by Evan Bruner
The Chicago Bears dropped their third straight game Sunday, falling to the Detroit Lions 31-30. The team’s struggles from the past month persisted, as the offense’s solid play was overshadowed by the defense’s inability to make a stop.
With the recent trades of Roquan Smith and Robert Quinn, the Bears defense is one of the least talented in the league, and there are very few schematic adjustments Matt Eberflus has been able to make that counteract that. The biggest issue being the front seven’s struggle to generate pressure.
Much like Chicago’s week nine opponent Tua Tagovailoa, Jared Goff is a capable passer when working with clean pockets. It’s not until he’s under pressure that he starts to unravel. The Bears, however, were unable to get to Goff with any level of consistency and he had a solid game, completing 19 of his 26 attempts for 236 yards and one touchdown. Second-year wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown also proved to be too much for Chicago’s secondary, finishing with ten catches and 119 yards.
On the offensive side of things, the Bears continued to look good. Quarterback Justin Fields scored four total touchdowns and ended the game with 314 total yards. With that said, the Bears’ passing fell well short, with Fields only throwing for 167 passing yards, 50 of which came on a busted coverage that left Cole Kmet wide open for a touchdown. Kmet, who caught both of Fields’ touchdown passes, had four catches for a season-best of 74 yards. He now has a team-best five receiving touchdowns on the year, with four coming in the last two weeks.
Much of Kmet’s recent success has come in the red zone, which is key considering how much the offense struggled inside the 20 early in the season. Although the play of the offense was mostly positive, it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Fields threw an interception that went for a touchdown to former college teammate Jeff Okudah in the fourth quarter. The interception came on an Ill-advised pass from Fields that he tried to layer in between defenders. This throw served as a reminder that for as far as Fields has come in his recent development, he still has a ways to go.
Another disappointment on the offensive side was the limited usage of recent trade deadline acquisition Chase Claypool. Claypool ran a grand total of six routes and only had one catch for eight yards. While it’s still early on in Claypool’s time with the Bears, fans are already starting to lose patience. A player who was given to the organization at the expense of a second-round pick is expected to make meaningful contributions fairly early.
The Bears dropped to 3-7 on the season and 0-3 against NFC North foes. With this loss, the team moves to fourth place in the division due to the Lions owning the head-to-head tiebreaker. Chicago will travel to Justin Fields’ home state of Georgia to take on the Falcons on Sunday.