Whose arrows are up and down after the Bears' 20-19 win

David Montgomery
USA Today

Are Bears games ever not stressful? How does anyone in Chicago ever get a good night of sleep?! Somehow, someway, Nick Foles and Khalil Mack dragged the Bears (4-1) to a statement-making 20-19 win over Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2). Here’s whose arrows are up, and down, after the big win:

Arrow Up/Down – Nick Foles 

The Good(ish): The numbers (30/42-243-1-1) look fine, though Foles’ performance was check down heavy at times and overall pretty pedestrian. He also showed some fire in a sideline conversation with Matt Nagy, which means absolutely nothing but is certainly fun to watch.

The Bad: a bunch of overthrown balls. Some of the more egregious ones were sailing a five yard pass to Allen Robinson on 3rd-and-2 in the first quarter, and missing a WIDE open Darnell Mooney in the second. His one interception on the night looked like Allen Robinson’s fault, but a well-thrown ball there obviously doesn’t hit Robinson in the knee. 

The verdict: It got the job done, so his arrow is up. He didn’t light up Tampa’s defense by any means, but the Bears aren’t asking Foles to light anyone up and they’ll probably take that performance any day of the week. 

Arrow Down – Roquan Smith 

Smith wasn’t close to the only player on the Bears’ defense to miss tackles on Thursday night (cough Eddie Jackson) but his seemed to be the most glaring. Twice he got to Ronald Jones in the backfield, and twice Jones spun out of Smith’s tackle. He was able to knock the ball out of Tanner Hudson’s hands on a red zone 3rd down in the 1st quarter, but Smith’s quiet night ended with only five tackles. After stringing a few good performances together against Atlanta and Indianapolis, Smith took a step back against the Bucs. 


Arrow Up – Jimmy Graham

He’s not putting up monster numbers, and even his Thursday night stat line (3-33-1) looks modest at first glance. But what a red zone weapon Graham’s been for the Bears so far. His one-handed score right before halftime was a thing of beauty: 

He’s now got four touchdowns on the year – twice the amount that Bears’ tight ends *ended* 2019 with. Cole Kmet’s absence continues to get a bit more discouraging with each passing game, but performances like Graham’s on Thursday night are why the Bears feel like they can be patient with the rookie. 

Arrow Down – Jaylon Johnson 

As it turns out, playing against Tom Brady and Mike Evans for 60 minutes is tough. Johnson  didn’t even play *that* poorly – a testament to how impressive his start has been so far – but he got beat pretty cleanly in the end zone by Evans during the first quarter. Johnson also got called twice for pass interference (though one happened, and was declined, on Evans’ TD). 

Arrow Up – Khalil Mack

Take a moment to soak this in: 

There was plenty more to like about Mack’s performance, but really, what else really needs to be said?

Arrow Up Hon. Mention – Cairo Santos, Kyle Fuller, Cordarrelle Patterson, David Montgomery In The Pass Game

Arrow Down Hon. Mention – Cairo Santos, Darnell Mooney, Danny Trevathan, David Montgomery In The Run Game