Biggest concerns following Bears’ 34-14 loss to Rams in Week 1

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The Chicago Bears suffered a brutal 34-14 defeat at the hands of the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football, where there were plenty of issues on offense and defense.

While the offense outperformed the defense, they still only mustered 14 points, which isn’t going to be enough to win games. But it certainly doesn’t help when your defense is getting blasted by Matthew Stafford and the Rams’ high-powered offense.

Here are some concerns that arose from the Bears’ brutal loss to the Rams in Week 1:

How does Matt Nagy not see Justin Fields should be starting?

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Rookie Justin Fields made his Bears debut against the Rams, where he appeared in just five plays in special packages on offense. His first play was a 9-yard completion to wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and his last play was a 3-yard touchdown run, which brought Chicago to within six points in the third quarter. Fields didn't light the world on fire in his five plays, but it further illustrated why Fields gives this team the best chance to win right now. So why isn't he starting? There's no way that Matt Nagy doesn't know that Fields should be starting at this point, right? Because if it's something more than Nagy's stubbornness to give Andy Dalton his promised start or try to insert Fields into the starting lineup when it benefits Nagy, we have a problem. Dalton didn't do enough to lose the starting job heading into Week 2, but it's clearer than ever that Fields will be the starter much sooner than even Nagy anticipates.

Bears secondary could be in for a brutal season

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There was an expectation that Chicago's secondary would see a decline given the loss of cornerback Kyle Fuller, but their performance against the Rams was downright atrocious. Bears cornerbacks and safeties allowed an average of 16.1 yards per reception to Rams receivers, and they had just one pass breakup on the night in an outing that doesn't exactly inspire any sort of confidence. From blown coverages to missed tackles from the likes of Eddie Jackson, Marqui Goodwin among others, it was a rough evening for Chicago against what looks to be a top offense in the league. Which is slightly encouraging. Now, it's up to new defensive coordinator Sean Desai to find a way to fix the issues on defense, particularly in the secondary, if the Bears defense hopes to keep their offense in games this year.

Offensive line depth being tested early

Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears offensive line wasn't bad in their season opener, although there's certainly room for improvement. But it doesn't help that the injury woes that plagued Chicago's offensive tackles during training camp has struck again as the Bears lost not one, but two left tackles against the Rams. Jason Peters suffered a quad injury in the second quarter and was soon ruled out, which opened the door for fifth-round rookie Larry Borom to get reps at left tackle. But Borom lasted only a few plays before injuring his ankle and exiting the game, which pushed backup right tackle Elijah Wilkinson into the starting left tackle spot. Thankfully, Wilkinson survived the rest of the game, but the Bears' curse at left tackle continues this season.

Bears downfield passing attack was nonexistent

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Andy Dalton made his debut for the Bears on Sunday night, where it was clear he wasn't the problem on offense. Granted, he's not the answer either -- which is why many are clamoring for Fields. But Matt Nagy continues to show that he's a big reason why this offense has struggled over the last three seasons. While Nagy has been insistent that Dalton gives Chicago the best chance to win, his conservative game plan, especially in regards to a nonexistent downfield passing attack, didn't reflect that. Dalton didn’t complete a pass over 10 yards against the Rams (going 0-for-2 and an interception). His longest pass attempt was 16 yards, and only 5 of his 38 attempts were for 10 yards or more. Dalton had just one pass attempt travel more than 15 yards. By comparison, every other starting quarterback in Week 1 had at least four passes for 15-plus yards.

A lot of wasted money on the field for Bears defense

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The Bears defense was atrocious against a high-powered Rams offense that lit them up for 34 points. While the issues with some relatively inexperienced players didn't come as too much of a surprise, it was some highly-paid starters and their lack of contributions which was most infuriating. That starts with safety Eddie Jackson, who signed a five-year, $58.4 million extension just last offseason. Jackson is coming off his worst season in 2020, and his issues with tackling and blown coverages was a glaring red flag for the former All-Pro. Outside linebacker Khalil Mack was also a non-factor against the Rams, notching just one tackle in the loss. Robert Quinn, who is coming off a disappointing season, was decent with 0.5 sack and 2 QB hits. But it's still not the kind of performance you expect from a highly-paid edge rusher. Defensive tackle Akiem Hicks had a decent showing with 0.5 sack and 2 QB hits during a contract year. Still, the Bears need their big stars on defense to rise up if they hope to avoid a brutal 2021 season, where they're set to face some impressive offenses. [listicle id=480477] [listicle id=480540] [listicle id=480548]

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