Number One overall pick SECURED, who are we drafting? From the start, it was the Chicago Bears’ plan to lose this game in order to try and grab the first overall pick. Quarterback Justin Fields was inactive for the game, an indicator that the Bears weren’t seriously competing to win against the Minnesota Vikings this afternoon.
As expected, the offense struggled mightily without most of the starters, although a couple of names stood out. Tight end Cole Kmet made some solid grabs and showed his tough running; he should have an increased role next year. Rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. showed out his speed and agility while he tiptoed down the sideline for a 42 yard rushing touchdown.
Many of the starters on defense were inactive or played very few snaps as well, understandably getting carved up all afternoon. Despite being one of the worst defenses this season, the Bears have a few young cornerstone players that are the staples of the future roster.
Overall Reaction: Chicago Bears fall to Minnesota Vikings 13-29
It’s hard to believe that in the 17 postgame reactions I’ve written this season, I was only able to talk about winning three times. However, the big story today was the race for the #1 overall pick against the Houston Texans. The Bears’ three wins were good (or bad) enough to obtain the #1 overall pick, narrowly edging out the Texans for the #1 pick. Whether the Bears front office decides to trade or use the pick, this surely puts the team in position for a more successful season next year.
On the offensive side of the ball, it seems clear that the direction the Bears must take is to support franchise quarterback Justin Fields with more weapons and protection. The current pass catchers in Darnell Mooney, Chase Claypool, Equanimeous St. Brown and Cole Kmet are solid, but not exceptional. Wide receivers N’Keal Harry, Byron Pringle, and Dante Pettis were also good bench receivers, but still lacked the ability to step up to be a consistent part of the air attack. The Bears should target a big passing threat for Fields. On the ground, running back David Montgomery’s future is still unclear with the Bears, especially with Khalil Herbert’s emergence this year. Either way, the Bears will be happy to have Montgomery back for a 1-2 punch or just to lean more on Herbert. However, the biggest problem this year was the blocking. Fields barely got any time to pass, and was sacked way too many times. The Bears must improve their offensive line to give Fields more opportunities to make plays.
Defensively, there are a surprising amount of young players the Bears can count on next season. Leading the pack include star cornerback Jaylon Johnson and breakout rookie linebacker Jaquan Brisker, while other solid rookies Jack Sanborn and Kyler Gordon showed potential to be part of the future as well. Pass rushing was also a big weakness for the Bears, especially after making the Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn trades. Looking to establish a more menacing presence up front, the Bears will probably look to stack up their porous defense, as they usually tend to do historically.