3 and Out: Browns wallop Bears, sack Justin Fields 9 times
The Bears' offense looked completely overwhelmed during a 26-6 loss to the Cleveland Browns on the road Sunday. Here's what you need to know:
Three moments that mattered
1. So crazy, it's true: With 5:36 left in the third quarter, an 18-yard completion from Justin Fields to Allen Robinson was the first passing first down for the Bears on the game. The drive was aided by a gift defensive pass interference call. At the time of the flag, the Bears had 51 total yards of offense. After the drive stalled at the Browns' 4-yard-line, Matt Nagy opted for a field goal -- instead of an (unlikely) conversion attempt -- to make it a one-possession game, 13-6 Browns, late in the third quarter.
2. Hunt went feasting: Following the Bears' field goal, the Browns teed off on the Bears' defense, which was obviously losing steam. Kareem Hunt finished the job with a 29-yard score to make it 20-6 six seconds into the fourth quarter. It, clearly, was the worst-case scenario for Bears head coach Matt Nagy, who was likely hoping for his defense to hold up and give his offense a semblance of a chance.
3. He said it: With 14:30 left in the fourth quarter, perhaps no comment was more entirely indicting of the state of the Bears' offense -- I'll include Nagy here, too -- than from FOX play-by-play Kevin Burkhardt. Robinson drew a holding penalty, which Burkhardt followed with: "At this point, you barely feel like the Bears can run a play without getting sacked, right? ... They haven't done or showed you that they can do anything." That's squarely on Nagy.
Three things that worked
1. Bears sack attack: No doubt, the Bears' best positional unit has been the defensive line three weeks into the season. Even without starter Eddie Goldman at nose tackle, Khyiris Tonga, Akiem Hicks and Bilal Nichols have done exceptionally. The defense converged for 5 sacks on Baker Mayfield. Robert Quinn, for as much flak as he deserved for his lack of production last year, looks healthy and is finally legitimizing himself opposite Khalil Mack. Quinn had 1.5 sacks.
2. Next man up: While Mack was initially slowed with a foot injury (he did return in the second half), Trevis Gipson put in some solid snaps in relief. The stat sheet won't say much, but he'll be an important piece moving forward should Mack miss any significant time down the road for anything.
3. Santos is Aces: One can probably tell we're stretching for positives at this point. Cairo Santos hit his 30th consecutive goal, also an ongoing Bears record. Per Bears public relations, that is currently fourth longest among active kickers. While that was a position that was tumultuous, at best, for awhile post Robbie Gould, Santos has obviously been one of the main constants for this team.
Three things that didn't
1. Nagy's scheme is what, exactly? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to see what Fields brings as an athlete, and none of Nagy's game plan showcased it; including no boots or designed runs until late in the second quarter. The Browns had 224 total yards to the Bears' 41 at the break. By game's end, it was 420-to-47. The proof is in the pudding, folks.
2. Moving the sticks: At the half, the Bears had 2 total first downs to 17 by the Browns and were 0-for-4 on third down. For the game, they had 6 first downs (compared to 26 by the Browns) and were 1-for-11 on third down. Why is Jimmy Graham on this team? How does Allen Robinson leave with 2 catches?
3. Paging Juan Castillo: The Browns are loaded up front -- Myles Garret's 4.5 sacks on Sunday are just the tip of the iceberg -- but the line gave Fields no chance. There's sacks and then there's coverage sacks. Of the nine -- nine!! -- total surrendered, arguably one is because of Fields. Jason Peters is a future Hall of Famer, but Garrett dominated him. Everyone was dominated.
The Bears host Jared Goff and the Detroit Lions as Soldier Field in Week 4. Kickoff is at noon. The Bears split the regular season series last season, but they'll be seeing a lot of new faces.