Grading the Bears: Offensive rhythm, defensive gap integrity the difference in loss to Packers

  • Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields looks for a receiver during their game against Green Bay Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago.

    Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields looks for a receiver during their game against Green Bay Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, at Soldier Field in Chicago. Mark Busch/mbusch@shawmedia.com

 
 
Updated 10/19/2021 6:32 PM

There was the first quarter the Bears dominated, and then there were the final three quarters in which they were outplayed and outcoached.

The transition in the second quarter wasn't instant, but the Packers adjusted to what the Bears did so well early.

 

The Bears totaled 96 of their 277 yards of offense (35%) in the first quarter, while the Packers notched just 29 of 323 yards of total offense (10%).

The Bears were 2 for 4 on third down before going 2 for 9 the rest of the way, while the Packers were 0 for 2 and finished 2 for 6. While the Bears notched two of their three sacks in the first 10 minutes, the Packers had a sack on each of the Bears' two second quarter possessions, killing both drives, and two more on the Bears' final possession of the game, never allowing a comeback to unfold.

Quarterback: Justin Fields again made a couple special throws and had by far his best game with his legs. But at what point do we start grading him on who he is now and what he's doing to win or lose games as opposed to his development? As with most rookie quarterbacks, he isn't processing things fast enough, is holding the ball too long and even his commitment to pulling the ball down and taking off isn't happening fast enough or being fully committed to. Grade: C+

Running backs: Khalil Herbert was really good again in all phases of the game, and I'm not sure what else you can ask of him. But the coaches obviously weren't comfortable with Ryan Nall or Artavis Pierce. They had zero touches, and the one-two punch that's been so successful was missing. Grade: B

Receivers, tight ends: Calling a Cole Kmet target on the third play of the game was nice. It led to his best day of the year. A connection between Fields and Allen Robinson is growing. But other than Darnell Mooney, one nice quick hitter to Marquise Goodwin and a bad drop by Damiere Byrd, the entire wide receiving group other than those first three was M.I.A. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor used an expression last week to describe Fields learning what "NFL open" is. Some of it is on Fields, but not all. Grade: C+

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Offensive line: This group continues to make strides. There were no false starts and a holding call on Sam Mustipher was ticky-tacky. The four sacks are concerning, but three were as much on Fields as the line. The run blocking was again good, and Jason Peters had his best game. Grade: B

Front 7: You should beat Aaron Rodgers when you hold him to 323 yards of offense and just 169 net passing. The Packers' 24 points matched the least they've scored in a win this season. The Bears' run defense fell apart and gap integrity was an issue much of the last three quarters. The Packers had 119 yards of total offense (37%) came on four of their 57 plays with runs by Aaron Jones (28 yards), A.J. Dillon (36) and Rodgers (16) and a 41-yard catch from Davante Adams. The Bears were very good most of the day, but not good enough. Grade: B

Secondary: Rodgers was efficient, but his production was easily his least of the season. Obviously the Bears' secondary did a lot right. It was also Adams' quietest day in weeks, and the rest of the Packers' receivers did next to nothing. Tashaun Gipson did have one bad missed tackle, and Jaylon Johnson got caught too far off Adams on his one big play. Grade: B

Special teams: Jakeem Grant is exciting every time the ball is kicked. The coverage was good all day, and Pat O'Donnell dropped three of his four punts inside the 20. Grade: B

Coaching: The first quarter was great, and while the defense played poorly against the run, it played well enough to win. The Packers' staff, however, made excellent adjustments in game after that first quarter and the Bears had no answers. Grade: C+

@Hub_Arkush

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