mundt rumbled downfield.
Another is Robert Woods' 24-yard run on a jet sweep after the end zone interception. After the snap, Jared Goff turned his back to the defense, handed it to Woods and many of the Bears didn't know he had the ball. While Woods was running down the sideline, several Bears were ready to pounce on running back Darrell Henderson, who faked a dive up the middle.
Words of wisdom: Before your next tweet about giving Kmet all the Harris snaps, take a good look at Kmet's blocking. It needs work.