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Quick Comments: Bears at Saints 11/5/23
The Bears came out executing well with a good mix of passing and timely run plays. The run looked to me like the key to the beating Saints defense coming in. They play a lot of games up front, threaten the blitz and have a lot of late coverage movement. Running the ball negates all of that. And it certainly helps a young quarterback.
Interestingly I think that New Orleans came out giving the Bears plenty of room underneath in coverage. They may have been hoping that they could just let the Bears shoot themselves in the foot.
I would suggest that Cole Kmet should have broken back towards the line of scrimmage for that intercepted pass in the first quarter. Had he done that it wouldn’t have been a turnover.
If you ever want to see how play action is supposed to work in the NFL, take a look at Kmet’s touchdown early in the second quarter. The entire right half of the Saints defense broke in on the fake. That’s one thing I really like about Bagent. He carries those fakes out completely. Its more valuable than many realize.
The Saints allowed Bagent to get outside the pocket on the naked boot way too often. It’s something that other teams have concentrated on shutting down and that has limited both he and Justin Fields when it happens.
Nice to see Darnell Mooney so involved today. Both Bagent and Fields need to keep him more involved. The Bears have to have a wide receiver to go to other than DJ Moore. It was very evident that the Saints weren’t going to let Moore beat them. He was blanketed most of the day.
I love D’Onta Foreman. But he did not always look sharp today. especially early on. There were times when I thought he looked heavy legged. I think he may have wormed up as the game went on.
The Bears were 6 for 12 on some difficult third downs. On the good side, some of those were difficult third and longs.
I think that the Saints might have thought that they could attack the middle of the field. They may have felt like they could take advantage of Jack Sanborn’s presence in place of the injured Tremaine Edmunds.
Edmunds is obviously a good, athletic player but Sanborn’s instincts really show themselves when he plays in the middle. He’s underrated.
To my eye Saints quarterback Derek Carr sure did have a lot of time back there. That’s nothing new but if you were looking for an immediate impact from Montez Sweat you were destined to be disappointed.
On a similar note, the Bears have to get to the quarterback on the blitz. They aren’t good enough to cover good receivers man to man forever. The Saints touchdown in the first quarter was a prime example. Kyler Gordon had him in coverage but Carr had time and Chris Olave found a way to break away from him.
Alvin Kamara is a wonder. There’s nothing he can’t do on the football field. He was a problem all day.
Matt Ryan is a pretty good color man. Lots of insight there. Sometimes these recently retired quarterbacks start that way and then they have less to say as time goes by and the league moves on. It will be interesting to see if he hangs on to perform consistently at this level.
The Bears had 8 damaging penalties for 71 yards. There’s never a good time for penalties but it felt like the Bears were particularly badly timed. The Saints had only 1 for 5 yards. Though it wasn’t the major differeence in the game it definitely hurt them.
I felt that the Bears possession at the end of the third quarter was a turning point in this game. The Bears went three and out seep in their own territory, ending the possession on a little slip screen to Darrynton Evans. It was a conservative play call and I’m not sure it was justified. The Bears punted and the Saints returned to the Bears side of the 50. The Saints offense went through the Bears defense like a hot knife through butter for a touchdown and it was 24-17. Not insurmountable but it certainly felt like it.
Obviously it was the turnovers that made the difference today. Bagent had a tough day with four including three interceptions, 2 in the fourth quarter, and a fumble on the last possession of the game. Significantly, these interceptions weren’t bad reads. They were throws that were a little off in terms of accuracy. A little behind the receiver against a defense where the margins for error were small. Perhaps he’ll be able to work his way out of it by improving his timing with his receivers. But I doubt he’ll get another chance this year with Fields seemingly being close to ready to come back and start on Thursday.
I was really impressed by the Bears ability to make plays in tough situations today. It seemed like time after time they put themselves into a hole with a dumb penalty or a sack and they managed to dig themselves out of it. That’s what good teams do. Now they just need to have to do it less often.