Week after week, the Bears continue to spend all 60 minutes desperately scratching and clawing for every point they score. Week after week, the production is lacking and the long-term concern grows. And somehow, week after week, they keep winning these games. After a solid-if-not-spectacular, wire-to-wire win, the Bears are 5-1 (!). Here’s whose arrows are up and down:
Arrow Up – Kyle Fuller At this point, Fuller’s habit of getting called for questionable personal fouls on bone-crushing hits has become a weekly tradition. The PI call that negated an Eddie Jackson touchdown was brutal, but Fuller’s open field tackle on Teddy Bridgewater at the Bears’ two saved a touchdown; the Panthers would settle for a 20-yard field goal one (well called) play later. On a day when Jaylon Johnson flashed some rookie moments, Fuller’s stability on the other side went a long way to holding Teddy Bridgewater to 216 passing yards.
Arrow Down – Jaylon Johnson Robbie Anderson kind of worked Johnson on Sunday. Johnson’s pass break up on Tashaun Gipson’s first quarter interception was a nice play, but the Panthers continued to go after the rookie CB, and with some success: Anderson finished with four catches and 77 yards. The 4th quarter PI call against Johnson – which moved the Panthers from the Bears’ 34 to the 1 and led directly to a touchdown – may have been a bit soft, but that’s life as a cornerback in 2020.
Arrow Up – Khalil Mack There are few things more fun to watch than when Khalil Mack gets hot. After a “slow” start to the season, Mack’s looked every bit the All-Pro pass rusher that people have come to expect from him. He had another sack and two tackles for a loss in the first half alone, though his second half was a bit more quiet. The Bears probably won’t be pleased with how well Bridgewater was able to escape pressure, but Mack was great once again.
Arrow Down – Anthony Miller Miller’s quiet day may not be particularly surprising at this point, but his continued struggles with some of the finer details of playing his position are: Miller could have easily converted a 3rd down reception in the first quarter, but decided to turn around and was tackled behind the marker. He then got back-to-back chances on the next drive with a pair of swing/screen passes, only to pick up a grand total of six yards.
Arrow Up – Cairo Santos Santos’s 55-yarder at the end of the first half – the longest of his career – probably would have been good from 57-58. The kicker scored 11 of the Bears’ 23 points, going 5-5 (3 FGs, 2 XPs) on the day. The assumption has been that this job was Eddie Pineiro’s to lose whenever he returns from a groin injury, but the argument for sticking with Santos’ hot hand foot may have some serious weight behind it now.
Arrow Up Hon. Mention – Cole Kmet; Eddie Jackson; the punt team Arrow Down Hon. Mention – The Bears’ attention to detail; Rashaad Coward (and most of the O-line TBH); that 2-minute drive to end the first half