Bears

Bears observations: Defense overmatched by Kyler Murray

Bears

The Bears are who we thought they were. Playing the extremely talented, and NFC leading Arizona Cardinals, Matt Nagy’s team looked overmatched from the jump. The result was a 33-22 loss that was never particularly competitive. If you tuned out partway through, here are the three biggest takeaways from the dreary game on a dreary Sunday.

BEARS DEFENSE OUTMATCHED BY CARDINALS OFFENSE

Whether or not Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins were healthy enough to play, the Bears defense was going to have its hands full. But when both players took the field, they showed on their very first drive why they’re one of the most dangerous QB/WR combos in the league. Murray’s incredible escapability was on display all day, as he scampered easily for 59 yards, two touchdowns, and evaded the Bears' pass rush. Mounting injuries on the defensive side of the ball have clearly made an impact on the unit’s performance too. It was most noticeable on James Conner’s 23-yard catch and run on a 3rd-and-2 play. Duke Shelley has been a sure tackler all year, but with Shelley on IR, it was Xavier Crawford in at nickel corner, and Crawford completely whiffed on a tackle that not only would’ve prevented a touchdown, but would’ve stopped Conner short of the line to gain.

OFFENSE LACKS SPARK WITHOUT JUSTIN FIELDS, ALLEN ROBINSON

Outside of a nifty trick play involving Jakeem Grant, the Bears offense struggled to find the juice required to hit on big plays. Darnell Mooney was practically invisible, passes were dropped all over, and the team almost never attempted to stretch the field. David Montgomery was effective on the ground, running 21 times for 90 yards and one touchdown. But with the Cardinals offense humming, a plodding, methodical attack was not enough to keep pace. Andy Dalton’s veteran experience hasn’t led to an improved offensive attack, and he simply can’t match the upside that Fields brings to the table. In the end, the Bears only managed 329 yards and 22 points. The Cardinals left them in their dust.

 

ROQUAN SMITH IS A WARRIOR

There was genuine concern that Smith was not going to be able to play on Sunday, given he had injured his hamstring the previous week against the Lions. But Smith was able to sneak in a limited practice on Friday, and felt good enough to go on Sunday. If he had any lingering issues from the injury it didn’t show at all on the field. Smith led the team with eight tackles and was generally flying all over the field, as he usually does. But one tackle illustrated why Smith should be considered for an All-Pro honor this year. On 3rd-and-7, Kyler Murray took off for the edge on a scramble that he converts for a first time a lot more often than not. However, Smith was able to beat him, and force him out of bounds two yards shy of a first down, forcing Arizona’s first punt of the game. Under normal circumstances it’s a great play. Coming off a week in which he battled through a hamstring injury, it's incredible.

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