The Chicago Bears and rookie quarterback Justin Fields got humbled with a not-so-gentle reminder of just where it is they stand in the division. Even if they’re better than the lowly Detroit Lions, and possibly (but not likely at this point). They are still well below the Green Bay Packers. Or, as Aaron Rodgers put it, they’re ”owned” by the Packers superstar quarterback.
Someone alert Virginia McCaskey.
The matriarch of the family has shared her displeasure with the current state of a rivalry that is so in name only.
Justin Fields and the Chicago Bears Got Humbled in Week 6 Loss
Bears Start, Fizzle Fast
The day started off fine. Chicago moved down the field on an eight-play, 54-yard touchdown run by rookie running back Khalil Herbert. They would finish the game with 140 total rushing yards and 277 yards as they fell to Green Bay 24-14. Justin Fields was less than good, completing 59.2 percent of his passes fr 175 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
He also carried the ball six times for 43 yards.
The interception came on a play everyone but the referees saw a Packers lineman jump offsides. Fields just chucked one up to the endzone — where none of his receivers were — and it found Green Bay safety Darnell Mooney instead.
On the day, the 11th-overall pick started off missing high and was often slow to pull the trigger.
No example of the latter was more egregious than when he missed a wide-open Allen Robinson deep and wound up scrambling for a short gain.
Other times he held the ball far too long, though many of the play designs often left him with very little in the way of an alternative. If the play call was for a deep shot, that’s what all of the pass-catchers were doing, going deep. It’s those plays where Fields has to survive when nothing is there.
He took several unnecessary hits, putting himself and the ball in harm’s way.
To his credit, he was very critical of his play after the game. And noted Green Bay didn’t necessarily do anything special to him, he just has to play better. We can all agree to that.
Especially considering the Packers had one healthy starter in the secondary among a litany of other injuries. It wasn’t the beating that he took against the Cleveland Browns. But that only adds to the disappointment of such a ho-hum day coming off of the last two weeks.
Justin Fields on the play where Allen Robinson was running wide open downfield:
"He's usually running off the corner on that, but that's a naked play and I just pulled up because the end was upfield, but that play is not designed to go to him."
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) October 17, 2021
We can’t just point the finger at the rookie and not at those around him. It seemed the biggest gaffe would be Mario Edwards Jr.’s unsportsmanlike penalty. It was drawn in response to Rodgers grabbing his facemask. But Edwards has had one such penalty in every game he’s played this season.
Alas, that was just the tip of the iceberg as things only got worse following the “free play that wasn’t”. The Bears punted on their next four drives as they couldn’t find the rhythm they displayed on the first possession.
They totaled 76 yards on those four drives.
That Fields touchdown to Darnell Mooney in the fourth quarter brought them to within three points is a testament to the defense’s effort.
However, safety Tashaun Gipson missed badly on Aaron Jones’ touchdown reception. Jaylon Johnson — who is having a strong second season — was a victim when he followed Davante Adams into the slot.
There was also a key drop by rookie Khalil Herbert and several penalties to stall out some of those drives in between Bears scores. It was fairly reminiscent of outings where Matt Nagy was calling plays before Bill Lazor took over. But we were assured it was indeed the offensive coordinator and not the head coach pulling the strings.
The defense will once again get blamed for breaking late. But they were on the field way too much for the bulk of this contest and their offense — from top to bottom — did little to help.
Herbert’s day was far more good than the one drop. Filling in for Damien Williams who was filling in for David Montgomery, the rookie ran for 97 yards on 19 carries and had another 15 yards on two catches. He routinely fell forward, gaining yards while being tackled even when the defense knew what to expect.
It’s a great sign with Montgomery out for the next three weeks at least and Williams missing this one after testing positive for COVID.
There could also be some future cap implications with Montgomery having one year left on his deal after this and the history of running backs on second contracts. We’re still a ways from that, but not so far as to ignore the possibility.
The defense also put up a valiant effort.
Rodgers finished with just 195 yards with Adams accounting for 89 of those. Coming in they averaged 248.2 passing yards and 115.8 receiving yards, respectively.
Khalil Mack, Robert Quinn, and Akiem Hicks also all got to Rodgers for sacks.
Things got ugly for the Bears once the Packers went with a quicker attack though, negating the impact of the revitalized front. It also served to protect their own banged-up offensive line. In addition to both starting corners and starting safety, they came in without their starting left tackle and lost their starting center during the game.
After the game, Nagy once again spoke of figuring out the “whys” behind the deflating loss, the 20th in 23 tries and 22nd victory for Rodgers. Nagy led the Bears to a victory over the Packers in his first season but has found different ways to lose ever since.
— NFL (@NFL) October 17, 2021
Here We Go
Things don’t figure to get any easier as the Bears go from handing the Packers their fifth-straight win to facing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that has won three straight with their only loss coming against a Los Angeles Rams team that waxed the Bears in the opener. Surely Tom Brady also remembers his night where he forgot it was fourth down.
This season he comes in leading the league in touchdown passes.
“The Bears need to figure out the offense” is the easiest thing to say. Yet they continuously struggle to actually accomplish it. Soon, acceptance over Fields’ rookie struggles will soon turn to impatience.
We’ll have to see whether ownership continues on this path. But we know that losing to Green Bay, at the very least, always gets their attention.
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