Even a Special Night from Jakeem Grant Couldn’t Save the Chicago Bears

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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for Jakeem Grant and the Chicago Bears. No, they weren’t literally in a Charles Dickens novel. And the “worst of times” part certainly outlasted the best. Still, there was a point in this 45-30 loss where it seemed as though the Bears would remain competitive throughout the contest. 

Surely, we all refrained from entertaining the thought of a win.

But, by and large, 27 first-half points should be a precursor to at least half of that production in the second act.

The Chicago Bears Squandered a Special Night from Jakeem Grant

Pride Before the Fall

The Bears scored points on four of their first six drives and got a return touchdown from Grant ending the first half up 24-21. That should have been a good thing. Grant’s 97-yard return is the longest in team history. Except they allowed a late touchdown from Green Bay in which Aaron Rodgers marched them 75 yards in six plays that took only 48 seconds.

Chicago did come back with a quick drive of their own to get a field goal just before the half. But what could have been a 10-point lead was left even more razor by a decimated defense that gave up 439 total yards.

Matt Nagy was quoted at halftime as “having so much fun”.

The second half saw the Bears score just three points which came late in the fourth quarter while Green Bay had 24 points with 17 coming in the third quarter alone.

This loss drops their record to 4-9 and they have only narrowly avoided a seven-game losing streak thanks to the Detroit Lions. Nagy is now 1-7 against the Packers while Rodgers’ “ownership stake grew”. This is just the latest slap to the face of a proud fanbase whose team can only muster one-half of competitive football 14 weeks into the season.

As we move closer to the inevitable with Matt Nagy, questions have to be asked about Ryan Pace.

Thought to be a package deal, how will the resurgence of Robert Quinn – who is on the verge of breaking the franchise single-season sack record – or the promise of Justin Fields sway that outlook?

Fields Fluctuates

Justin Fields completed 18-of-33 passes for 224 yards with two passing touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which came on the Bears final drive of the game. He also carried the ball nine times for 74 yards to lead the team in rushing, toting it just one fewer time than David Montogmery who had 42 yards.

The 11th-overall pick also fumbled the ball again on a sack allowed by fellow rookie Teven Jenkins, forced into action at left tackle after starter Jason Peters had his ankle rolled up on.

Jenkins had four costly penalties.

Fields showed better decisiveness on many of his throws and runs. But the first interception was a bad one where he stared down his first read and allowed Packers corner, Rasual Douglas, to jump the pass and return it to the house.

He has 14 turnovers; 10 picks and four lost fumbles. Though he has fumbled the ball 10 times.

In his defense, five of his turnovers (and three of the total fumbles) came in one game – the 38-3 drubbing by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

Fields is the 30th rookie quarterback to throw at least 10 interceptions (to only six touchdowns) and have 10 fumbles in a season. He is the first since Daniel Jones in 2019 and joins a list that includes Andrew Luck and Hall-of-Famer Warren Moon but also a bunch of mediocre-to-bad passers.

Derek Carr and Carson Wentz are probably the best of the rest of that group. And. given what we know about both, it is imperative ownership gets the right coaching staff in the building to determine which subset of quarterback Fields ultimately falls into.

Taken for Grant-ed by Bears

What a waste of a terrific performance from Jakeem Grant. Specialized as the punt returner with Khalil Herbert returning kicks (well, save for a fumble the Bears recovered). He responded with 131 total yards and over 43 yards per return, including the record-setting 97-yarder. It was easily his best day as a returner since joining the Bears.

The diminutive Grant also caught a screen and took it 46 yards to paydirt.

Grant has seen an uptick in his offensive snaps the last couple of weeks as the Bears have dealt with injuries, peaking with over 63 percent last week versus the Arizona Cardinals.

He is one of several additions over the past few years that at least cast some doubt over what happens with Pace. Damiere Byrd, an addition from this past offseason, finally showed his speed with a 54-yarder of his own.

Quinn’s two sacks had to give fans a moment of pause to wonder what this defense would look like fully healthy with Khalil Mack on injured reserve and Akiem Hicks inactive. But that may very well be the issue; they are relying heavily on aging and expensive veterans. Hicks has recently spoken as if this will be his last year with the franchise.

That the Bears were so woefully thin in the secondary that they had to rely on Eddie Jackson in the slot yesterday and had Xavier Crawford get crossed up twice for touchdowns doesn’t help. But this metric on Jaylon Johnson’s coverage of Davante Adams does. These last four weeks certainly won’t lack for intrigue.

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