The Chicago Bears (3-8) were defeated 27-24 by the Atlanta Falcons (5-6), where all three phases had their struggles. It marked Chicago’s fourth straight loss.
The Bears blew a 17-7 lead in the first half, where the Falcons scored 17 unanswered points to tie things at halftime. While the second half has usually been Chicago’s bread and butter, that wasn’t the case on Sunday. The Bears were held to just seven points. And, to make matters worse, quarterback Justin Fields suffered a left shoulder injury that could have big implications moving forward this season.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what we saw during the game and how we graded the Bears in this loss.
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The Bears offense has been a straight A student over the last month, but that wasn’t the case against the Falcons. They had their worst performance since that mini-bye week, although it wasn’t actually terrible. That’s what happens when you’ve been on a roll for a month.
Justin Fields, even while battling cramps throughout the game, continued to be a playmaker for the Bears. While he was far from perfect, he turned in another gutsy performance. Fields completed 14-of-21 passes for 153 yards with one touchdown and one interception for a 80 passer rating and added 85 rushing yards and a score.
With Khalil Herbert on injured reserve, David Montgomery took on the workload for Chicago. He had 67 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown, while also leading the Bears with 54 receiving yards on three catches. Darnell Mooney had an impressive 16-yard touchdown grab (and almost had another, too, but Fields overthrew him deep). While Cole Kmet didn’t have a touchdown in a fourth straight game, he did make an insane one-handed catch.
Unfortunately, the Bears offensive line remains the biggest concern. Chicago had already allowed the most sacks in the NFL before Sunday’s game, and they allowed another four sacks on Fields. It also happened to come against a Falcons pass rush that’s been one of the worst in the league. Despite being active, Teven Jenkins was sidelined as he recovers from a hip injury. Michael Schofield struggled mightily in his place. The offensive line remains the biggest hindrance on this offense, along with receivers not named Darnell Mooney.
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After some pretty embarrassing outings over the last three weeks, the Bears defense had a more encouraging outing against the Falcons. Although it certainly didn’t appear headed that way after Atlanta’s first touchdown drive, where they marched right down the field. Allowing 27 points isn’t necessarily a recipe for success, but it’s their best effort in the last month.
The Bears run defense has been one of the worst in the NFL, and they didn’t have an answer for Atlanta’s top-five rushing attack. The Falcons gained 149 yards on the ground, including 107 by Cordarrelle Patterson and Tyler Allgeier. Chicago’s pass rush remains a huge concern, and they failed to notch a single sack against Marcus Mariota.
While this is a bad Bears defense, players did make some nice plays against the Falcons. Jaquan Brisker forced a fumble that was recovered by Jaylon Johnson. Jack Sanborn had another solid outing in his third start, and it certainly appears Chicago might have something in the undrafted rookie.
Special teams: C
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It was an up-and-down day for the Bears’ special teams. It started off encouraging with rookie Velus Jones Jr. returning a kickoff 55 yards. Jones had been a healthy scratch in the previous two games, and he had some nice redemption on his lone kickoff of the day. DeAndre Houston-Carson forced a fumble on a Falcons punt return, which was recovered by Jack Sanborn.
As for the bad, the Bears allowed a record-setting 103-yard kickoff return touchdown by Cordarrelle Patterson. Although, it kind of felt fitting considering he was playing his former team. Then there was Cairo Santos’ missed 56-yard field goal. It was Santos’ first missed field goal of the season, and it allowed the Falcons to tack on a field goal at the end of the first half.
AP Photo/Kamil Krzaczynski
There’s been a lot of talk about offensive coordinator Luke Getsy potentially being a prime candidate for a head coaching job. It made sense given the turnaround for this Bears offense, particularly quarterback Justin Fields. The fact the offense was finding success — averaging 31 points per game with a dominant run game — with little talent on the roster was impressive. But, it’s safe to say there won’t be concerns about Getsy leaving Chicago after Sunday’s loss to the Falcons.
Getsy had one of his worst outings of the season, made even worse considering the offense had found success over the last month. Fields ran a season-high 18 times, including on the final drive when he injured his left shoulder. I don’t think anyone had a problem with Getsy choosing to utilize Fields’ mobility, it’s the fact that Fields was nursing tight hamstrings (and a hurt left shoulder on the final drive) that led people to questioning his play calling on that final drive.