Short Thoughts on the Bears-Commanders Game

Colleen Kane at the Chicago Tribune quotes Cole Kmet to kick me off on some thoughts that I have about the Bears 40-20 win over the Commanders Thursday night.

“’Huge,” Kmet said. ‘[Justin Fields] doesn’t have to put it all on his back either. We’ve got guys. We’ve got DJ [Moore], myself, [Darnell Mooney], Khalil [Herbert]. We’ve got dudes that can seal the deal. I think he’s just gaining confidence in everybody and then obviously the scheme in place as well.'”

Yes, that’s my first take away from the first half of both this game and the last game against the Broncos. Between Fields’ mobility, Moore, Kmet and a decent running game, the Bears have some threats that opposing defenses are going to have to deal with.

  • And let’s’ not forget what a nice job Luke Getsy has done.

Take the Broncos game and put on the tape and you start to see plays with multiple running backs. But against the Commanders you rarely saw that look. That’s just one obvious example of the many varied ways that Getsy is finding to attack defenses.

The running game has been varied and there’s been some success. Take for example, what Getsy had them doing to get Fields more room to run on the edges. Naked boots? They’re still there. But every once is a while Getsy had them pulling linemen, wiping out the end setting the edge and powering around the end with Fields behind them. That was something that we hadn’t seen before last night and it worked well.

The Bears are very difficult to prepare for right now.

  • I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to note that the Bears were frequently facing third down and long and went to the ground game to get the third down. Herbert had a lot of success picking these up before he left the game. It was an interesting wrinkle.

  • What’s going to be interesting is to see what opposing defenses are going to do about it in the upcoming contests for the Bears.

I think that the first priority for now is disrupting the Fields-Moore connection. Fields is also connecting with his tight ends and that needs to be considered. But Moore is the crutch that Fields is leaning on right now. Moore is the guy that you have to stop.

After that, your priority is stopping Fields from running. Because of that, I think most teams will still continue to try to run primarily zone defenses. And that still might be possible.

Fields has looked extremely comfortable at times back there and if I’m an opposing defensive coordinator, I’m going to want to prevent that as much as possible. Fields tore up the Broncos and Commanders defensive back field. But it looked to me like both teams gave him bland, straight forward looks. So I think we can anticipate defenses putting more effort into disguising and mixing up coverages. We’ll probably start to see more late movement from defensive backs. And whatever opponents do, they’re going to have to start rotating coverages more toward Moore.

If Fields can keep up with the coverages, I’d anticipate that he’ll see more opportunities to throw to his other receivers, particularly Mooney.

But that’s a big if. And so far he’s struggled to get his timing right with Mooney. I’m not sure he trusts the other receivers on the team and its affecting both his timing and his accuracy. Fields is eventually going to have to start connecting with wide receivers not named DJ Moore.

  • This also bring up another little piece of speculation. If the above doesn’t work, teams will undoubtedly start challenging the Bears receivers by mixing in more man coverage. This is dangerous because it turns Fields loose. But you could argue that is preferable to the big plays that Moore is making.

Fields ran plenty last year. The Bears didn’t win many games. You could argue that you just let him have his yardage and cover all the rest of the bases.

Man coverage could be a real challenge for the receivers. Moore will be flat out double teamed. Can the others step up to make plays? We might eventually see if that is the case.

Its all fascinating to me.

  • Kudos to the linemen on both sides of the ball. The above is nice to think about but the game is still played at the line of scrimmage. Both sides did a good job, especially the Bears offensive line against a fearsome Commanders defensive front.

One guy who isn’t getting mentioned much is swing tackle Larry Borom, who has stepped in to replace the injured Braxton Jones and to my eye done a pretty nice job. I never thought Borom was a bad tackle and I was genuinely surprised to see the Bears seeking an upgrade over him at right tackle. The only think I can figure is that he just didn’t fit with what they are trying to do in an ideal way.

In any case, Borom is nice replacement to have on your bench.

  • One other thing that has to be said. I’ve personally pounded the Bears for not having their players ready to play. I thought tonight they definitely were against a team that definitely wasn’t. The Commanders were flat as a pancake and that was made even more evident when they were contrasted with a Bears team that looked on point, enthusiastic and ready to go on a short week.

Getsy put in a lot plays I haven’t seen this year and the Bears offense executed them very well.

I killed the Bears defensive backs for broken coverages, stating that even though they are back ups, they are still professionals who should be getting the most out of their ability. Well, kudos to them and the coaching staff this week. They looked prepared and ready to go when this game started.

  • In contrast, this short post from Michael David Smith at caught my eye.

“‘It starts at the top. We’ve got to do better and that’s on me,’ [Commanders head coach Ron] Rivera said.

“Rivera said he won’t know specifically what needs to be improved until he watches the tape.

“‘We’ll see,’ Rivera said. ‘I’m not going to sit up here and talk about those things until we get an opportunity to break the tape down, go through the tape, sit down and talk about the tape as a staff, and go from there.’

“The Commanders are now 2-3 on the season, and if Rivera doesn’t figure out what’s going wrong and fix it soon, his seat is going to be very hot.”

Yep. Rivera is dealing with an owner who didn’t hire him. That’s not a good situation. He had to start winning this year.

Rivera’s team did not look ready to play this game. That’s on him and his staff.

His biggest issue is that he’s got a young quarterback who is learning. I like Sam Howell and I respect Rivera’s decision to roll with him this year. Howell was not afraid to keep slinging the ball after some bad mistakes Thursday night. But he needs to grow up fast to save Rivera’s job, I think. We’ll see how they are playing at the end of the year. They’ve already played some good ball. They’re just inconsistent.

  • One more thing. I’ve stated many times that the rubber meets the road with Fields when the clock is winding down with less than 2 minutes left and he has to pass to win. We haven’t seen him do that yet. So if you are getting on board the Fields train, I’d wait if I were you.

This is something that Fields has to show that he can do before this season ends.

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