3 and Out: Defensive lapses cost Bears dearly in season-opening loss to Rams

                                                                                                                                                                                                   
  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp hauls in a pass on his way to scoring a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Bears, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif.

    Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp hauls in a pass on his way to scoring a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Bears, Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. Associated Press

 
By Kyle Nabors
Shaw Media
Updated 9/12/2021 10:37 PM

The Bears lost their season opener to the Los Angeles Rams, 34-14, on Sunday night in Inglewood, California. Here's what you need to know:

Three moments that mattered

 

1. Nobody's home: Somehow the Bears found themselves trailing only 13-7 at halftime despite being clearly outplayed. It didn't last long as a blown coverage allowed Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp to get behind the defense for a 65-yard touchdown early in the third quarter. This Bears offense isn't currently capable of consistently playing from behind, but defensive lapses caused the Bears to play catch-up all evening.

2. No stopping Aaron Donald: Trailing 27-14, the Bears were once again threatening to make it a one-score game early in the fourth quarter until Donald burst past Cody Whitehair and right into Andy Dalton, who actually managed to stay upright until Justin Hollins cleaned things up for a 15-yard sack. A few plays later, the Bears failed to convert on fourth-and-15.

3. A career first: Justin Fields' 3-yard touchdown run with 4:20 remaining in the third quarter did little to determine the final outcome, but let's not kid ourselves, Bears fans want to see more of that. Tight end J.P. Holtz also deserves props for a terrific lead block.

Three things that worked

1. David Montgomery runs wild: It would have been nice if Montgomery carried the ball more than three times in the first quarter, but he still totaled 57 yards on just those three attempts. He finished with 108 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. Simply put, Montgomery was electric.

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2. Managing just fine: Did Dalton do anything to excite Bears fans? Not really. But minus a red-zone interception, Dalton did what the Bears want him to do: work as a dependable game manager. Of course, that won't matter much if the Bears are consistently playing from behind.

3. Robert Quinn shows something: Akiem Hicks got the love from the NBC cameras for a sack in the first half, but Quinn's pressure off the right edge created the sack. They were each eventually credited with half a sack. Quinn fared well in the opener, a positive sign after an extremely disappointing 2020 season.

Three things that didn't

1. Injuries up front: Veteran left tackle Jason Peters made one very bad play, which resulted in a strip sack, and one very good play when he absolutely laid out a blitzer. But he left in the first half with a quad injury. His replacement, Larry Borom, left in the second half with an ankle injury. Elijah Wilkinson, who barely made the 53-man roster after struggling all preseason, finished the game at left tackle.

2. Still nobody home: The Bears secondary was in shambles all night. The coverage breakdown on Cupp's long touchdown wasn't the only gaffe. Rams receiver Van Jefferson was also able to score a 67-yard touchdown in the first quarter when he went to the ground after making a catch only for neither Tashaun Gipson or Eddie Jackson to touch him. Inexplicable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

3. Fields' usage: Getting your future quarterback some reps is understandable. Bringing Fields into the game to hand it off on jet sweeps or calling inside shovel passes is not a good use of his skill set.

What's next?

The Bears return to Chicago for their home opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, who started their season Sunday with a 27-24 overtime victory against the Minnesota Vikings.

The two teams last played in Dec. 2017 when then-rookie Mitch Trubisky led the Bears to a 33-7 win over Andy Dalton and the Bengals.

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