Arkush: It would never get 2 thumbs up, but Bears film not as ugly as you think

  • Rams defensive end Aaron Donald sets his sights on Bears quarterback Andy Dalton Sunday, but for the most part, the Bears kept Donald in check.

    Rams defensive end Aaron Donald sets his sights on Bears quarterback Andy Dalton Sunday, but for the most part, the Bears kept Donald in check. Associated Press

  • Bears linebacker Khalil Mack was the recipient of several double-teams in Sunday's loss to the L.A. Rams.

    Bears linebacker Khalil Mack was the recipient of several double-teams in Sunday's loss to the L.A. Rams. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 9/15/2021 10:23 AM

At the end of the day, three plays -- the long touchdowns to Van Jefferson and Cooper Kupp with the blown coverages, and the Bears' failed 4th-and-15 adventure with 10:00 to play -- clearly dictated the rhythm and possibly even the outcome of the Bears' 34-14 loss to the Rams.

Lost in the fury with safeties Tashaun Gipson and Eddie Jackson for not touching Jefferson down around the 17-yard line is the coverage was also blown somewhere near the line of scrimmage.

 

But there were 116 other plays, and the Bears actually matched the Rams on those, and even outplayed them for portions of the game.

A loss is a loss, you can't re-spin that, but David Montgomery was not the only player who played well.

Quarterbacks: With a game plan clearly designed to limit the impact of Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, Andy Dalton was for the most part efficient. He got the ball out too quick for the Rams to disrupt plays, but also too quick to get anywhere near a chunk play or use the Bears' newfound speed. While neither was entirely his fault, the interception and fumble can't happen. Justin Fields did all that he could with his five snaps. Grade: C+

Running backs: It doesn't really matter what Damien Williams did, and he did contribute in the passing game, Montgomery was the best player on the field for either team. Grade: A

Wide receivers: This is hard to judge because they weren't given the whole route tree to work with and they were in three-wide sets most of the night, all trying to operate within 12 yards of the line of scrimmage. If it looked like Dalton was throwing into traffic most of the time it's because he was. It's also a bit of a puzzle why Damiere Byrd got 36 snaps to Marquise Goodwin's 26 when Goodwin is a more dangerous weapon. It wasn't a straight matchup, but when it happened, Allen Robinson lost to Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey more than he won. Grade: B-

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Tight ends: Clearly the Bears have decided Cole Kmet is going to be featured. He did well other than a costly false start on the play prior to the Dalton pick. J.P. Holtz showed why he's still around with a great pull and lead on the Fields' TD. One of the biggest mysteries was why Jimmy Graham only got 14 snaps and two targets. Grade: B

Offensive line: Run blocking was strong and the interior played very well, James Daniels in particular. Germain Ifedi was up and down, and Jason Peters struggled early but was settling down when he got hurt. Larry Borom looked good for a few plays before he got hurt, and Elijah Wilkinson just isn't a left tackle. For the most part, though, they didn't let Donald beat them. Grade: B

Defensive line: Akiem Hicks wasn't dominant but definitely made his presence felt, mostly positively although he had one very dumb roughing call. Angelo Blackson was effective in relief of Eddie Goldman, and Khyiris Tonga looked like he belonged with his first 13 NFL snaps. Bilal Nichols could have shown up more. Grade: B

Linebackers: Something is missing with Khalil Mack right now, but he still commanded multiple blockers most of the time. Robert Quinn was better than most of last year but still not impactful, and newbie Jeremiah Attaochu matched Quinn's 33 snaps but didn't do much. Roquan Smith played very well, and Alec Ogletree was effective at times until he got a 15-yard flag. Grade: B

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Secondary: Jaylon Johnson actually played very well, and Kindle Vildor showed enough to look forward to more, but the safety and nickel play were awful on more than just the two big blown coverages. You can't win a game with that many mental errors. Grade: D

Coaching: I didn't love the game plan, I hated the fourth-and-15 decision and call, and while Sean Desai is a rookie and deserves the benefit of the doubt, the number of mental mistakes on defense were really disturbing. Grade: C-

@Hub_Arkush

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