Quick Game Comments: Broncos at Bears

1. Chase Claypool was a healthy scratch today. Feels like the end of the line for him. The guess here is that the Bears weren’t happy when he honestly answered a direct question about whether he was being utilized optionally with a “No.” Its also possible that Claypool requested a trade.
2. I also thought it was interesting that Nathan Peterman was a scratch with Tyson Bagent acting as the back up on the game day roster. I thought it would be the other way around for a while yet. Hopefully Matt Eberflus will be asked after the game what the Bears thinking is.
3. Bears came out and showed a weird Veer-like configuration on the first play. The play was a pass for 9 yards but it set down a marker for the rest of the day. They continued to line up multiple backs in the backfield, especially in the I formation, and using it in the running game. The play action off of it came natural. I loved it.
4. I’m about done with putting Cole Kmet under center for a sneak. I know that teams kind of know what’s coming anyway but there has to be at least some little doubt. This is too much of a give away.
5. I was happy to see Darnell Mooney get two or three targets today. Mooney was the first one there to pick up a teammate or congratulate someone. Contrast with Claypool.
6. Spectacular catch by DJ Moore for the Bears touchdown right at the beginning of the second quarter (even though I agreed with the announcers that he didn’t get two feet down). I don’t think I gave Moore enough credit after the Bears traded for him. Fields looked to him in tough spots all day. He is a wonderful player.
7. Just Fields was like night and day today. He looked much better and much more comfortable with an offense similar to what the Bears ran towards the end of last year with some twists. Lots of outside zone runs and a putrid Denver unit let him easily have the edges of the defense (they did adjust some in the second half). Fields was throwing to some wide open receivers and he also had all day to throw at times. He was throwing with more confidence and he looked different. Let’s hope it lasts.
8. Big day for the tight ends. Kmet had 7 catches for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns. Robert Tonyan did some good work and had 2 catches for 18 yards.
9. The Bears were 6 of 12 o third down which isn’t great. But it was the 1 for 3 on fourth down that killed them.

1. Denver came out prepared to take advantage of mismatches with Matt Eberflus’s defense. They got a tight end on TJ Edwards the way that other teams have so far this year. They went right after Jack Sanborn in multiple ways. The linebackers were supposed to be a strength but there were times when they certainly didn’t look like it.
2. Play action looks to be a huge part of the Broncos offense. It was also working.
3. Sean Payton ran some screens today, including one for the touchdown. I’m guessing that he was anticipating that the Bears would be blitzing to bring pressure. If they were doing a lot more than usual, I didn’t see it.
4. The Bears defense was swarming to the ball today and looked good doing it. They were feeling it.
5. Having said that, my antennae went up when it looked to me like the Bears went into prevent mode in the second half of the third quarter. It felt a little early to be doing that. It gave room to an offense that was struggling and took aggressiveness away from the defense. Sure enough, the Broncos came back.

1. the Bears had 10 penalties for 91 yards including a critical grounding penalty during the 2 minute drive by Fields. That’s too many.
2. That was a gutsy call by Eberflus to go for it on 3rd and a long one with three minutes left. I’d have never done it and I was shaking my head – before they didn’t get it. But I respect it. Good teams should be able to get a yard when they need it. But the Bears aren’t a good team.
3. The Justin Fields fumble was a back breaker. Fields was also having a good day against a bad defense. But it was neither of those upon which he should be judged today. It was with less than two minutes left in a situation where he had to pass. That was when the rubber met the road for him. Last year he failed in this situation time after time. It happened again. And that is perhaps his biggest problem.
4. If the Bears were going to have a get right game on their schedule, this was surely it. This was a bad loss by a bad team to a bad team with a bad defense. That’s a lot of bad.

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