DeMarcus Walker lost contain on the second play of the game and B.J. Robinson went for 21 yards. That can’t happen with him on the field. Its certain death.
After Taylor Heinicke made some good yardage running the ball in the first quarter, it was good to see the Bears defense get a bit more disciplined with their rush and shut him down a little. The screen play for a touchdown was also a warning shot that I think was heeded.
I hated seeing Jaylon Johnson walk off the field injured in what has been a wonderful contract run. Terell Smith took his place and I didn’t see him come back out.
The defense was generally good today but the opponent should be accounted for. The Bears were very lucky on multiple occasions where receivers were running wide open and Heinicke either was under pressure or didn’t see him.
With two defenses that are pretty good against the run, this game was always going to be about who could throw the ball. The DJ Moore – Justin Fields connection was on full display in the first set of downs as Field threw 3 of his first 6 passes in his direction and the bet here is that Fields was staring right at Moore waiting for him to come open for about 4 seconds before dumping it off to Roschon Johnson on another one. The touchdown throw to Moore had to be perfect and it was. The trend continued from there.
Related to #1, Moore was lining up in the slot and in single coverage all day. The Bears will take that every time. Hence Moore got the vast majority of the targets. Surprisingly, the Falcons were apparently happy with that because they never adjusted to do much of anything different.
Velus Jones was actually lined up as a running back in the second series. It wasn’t gadget play. He’s now apparently one more step closer to running back.
I’ve been unable to see the last 2 games live but, along with this game, it has been notable how much Nate Davis is struggling right now. He was signed as a major piece in free agency and, along with the weakness at center, he’s contributing to some serious problems with the blocking in the center of the line.
Whether Fields had the ball or not someone on the Atlanta defense was always in charge of attacking him. Not just spying him but often actually attacking him just to make sure that if he had it, they’d have someone to bring him down. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before.
Generally speaking wonderful protection for Fields by the offensive line today. He saw pressure every once in a while but there were times when he had all day to throw.
Tyler Scott had a two or three drops in this game that cost the Bears including one touchdown. That’s disappointing.
I wasn’t thrilled by the fact that Justin Jones’s biggest contribution today was to gift the Falcons a first down in the fourth quarter by committing a personal foul. The Falcons eventually scored a touchdown.
I was a little surprised that the Bears didn’t decide to run the clock down with 6 minutes left in the game and a 10 point lead from field goal position. I like the aggression but I wonder if that could have been a bit too much.
The game was decided, as is often the case, by turnovers. The Bears had 4 interceptions. The Bears had zero turnovers as Fields did a nice job of protecting the ball.
I know that this is a Bears blog but my main take away from this game was that the Falcons are a poorly coached team. They missed a ton of opportunities and came out with a poor, poor defensive game plan. They did nothing to try to confuse Fields and made everything easy by not giving DJ Moore enough attention. Going into this game my gut feeling was that Arthur Smith would be back. But if this game was any example, I can’t imagine he survives.
Congratulations to the Bears. They got the number one overall pick again but managed to do it without all of the losing this time.
The Bears came out running the ball a lot. Part of that was Justin Fields dropping back and running from the pocket but most of them were designed running plays. Evidently they decided that’s the way to beat the Lions.
The last time the Bears faced the Lions the Lions sold out to the run whenever D’Onta Foreman was on the field. Today they didn’t do that. Perhaps they’ve concluded that Foreman is more versatile than they (and I) thought. Foreman had one or two nice catches today. I wasn’t watching his pass blocking too closely but that’s probably getting better as well.
Fields took the team on his back today with his ability to run the ball early. It was awesome to watch. Unfortunately, as often happens in the NFL, the Lions eventually stopped it. It was tougher sledding from there.
I wasn’t thrilled to see Fields take a sack in the first quarter on 3rd down making a 36 yard field goal into the 46 yarder. Cairo Santos made it o no harm done. But ideally you have a quarterback who sees that blitz coming and gets the ball out.
Having DJ Moore run the ball in for a touchdown in the first quarter was a good play. Lining him up on fourth and a long 1 in the second quarter…? Too cute, boys.
A sub par effort from the offensive line, especially the interior, against a Lions defensive front that played much better than they did the first time these teams played in Detroit.
I thought I detected a bit more of an effort today to get the ball to Darnell Mooney. AS I noted early in the season, he’s been largely ignored.
Eventually I stopped talking about it because it just became the norm. But I think everyone would agree that it shouldn’t be.
I also thought that it was interesting that the Bears eventually started feeding Cole Kmet, who they apparently thought they had in a mismatch in coverage. Kmet has become a reliable go to crutch for Fields almost as much as Moore is.
Wonderful play by Fields near the end of the third quarter. Fields got the Lions to jump offsides and took the free play to throw a deep ball to DJ Moore for a touchdown. Usually I’m watching other teams do that. Nice work.
I don’t criticize play calling much but the call on the two point conversion at the beginning of the fourth quarter today was pretty bad. One receiver on a route and it was DJ Moore, you you knew they would cover if no one else.
Fields had more than the usual amount of trouble throwing outside the numbers on pass routes to Kmet and especially Mooney. Usually with his strong arm he manages those throws pretty well.
Sam Laporta seems to be to be uncoverable. It doesn’t hurt that Jared Goff has the ability to place the ball impeccably in tight coverage.
The Lions did some very interesting things with their game plan today. For instance, I thought that it was notable that the Lions eventually concluded that they could attack the NFL’s number 1 ranked run defense to the outside. And it worked. That’s good coaching staff.
Having said that, I also thought that it was notable that the Bears made adjustments to stop some of the things that the Lions were doing. They started to mug the line and drop out to make Goff read the defense and decide when to run. That little bit of doubt affected him (wait until they play the Vikings). They also flat out defended the run better.
The Lions were really picking on Tyreek Stevenson today. There were plays there to be made on both sides.
I thought that the Bears defensive line continued to get decent pressure on the quarterback. They created a lot of opportunities by playing games up front with stunts.
Big stop by the Bears defense in the fourth quarter on fourth and short on the Detroit side of the field. The penetration by the defensive line was marvelous. They’re play so well of late.
The Bears were trying really hard to blow this game again. 4th and 17 with 5 minutes left at the Chicago 38 and the Bears needed Amon Ra St. Brown to drop a very catchable pass to hold the line. That just can’t happen.
Of course the big reason the Bears came out on top here was that they won the turnover battle. There was a nice interception from Jaylon Johnson in the second quarter. That’s money in the bank right there. As the season has rolled on, my gut has been telling me more and more that the Bears are eventually going to pay that guy. There was a back breaking fumbled snap by the Lions at the end of the third quarter. And finally Tremaine Edmunds basically put the game away on an interception on fourth and forever with just over 2 minutes left.
Sounded like there were a lot of Lions fans there today. Kudos to them for their support. Shame on the gutless Bears fans that sold them the tickets.
Already very tired of the disco Santa commercial. Disco is dead. Let’s leave it that way.
The one overwhelming thought that I have after this game is the one that I’ve been having for a while. The Bears team is noticeably improving. They’re completely different form the guys we watched get destroyed by the Packers in the first game of the year. I know that many are looking forward to seeing the coaching staff go after this year. More and more I’m thinking its not likely to happen. And more and more I’m thinking that’s the right call to make.