Bears roster risers and fallers in loss to Lions in NFL Week 17

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Bears risers and fallers after ugly loss to Lions originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bears played arguably their ugliest game of the season on Sunday, and were blown out by the Lions 41-10. The run defense has been bad all season, but they were somehow worse against D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams. Justin Fields tied a season low with seven pass completions. But unlike Week 2 when Fields completed 7-11 passes, Fields was an abysmal 7-21 in Week 17. He held onto the ball too long in certain cases, and was sacked seven times. It wasn’t all his fault, though. The offensive line struggled. His lack of playmakers has been well documented. Overall it was just a bad, bad game for the Bears.

RISERS

VELUS JONES JR.

We don’t need to rehash all the adversity Jones Jr. has faced this season with ball security. Throughout it all however, Jones Jr. remained confident that he would rebound to make a positive impact on the team. Sunday marked the second game in a row where Jones Jr. did that on both special teams and offense. It started early in the second quarter with an end-around rush we’ve seen the Bears try several times. Jones Jr. was able to get the edge with speed and gained 13 yards for a first down. Then as the Bears tried to manufacture points before halftime, Jones Jr. made several good cuts on a kickoff return, showed off his speed again, and gained 63 yards. The Bears still need much, much more from the 2022 third-round pick, but Sunday was another step in the right direction for him.

KHALIL HERBERT

Herbert returned to the starting lineup after an IR stint last week, but was largely ineffective as he gained just seven yards on six rushes. After the game Herbert admitted that he was a little rusty after spending over a month on the sidelines. Against the Lions, Herbert looked to be back to normal and gained 31 yards on five carries. That was good for a 6.2 YPC clip, and extended his lead over the rest of the league as the running back with the best YPC average this season. One minus on Herbert’s sheet was a poor pass blocking attempt on a blitz pick up that led to an incomplete pass. Other than that, Herbert regained his position splitting carries practically 50-50 with David Montgomery.

FALLERS

BRAXTON JONES

After a rough start to the season, Jones made good strides over the last month or so of the season. Coming into the Lions game, Jones had only allowed six total pressures in the Bears’ last six contests. He was bullied on Sunday, however. There were several instances where Jones was simply overpowered and surrendered a sack. As always, the big culprit was the bull rush. For a while it was looking like Jones was developing into a player the Bears could trust next season. Now it’s clear that Jones will need to beef up over the offseason, and the Bears are going to need some serious competition for Jones at left tackle.

ROOKIE CORNERBACKS

The Bears defense was dealt a serious blow when the team placed both Jaylon Johnson and Kindle Vildor on season-ending IR ahead of last week’s Bills game. That left the team with three rookies at cornerback: second-round draft pick Kyler Gordon, and undrafted free agents Jaylon Jones and Josh Blackwell. Those rookies rose to the occasion against the Bills and managed to limit Stefon Diggs and Buffalo’s top-tier passing attack. They fell back to Earth against the Lions, however. Jared Goff had easy throws all day and didn’t miss his layups. He finished the day 21-29 for 255 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, good for a 133.5 QB rating. Lions receivers were so open that at one point color commentator Jonathan Vilma said he couldn’t tell if the Bears were playing zone or man coverage. Not great.

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