The Chicago Bears offense was uninspiring once again Sunday night in the team's 17-7 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. While they could've had another six points had kicker Eddy Pineiro connected on two early-game field goals, it still wouldn't have been enough to win the most important game of the season.
After 11 weeks (10 games), the Bears rank 28th in points per game with 16.9. To put their brutal season in perspective, the New York Jets, who've been atrocious this year, are averaging 16.4 points per game.
Essentially, Matt Nagy has coached Chicago's offense as effectively as Adam Gase has coached the Jets'.
Still, it's worth acknowledging strong individual performances in the midst of an overall letdown, and in Week 11's loss to the Rams, it was running back Tarik Cohen who stood tallest among his Bears' offensive teammates.
Cohen posted Chicago's highest Pro Football Focus grade on offense with a 74.3. He logged 45 snaps, 10 more than David Montgomery, and was effective when he touched the ball. He totaled 74 yards and a touchdown on 14 touches en route to being the Bears' most effective running back against a tough Rams defensive front. Montgomery managed just 31 yards on 14 carries.
Cohen hasn't had the kind of season that was expected from his role as a do-it-all offensive weapon; he's way behind his normal pace of production as both a runner and receiver. Cohen had 99 carries for 444 yards and three touchdowns to go along with 71 catches for 725 yards and five scores in 2018. He's on pace for just 186 rushing yards and 402 receiving yards this season.
Still, Sunday night's effort was a step in the right direction for him and a sign that he may continue to get more touches as the season comes to a close.
The Bears will be without one of their most important players on the team for the foreseeable future with the news that Akiem Hicks is headed to injured reserve, but fortunately for Chicago, this roster has enough talent on defense to survive the loss.
Khalil Mack, of course, leads the way. If the Bears can string together a bunch of wins over their final 11 games, Mack is having the kind of season that ill garner a few MVP votes. Pass rushers on Super Bowl contenders are at least worthy of the MVP discussion, and according to Pro Football Focus, no pass rusher is having a better year than Mack through six weeks of the 2019 season.
1. Khalil Mack, EDGE, Chicago Bears
Mack has been a force off the edge for the Bears in his second season in Chicago and leads all edge defenders with a 91.5 PFF pass-rushing grade through six weeks. From 191 pass-rushing snaps, he has racked up five sacks, two hits and 21 hurries.
There's more pressure than ever on Mack to perform now that Hicks is expected to be out until at least Week 15. Hicks has been Chicago's second-best sack artist since Mack's addition in 2018, and with little reason to believe OLB Leonard Floyd is capable of filling the pass-rush void, it's on Mack to continue playing like Superman.
Mack, more than any player in the NFL, is capable of answering that challenge.
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It seems like an eternity ago when Chicago Bears guard Kyle Long was considered one of the best young offensive linemen in the NFL. Now in his seventh season, Long's play has regressed steadily over the years in large part due to injuries that have limited him to just 29 starts since 2016.
He might be close to hitting rock bottom in 2019.
Long's Week 5 performance against the Oakland Raiders was bad. Really bad. It was so bad, in fact, that former Bears center Olin Kreutz questioned whether keeping Long in the starting lineup is the right move for the team.
The analytics back up the argument that Long's time as a starter may be coming to an end. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the Bears' lowest-graded player on offense in Week 5 with a putrid 42.3. And as shockingly bad as that grade is, it isn't Long's worst performance of the season. Per PFF, Long scored a 25.5 over 63 snaps against the Redskins in Week 3. Chicago won that game, making it possible to turn a blind eye to how bad Long was. But in a losing effort against a Raiders team that the Bears should've defeated? It's hard to ignore the obvious: Long is a liability right now.
He was especially bad in the run game, where the Bears have struggled to find a pulse. His 31.0 grade as a run blocker simply isn't good enough and is a big reason why rookie RB David Montgomery is getting met in the backfield rep after rep.
On the flip side, and to no surprise, Allen Robinson (7 rec., 97 yards, 2 TDs) was Chicago's best player on offense with an 85.0 grade. It was the first game this season that Robinson graded above an 80.