The Bears lost to the Vikings 17-9 on Monday Night, in a game that not many gave them a chance of winning. Despite that, it was another disappointing performance as the Bears did more to lose the game than the Vikings did to win it. It was another game marred by more bad mistakes than good plays in a season filled with miscues. Worse yet, there was no tangible growth for Justin Fields.
BALL SECURITY ISSUES ARISE AGAIN
In a game where the entire starting secondary, plus two backup defensive backs, were out due to either COVID-19 or injury, it was actually the offense who let down the defense on Monday night. The Bears had several opportunities to come away with points in the first half, making it into Vikings territory on four of their five drives and marching into the redzone on two of those drives. But they only came away with three points. Part of that is because two of those drives were spoiled by lost fumbles: one from Justin Fields and another from David Montgomery. The Montgomery fumble is surprising, since he rarely coughs up the ball, but for Fields it’s become a trend over his rookie season. On the year, Fields is now up to 12 fumbles and 10 interceptions. That’s not to say it’s entirely unexpected, as many rookie QBs struggle with turnovers, but it will need to be a point of emphasis for Fields moving forward.
NOT ENOUGH SPARK ON OFFENSE
Another reason the Bears struggled to score on Monday night was their lack of explosive plays. On the night, the Bears had three plays go for 20+ yards. Two of those came in the fourth quarter with the Vikings playing much softer defense. With no trick plays, and very few deep shots, the Bears didn’t have many opportunities to score quickly. And when the offense has a proclivity to make mistakes, whether it’s turnovers or penalties, it’s much harder to score on prolonged drives, since they have to play mistake-free for longer periods of time.
THOMAS GRAHAM MAKES IMPRESSIVE NFL DEBUT
After spending the first 14 weeks of the season on the practice squad, Thomas Graham was a bright spot on defense in his NFL debut. Graham was pressed into duty because Jaylon Johnson, Artie Burns, Duke Shelley, Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, while Xavier Crawford and DeAndre Houston-Carson were ruled out on Friday with injuries. Graham made the most of his opportunity with three impressive pass breakups, one coming in the endzone that forced a Vikings field goal. With the Bears struggling at defensive back all season, it’s fair to wonder if Graham should’ve gotten a look earlier this year. For now, the Bears will have to hope it’s an encouraging glimpse into the future for their sixth-round draft pick.