Whose arrows are up and down after Bears' 23-16 win originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Week after week, the Bears continue to spend all 60 minutes desperately scratching and clawing for every point they score. Week after week, the production is lacking and the long-term concern grows. And somehow, week after week, they keep winning these games. After a solid-if-not-spectacular, wire-to-wire win, the Bears are 5-1 (!). Here’s whose arrows are up and down:
Arrow Up – Kyle Fuller
At this point, Fuller’s habit of getting called for questionable personal fouls on bone-crushing hits has become a weekly tradition. The PI call that negated an Eddie Jackson touchdown was brutal, but Fuller’s open field tackle on Teddy Bridgewater at the Bears’ two saved a touchdown; the Panthers would settle for a 20-yard field goal one (well called) play later. On a day when Jaylon Johnson flashed some rookie moments, Fuller’s stability on the other side went a long way to holding Teddy Bridgewater to 216 passing yards.
Arrow Down – Jaylon Johnson
Robbie Anderson kind of worked Johnson on Sunday. Johnson’s pass break up on Tashaun Gipson’s first quarter interception was a nice play, but the Panthers continued to go after the rookie CB, and with some success: Anderson finished with four catches and 77 yards. The 4th quarter PI call against Johnson – which moved the Panthers from the Bears’ 34 to the 1 and led directly to a touchdown – may have been a bit soft, but that’s life as a cornerback in 2020.
Arrow Up – Khalil Mack
There are few things more fun to watch than when Khalil Mack gets hot. After a “slow” start to the season, Mack’s looked every bit the All-Pro pass rusher that people have come to expect from him. He had another sack and two tackles for a loss in the first half alone, though his second half was a bit more quiet. The Bears probably won’t be pleased with how well Bridgewater was able to escape pressure, but Mack was great once again.
Arrow Down – Anthony Miller
Miller’s quiet day may not be particularly surprising at this point, but his continued struggles with some of the finer details of playing his position are: Miller could have easily converted a 3rd down reception in the first quarter, but decided to turn around and was tackled behind the marker. He then got back-to-back chances on the next drive with a pair of swing/screen passes, only to pick up a grand total of six yards.
Arrow Up – Cairo Santos
Santos’s 55-yarder at the end of the first half – the longest of his career – probably would have been good from 57-58. The kicker scored 11 of the Bears’ 23 points, going 5-5 (3 FGs, 2 XPs) on the day. The assumption has been that this job was Eddie Pineiro’s to lose whenever he returns from a groin injury, but the argument for sticking with Santos’ hot hand foot may have some serious weight behind it now.
Arrow Up Hon. Mention – Cole Kmet; Eddie Jackson; the punt team
Arrow Down Hon. Mention – The Bears’ attention to detail; Rashaad Coward (and most of the O-line TBH); that 2-minute drive to end the first half