Short Thoughts on the Vikings – Bears Game

Colleen Kane at the Chicago Tribune once again provides the quote to start this series of short post-game Bears comments.

“[Bears quarterback Justin] Fields completed 6 of 10 passes for 58 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and a 36.7 passer rating. He was sacked four times. The Bears had minus-3 passing yards following their first three drives before Fields connected with Darnell Mooney for a 39-yard pass. The Bears had a chance to take the lead late in the second quarter, but [Danielle] Hunter got in Fields’ face on a pass, and Jordan Hicks intercepted him.

“Wide receiver DJ Moore, who had 230 receiving yards against the Commanders, was targeted twice in the first half, with one 7-yard catch. Moore said at one point the Vikings had three players on him.

“‘All the different looks, all the pressures and everything that was coming at us,’ Moore said. ‘It’s hard when you go out there and think they’re going to do one thing and they do a whole multitude of things that they either put in or just had something to beat our play call with.'”

These three paragraphs summarize in part why this was such a terrible match up for the Bears and especially for Fields. Take a quarterback who struggles to see the field and combine that with a defense that specializes in pressure and mixing coverages and you’ve got a very bad combination.

Moore talks about sometimes having three men on him. And there’s a reason for that. Minnesota defensive coordinator Brian Flores is from the Bill Belichick school of defense. You take away what the other guys does best and you make him beat you with something else. Moore is what the Bears offense does best. Combine the double and triple coverage with the fact that Fields hasn’t shown that he can consistently complete a pass to anyone not maned Moore or Kmet, and you’ve got a problem.

Kane highlights Mooney’s 39 yard completion. But as far as I could tell, it was the only time that Fields found Mooney all day.

But it gets worse than that. Though Moore was covered by multiple players much of the time there were also plays where he was left in single coverage and was wide open. Fields never saw his. As far as I can tell, he never even looked his way.

Contrast that with what Tyson Bagent said about the interception that effectively ended the game. Via Dan Wiederer.

“That shot play seemed to be setting up so nicely, too. First down from the Vikings 35-yard line.

“‘DJ Moore. One of the best receivers in the world. One-on-one,’ Bagent said.

“So the rookie shot his shot. He just couldn’t get enough on it. Because of course.

“‘That’s on me,’ Bagent said. ‘I’ve got to fix it going forward.'”

He does. But at this point, the thing to notice is that he found Moore in single coverage and tried to feed him the ball. Would Fields have done the same? I really have my doubts given what he had shown up to the point where he hurt his hand.

That’s probably why Bagent intrigues the Bears. Whatever they think his ceiling is – and its really hard to tell right now what they think – he sees the Field in a way that, with all of his talent in other areas, Fields doesn’t.

  • It will be interesting to see who the Bears start next week if Fields can’t go. Its true that the Bears have kept Bagent on the roster while shuttling Nathan Peterman back and forth onto and off of the roster. But that’s probably got more to do with the fact that the Bears think that they can get Peterman through waivers whereas they don’t know if they can get a younger quarterback with potential through in the same way.

In a start, the Bears may consider veteran Peterman to be the better bet over the developing Bagent who might not be ready yet. We’ll see.

  • Though we didn’t see it as much as I thought that we would, Fields did have a decent day running the ball against man coverage (8 rushes for 48 yards). What was interesting is that Flores pulled from the Chiefs game to decide to crowd the line of scrimmage to limit Fields. Its worked and it forced Bears wide receivers not named Moore to get open.

  • Again, I have to say how much I love D’Onta Foreman. The guy’s a slasher who runs straight at good angles and hits the hole hard. The Bears must think he’s limited in how they can use him and I thought it was interesting that Darrynton Evans got the first carry of the game. But Foreman is a force when he’s on the field and the Bears are going nowhere without a decent running game.

On a related note, I continue to be impressed by the variety of runs that offensive coordinator Luke Getsy calls. He attacks from all sorts of angles to all sorts of spots along the line and to the outside.

  • Similarly, I thought that this was Matt Eberflus‘s best game. The Bears surprised the Vikings by bring an extra guy from different angles and got pressure for much of the game. It was a good defensive effort.

Special mention to TJ Edwards. I’ve been pretty critical of Edwards in coverage but this was a good game for him. He was all over the field around the ball and notably he supplied the pressure that resulted in the Tremaine Edmunds interception.

  • Note that I don’t intend to do these short comments the next morning after most games and will usually do the quick comments immediately after the game instead. But I’m doing it here because I spent a great deal of this game with one eye on the France-South Africa quarterfinal in the Rugby World Cup. Quick, off the cuff observations tend to be farther off than usual when that happens.

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