The Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers 27-10 on Sunday Night. It was an embarrassing but unsurprising loss for the Bears, as they dropped to 1-1 on the season. After the first drive, the offense looked slow and confused, and the defense couldn’t stop Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion, who rushed for over 190 yards combined. However, only Week Two, and the Bears have one win more than most thought they would. The Bears have a first year(and first time) GM and Head Coach and a young team at the start of a rebuild. There is bound to be some struggles, especially against such a good Packers team. There are some areas that need improvement and they were on display on Sunday Night.
First, they need to stick to the run/pass. David Montgomery had 122 yards on 15 carries against the Packers, but he barely got the ball throughout the second quarter. They tried to throw the ball when they shouldn’t have or put Khalil Herbert in when Montgomery should have gotten the ball. David had 38 yards in the opening drive alone. When they did throw the ball, it seemed to be unorganized and sloppy in all aspects(blocking, route-running, QB decision making). It seemed like the offensive coaching staff didn’t trust Justin Fields to throw the ball, with Fields having only 11 passing attempts. There were certain plays that Fields had to be better, like a 3rd and 9 where he took a checkdown to David Montgomery for just five yards. He had Equanimous St. Brown wide open for a touchdown and Dante Pettis open 20 yards down field. All together, the play calling needs to be more consistent and Fields needs to learn to trust himself and his playmakers.
Another improvement that needs to be made, which I touched on slightly before, is the consistency of the playcalling. On multiple instances, the playcalls seemed to go backward. A first down pass, followed by two runs on 2nd/3rd and long. It felt as though they could have worked off good plays but went the opposite direction. Matt Eberflus and Luke Getsy need to get better at playing with momentum. After a big run on first or second down, run a play action or a run pass option(RPO). Or after a few big passing plays, run the ball and keep the defense on its toes. Now, it could be chalked up to the fact that the Bears are now running a similar offense to the Packers, but they should have planned better than to mirror their plays. Another huge problem is the fact that Fields had only 11 pass attempts. He has only 28 on the season. This is unacceptable for this offense. Even if Fields takes the deep shots and turns it over, or can’t hit his receiver, they need the opportunity. They should be giving him at least 20 attempts a game, if not 25. This leads me into my third point about the receiving core.
Darnell Mooney through the first two games of the season has been targeted five times, caught the ball twice, and has tallied a whopping four yards. That’s two yards per game on one reception a game, on average. It is completely unacceptable for the Bears best receiver to only be targeted five times. He is the biggest playmaker on the team and needs to be treated as such. He needs to be included in the game plan in any way possible: screens, deep routes, short routes, run plays, end-arounds. Any play that gets the ball in his hands.
Another player not playing up to his skill is Roquan Smith. The All-Pro linebacker was pushed around like a shopping cart by the Packers offensive line. It seemed like he was missing tackles or trying to get the big play. Missing a tackle in favor of trying to get an interception. Going for the big money plays to get his contract numbers up. It ended up backfiring through, as Smith looked worse than he ever has in his career. It is only one game, but it is very disconcerting seeing Roquan Smith play like that. If the Bears want to win, and if Smith wants his money, he needs to step up and play hard.
Overall, there is a lot of improvement needed, but it can’t all come in the first year of the rebuild, much less the third week. However, the Bears have three very winnable games coming up; against the Houston Texans, New York Giants, and Washington Commanders. At 1-1, they’re already doing better than most people thought, even if it hasn’t been pretty. The Bears just have to shake off the struggles, fix the game plan, and come out and dominate the Texans. It is a great opportunity to showcase the skill of Fields and Montgomery and open up the play book. If the Bears can improve themselves enough, this could be the start of a good run, with a good chance at 4-5 wins in the next 6-8 weeks.