The Chicago Bears Struggles Continue as Need for Change Grows

Bears struggles
Spread the love

With about 2:30 remaining until the opening kick, Chicago Bears (4-10) rookie quarterback Justin Fields,  jogged to the 10-yard line at the South end of Soldier Field ahead of a Monday Night Football tilt against the Minnesota Vikings. A season that hasn’t quite gone how either team planned it still matters to the players and the fans.

Unfortunately, the home team is who we thought they were, to paraphrase the late Dennis Green. They couldn’t muster up enough offense to compete against a Vikings squad coming off of clinging onto a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers to snap a two-game skid.

The Chicago Bears Found New Struggles on Monday Night Football

Where to Start

Fields’ 11th and 12th fumbles of the season ended in mixed results as the Bears recovered the second. David Montgomery’s first of the year ended a drive that had matriculated its way down the field into the Vikings red zone. It effectively took points off of the board in a game where, as usual, they came at a premium.

The Bears started their first four drives and six of their first eight drives with run calls. They ran it pretty well overall too, with Montgomery averaging a better clip than Dalvin Cook on the night though the latter had 89 yards to the former’s 60.

Chicago had the advantage through the air on the evening. Fields threw for 285 yards to just 87 for Cousins.

But the Vikings didn’t need much, outgaining the Bears 132-115 on the ground.

More penalties extended drives for Minnesota and others that stalled out an already lethargic Bears offense. Matt Nagy was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty while Teven Jenkins received an unnecessary roughness penalty after pushing a defender off of Fields following a late hit the wasn’t called.

Vikings EDGE D.J. Wonnum had all of Minnesota’s sacks, getting home three times as Fields was caught in no man’s land trying to make something happen.

We are far beyond the point where the concerns over Fields’ play, and specifically the number of turnovers, are warranted. The question now is whether or not he can invalidate them under some new guidance.

No-Name Defense

Alright, it probably can’t be called a “no-name” defense when Robert Quinn led the way, getting his 15th and 16th sack putting him just two sacks from breaking Richard Dent’s record set back in 1984. It’s been quite the turnaround for Quinn following a dismal 2020 that saw him notch just two sacks all season.

Quinn bested that mark by Week 2 this season.

Beyond him, and Akiem Hicks who got a sack and continued to be very reflective and appreciative of his time here and the fans in his postgame comments, the Bears relied on a bunch of unknown players in their secondary.

After catching Minnesota’s first touchdown on their second drive of the game, Justin Jefferson was held to three catches and 35 yards the rest of the night.

Kindle Vildor and rookie Thomas Graham Jr did more than hold their own against the stellar sophomore.

Meanwhile, Deon Bush was on the receiving end of a Kirk Cousins interception that looked more like a punt than an errant pass. As The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain points out, the Bears offense was painfully close all night. Unfortunately, “close” doesn’t count in a game of inches and the Bears found themselves in far too many thief-and-longs, per their head coach.

Nagy gave credit to the players and Sean Desai for their efforts. He lauded the team in general for not phoning it in down the stretch of a lost season.

Bears Need Change as Struggles Continue

The Bears struggles we saw on Monday Night Football define a team that is lacking direction; being pulled in multiple directions. We also saw a leadership group that, despite the Vikings letting them stick around until the end, couldn’t crack a defense that just let the shell of Ben Roethlisberger throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns.

The Bears could muster just three points until a 10-play, 85-yard score to Jesper Horsted as time expired.

Cairo Santos also had a kick blocked, marking just his fourth miss of the season but all of them have come in the last six weeks. The caveat is that this was just his second miss inside of 50 yards this season.

Whoever comes in has pieces to work with. It will be interesting to see who stays and who goes. 

Three of their four best defensive players are on the wrong side of 30 and/or expensive. Their defensive backfield needs a facelift. And they still need to build up the offense around Fields. Allen Robinson, who was one of the many to miss this contest, is as good as gone after having a lackluster season while playing on the franchise tag.

Things looked as bleak as ever on the lakefront Monday night. It’s hard to say that a new voice will cure what ails this franchise. But a new direction is in order if for no other reason than the current one isn’t working.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images