Bears lose opener, but there were some bright spots

  • Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods makes a catch for a touchdown as Bears defensive back Marqui Christian defends during the second half Sunday in Inglewood, Calif.

    Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods makes a catch for a touchdown as Bears defensive back Marqui Christian defends during the second half Sunday in Inglewood, Calif. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/12/2021 10:28 PM

With expectations lower than low, the Bears did not disappoint in the early going of their 34-14 loss to the Rams on Sunday night.

Flag! False start on Cole Kmet on third-and-1 from the Rams' 4-yard line.

 

Pick! Andy Dalton throws an interception on the next play, killing a promising opening drive.

Bomb! Rams QB Matthew Stafford connects with Van Jefferson on a 67-yard TD strike.

Game over, right? Well, not so fast.

After falling behind 13-0, the Bears actually showed some life thanks to timely defensive efforts by Tashaun Gipson and Akiem Hicks.

On the next drive -- one that cut the Rams' lead to 13-7 at the half -- Dalton looked like a capable quarterback, David Montgomery ran like a man possessed and the offensive line did a solid job run blocking and pass protecting.

The Bears trotted into the locker room with new life and visions of pulling off the day's biggest upset.

And guess what? It could have happened -- if the secondary understood how to cover and tackle.

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Instead, Stafford threw what had to be the easiest TD pass of his career on the fourth play of the second half -- a 56-yard rainbow to Cooper Kupp. That gaffe, combined with some horrendous tackling in the fourth quarter, enabled the Rams to win the season opener.

The biggest question mark coming into Sunday was how the much-maligned offensive line would perform. Answer: Quite well, actually.

The biggest question mark coming out of the game is what in the world is wrong with Eddie Jackson?

The fifth-year safety had a chance to touch Jefferson down on that long TD to open the game. But he ran right by.

Then, Jackson was nowhere to be seen (nor were any Bears) on Kupp's TD catch that made it 20-7.

The Bears must fix these issues or it's going to be a long, long season.

Having said that, let's pause here for a second to take a deep breath and remember that this was just one loss against a Super Bowl-caliber team.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

While it would be easy to blast Jackson for his lackluster play, Dalton for a couple of mistakes or to rip coach Matt Nagy for some bizarre play calling (again), there were plenty of things to like Sunday.

• First and foremost, Montgomery (16 carries, 108 yards) looked terrific. He's become an all-around back, one that will make the Bears doubly dangerous once Justin Fields takes over full time.

• Other than a few hiccups, Dalton (27-for-38, 206 yards) looked solid.

• Fields saw some playing time, completing both of his passes and adding a 3-yard TD run in the third quarter. He should be on the field even more next week.

• The offensive line -- which lost LTs Jason Peters and Larry Borom to injury -- paved the way to 134 rushing yards on 26 attempts, good for a 5.2 average.

All of this against perhaps the best defense in the league.

Now, there will be plenty of whining and moaning Monday, mostly because we live in a knee-jerk world. After every NFL loss the world is ending, and after every victory a playoff berth is imminent.

So while 0-1 isn't ideal, the Bears ought to beat the Bengals next week, lose to the Browns and beat the Lions. By then Fields might be the guy and leading the 8-9 Bears to a division championship.

So don't fret. Yet.

A lot can happen in the next 16 weeks. So buckle up and try to enjoy what promises to be a bumpy ride.

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