Bears Grades: Secondary had no answers for Jordan Reed


Bears Grades: Secondary had no answers for Jordan Reed

Kyle Fuller gave the offense and the entire team a boost, drifting back to intercept a Kirk Cousins pass in the third quarter, his second INT of the year and leading to a touchdown. But it was one of the few bright moments for the secondary against a team not among the elite passing offenses in the NFL.

Cousins completed 10 of 11 passes in the first half alone, with four different receivers catching at least one pass 12 yards or longer. Cousins finished 24-for-31 for 300 yards, only the second time this season the Bears have allowed 300 passing yards, and seven different receivers had at least one catch of at least 12 yards.

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The secondary collectively failed to close on DeSean Jackson, with three defenders in the area, allowing Jackson to haul in a 29-yard throw in the third quarter to restore momentum to Washington. Defenders were virtually surrounding Jackson but failed to react to the ball for the breakup.

Fuller lost his footing and gave up a 17-yard completion to Rashad Ross, allowing a conversion on a third-and-12 in the first quarter, with Adrian Amos taking a poor angle coming on pursuit, extending the play. Amos and Fuller were beaten for a red-zone throw to Jordan Reed when the two DB’s were late passing off Reed in zone coverage, a situation compounded by poor tackling that allowed Reed to stretch the ball to the one-yard line, from where Alfred Morris scored on the next play.

Reed gutted the Bears with 120 yards on nine receptions as the Bears secondary and linebackers allowed too many soft areas in zones and failed to press receivers enough to throw off Cousins’ timing.

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Amos struggled in coverage against Reed and drew a pass-interference penalty for 32 yards in the first quarter. Fuller failed to seal the edge, closed down on a run fake and allowed Cousins outside for an easy read-option TD

Tracy Porter lost Jackson on a fly route and was called for pass interference, costing the defense 32 yards.

Sherrick McManis, pressed into service at nickel corner with Bryce Callahan inactive, allowed 19- and 14-yard completions in the fourth quarter with the defense in dire need of a stop to give the offense some field position.

Moon's Grade: D-

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

Bears backfield ranked fourth-best in NFL

The Chicago Bears have a really good problem in their backfield. Both Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen will demand touches in 2018 and are each starting-quality running backs. Howard is the more traditional first and second-down back while Cohen offers top-tier playmaking ability.

The duo is so talented that they were recently ranked the fourth-best backfield in the NFL.

The Chicago Bears' Jordan Howard has emerged as one of the NFL's top rushers. He finished his rookie season with 1,313 yards, second-most in the NFL. Last season, he rushed for 1,122 yards and 4.1 yards per carry even though Chicago had the league's least threatening passing attack (175.7 yards per game).

Howard isn't the only standout back on the roster, though. Tarik Cohen is a supremely talented runner and receiver and a perfect complement to Howard. Last season, he amassed 370 rushing yards, 53 receptions and 353 receiving yards.

The Bears' backfield was behind only the Rams, Saints and Chiefs.

Howard set Chicago's rookie rushing record with 1,313 yards in 2016 and became the first Bears running back to start his career with back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. He should be the Bears' primary back, but coach Matt Nagy expressed genuine excitement over Cohen's skill set which suggests he plans on getting him the ball quite a bit this season.

Regardless of how the touches play out, the Bears will present opposing defenses with one of the most challenging ground games in the NFL.

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen was NFL's best big-play RB in 2017

    Tarik Cohen's rookie season with the Chicago Bears was an impressive blend of running, receiving and special teams play. He quickly became a household name. The combination of his diminutive frame and oversized personality made him a fan favorite, especially when he started gaining yards in chunks.

    In fact, of all running backs with a minimum of 80 carries last season, Cohen had the highest percentage of runs that went for 15 or more yards, according to Pro Football Focus.

    Cohen will have a big role in new coach Matt Nagy's offense this season because of everything he offers a play-caller. He's a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield and can chew up yards on the ground like any traditional running back. He's a hold-your-breath talent who can turn a bad play into a touchdown in the blink of an eye.

    Cohen had 370 rushing yards, 353 receiving yards and three offensive touchdowns in what can be described as a limited role last year. John Fox and Dowell Loggains didn't seem to ever figure out how to best use Cohen's skill set. That should be no issue for Nagy and Mark Helfrich, the team's new offensive coordinator, who both bring a creative offensive approach to Chicago.

    Jordan Howard will be the starter and will do most of the heavy lifting. But Cohen is going to have a much bigger role than he had as a rookie, and that should result in more big plays and points on the board.