EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ — Nothing went according to plan for the Bears against the New York Jets on Sunday at MetLife Stadium.
The result? A 31-10 blowout loss in which the talent gap between the two teams was evident for 60 minutes.
It started with a Bizzaro World quarterback carousel that saw the Bears make Justin Fields inactive and announce Trevor Siemian as the starter before saying Nathan Peterman would start after Siemian suffered a pregame oblique injury. All that back and forth was rendered irrelevant when Siemian took the field on the Bears’ first offensive possession.
Eddie Jackson and Darnell Mooney both left the game with injuries, and try as he might, Siemian couldn’t play the role of equalizer Fields has worn for the past month.
The Bears were overmatched from the opening kick, and the report card reflects a team with a lot of work to do when Fields isn’t there to clean things up.
Siemian got off to a hot start Sunday in New Jersey. The veteran quarterback went 6-for-8 116 yards in the first quarter.
Siemian threw a couple of 50/50 balls to Chase Claypool and found Byron Pringle in the back of the end zone for the Bears’ lone touchdown of the day.
The sharp start fizzled quickly as the Bears got down by multiple scores and could not throw their way back into the game.
Siemian should be commended for fighting through an oblique injury, but the passing game struggled to move the ball consistently. The loss of Darnell Mooney to an ankle injury only made matters worse in the second half.
The Bears’ vaunted rushing attack was missing its deadliest weapon Sunday with Fields on the sideline.
In an ideal world, the Bears would have liked to rely on their offensive staples in a New Jersey downpour. But without the threat of Fields’ legs, the Bears’ ground game was somewhat neutered.
David Montgomery had a solid day, rushing for 79 yards on 14 attempts. But with Fields and Khalil Herbert injured, the Bears’ three-headed monster was reduced to one.
Darrynton Evans was the No. 2 option Sunday. He rushed for 34 yards on nine carries and caught one pass for 33 yards.
The offensive line was whipped most of the day at the point of attack by a deep and fierce Jets’ defensive front.
All in all, an ugly offensive day without Justin Fields. But a decent day for Montgomery.
The Bears entered Sunday already down two top defenders as rookies Jaquan Brisker and Kyler Gordon remain in concussion protocol.
When safety Eddie Jackson left the game in the second quarter with a left foot injury, the Bears were officially trotting out a MASH unit other than Jaylon Johnson.
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As a result, Jets quarterback Mike White picked the Chicago secondary apart. White, who was named the starter Wednesday, went 22-for-28 for 315 yards and three touchdowns.
Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson, who had been invisible with Zach Wilson behind center, both found the end zone as the Jets rolled to a blowout win.
The Jets were without running back James Robinson and lost Michael Carter early in the game.
In theory, that should have benefited the Bears’ defense.
It did not.
Zonovan Knight rushed for 69 yards on 14 carries, and Ty Johnson racked up 62 yards and a score on five carries.
A putrid day.
The Bears’ kicking operation was decent in rainy conditions.
Rookie punter Trenton Gill booted five punts for an average of 48.8 and a long of 61.
There were no backbreaking mistakes which is a bonus for his unit.