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Bears get outmanned in Dallas
The fight back was impressive, but in the end, talent still matters
For a team with five losses in eight games, especially one that is clearly rebuilding, you would think they would be consistently outclassed. But that hadn’t really happened to the Bears until yesterday in Dallas. They showed the same fight that we’ve become accustomed to, cutting a 28-7 deficit to 28-23 before it all got out of hand again, but this time they were no match for their opponent.
The Cowboys are likely the second-best team in the NFC, and without the handicap of employing Mike McCarthy as their head coach they might well be the best team in the conference.
That talent was on display as they rolled up 49 points, 442 yards of total offense and only needed to possess the ball for 23 minutes to accumulate all of that.
The Bears’ offensive numbers ended up looking good. They gained 371 yards, scored 29 points and ran for more than 200 yards for the third straight game.
They clearly have taken a step up the last couple of weeks, then again, not crapping their pants on every play would have qualified as a step up from the Washington game three weeks ago.
I had a hunch the game would not be running diary worth, and man was it not, so instead here’s my version of Dan Pompei’s half-assed bullet point columns.
There was a lot wrong with this play, and honestly, the least of it was Justin Fields leaping over Micah Parsons.
First off, no other Bears quarterback in history would have jumped over Parsons there. Most of them wouldn’t have been anywhere near him, because few of them ever chased plays down the field, and the ones that would have would have run into Parsons and broke both their legs.
Also, why wasn’t Parsons down? He’s on all fours over ball, isn’t that considered giving yourself up? For safety’s sake you’d think they’d blow the whistle when a player has recovered a fumble and is doing downward dog in the middle of the field if only to save him from having Teven Jenkins run over and hit him in the spine.
The play was also only a fumble for a touchdown because of the great move David Montgomery made to get free, then he got hit and started to lose his balance and it still looked like he was going to pick up the first down, but the ball went one way and he went face down into the turf. Oh, well.
The Bears were due to have a fumble returned for a TD on them. Coming into the game hey had lost only four of their nineteen fumbles this season. They recovered all five of them last week. So of course, this week they fumble just once and it gets returned for a touchdown.
After further review, the orange helmets and uniforms still suck. They’re truly awful. The Bears are 0-2 in them. Let’s burn ‘em.
The helmets and uniforms, not the Bears. Don’t burn the Bears.
Well, don’t burn all of the Bears.
Speaking of a burnt Bear, the Cowboys’ first four drives consisted of running the ball and throwing passes to whoever Kindle Vildor was covering.
Cole Kmet caught a touchdown pass!
I thought the Cowboys were going to ask for a replay review, not because Kmet didn’t get his feet in bounds, just because the whole things seemed so unlikely.
The Bears operate at a talent deficit every week, but some weeks it’s more noticeable than others. This was one of those weeks. There were a couple of big plays that the Bears missed on because of the limitations of Eqwanamous and Dante Pettis, but most jarring was when Teven limped off for a few plays, the Bears interior line was Dieter Eiselen, Sam Mustipher and Michael Scofield III. Yikes.
I mean, just the fact that on every other play two of those guys were playing is bad enough.
The Bears avoided having the first 50 burger hung on them since it happened twice in a two game span to the Fighting Marc Trestmen in 2014. It almost happened last year when the Packers scored 45 on the night Matt Nagy was having so much “fun.” And, the John Fox Bears gave up 48 to the Cardinals in 2015.
Even if they had given up 50+ this game wouldn’t have felt like any of those. The Bears didn’t roll over, they kept fighting back. Hell, they scored FOUR touchdowns themselves, which feels like 40. Still, I was glad it didn’t happen.
The Bears went for two twice because the math told them to. When they scored to cut it to 28-23 they went for it to try to get within a field goal. Then when it was 42-29 they went for it to try to get it to 11 where a field goal and touchdown with a two pointer would tie the game. But I think the chart every team uses to determine when they go for two should have two other things written on it. One would be, DO NOT USE UNTIL THE FOURTH QUARTER. The other, say, when it’s 42-29, should say DON’T FUCKING BOTHER.
And do the Bears really go for two anyway? Given the plays they are running they are basically going for zero.
Teven came into the game having allowed zero sacks. He did not leave the game having allowed zero sacks.
Fields played well again, which honestly, is mostly what counts this year. One thing he noticeably improved on, which would really help this offense long term, were his short passes. He had the great one where he changed his arm angle and throw around a Cowboys defender, but one thing he has struggled with all year is just making simple short passes. When they scheme up an easy throw for him, it’s nice when he gets production out of it. Nice for the offense, and nice for him.
He also threw some nice deep balls. One of which went right through Velus Jones’ hands.
Velus had two rushes for 33 yards, and it is tantalizing to see him run when he hasn’t dropped a pass or a punt.
The Bears receivers might be limited, but one thing that two of them do exceptionally well is block. Eqwanamous and N’Keal Harry are both really good at blocking on the edge, something that helps your quarterback average more than 70 yards rushing per game for the last three weeks.
The Bears ran a weird trick play where Fields threw a short pass to Dante Pettis and then Pettis threw all the way back across the field to David Montgomery. It didn’t work, at all. The play was in the game plan because like the Bears, the Cowboys defense pursues hard and they are susceptible to misdirection. But it looked like Pettis didn’t wait long enough before he threw. Not only were not enough Cowboys out of position yet, but Montgomery hadn’t gotten to where Pettis was throwing. The ball bounced out of bounds, but was eventually ruled an illegal forward pass, which it wasn’t. It was just a really terrible backwards pass.
Big Play Bob Quinn’s presence was obviously missed. The Bears got only five tackles and five assists from their d-linemen. If Quinn had been around, one of those fives would have been a six.
So, what do we classify this as? An ass-whupping? A “good” loss? A tank win? Ahh, who gives a shit? This team is literally not constructed to beat a really good team. It’s a choice they made coming into the season. And it was the only right one. The new guys inherited a bad team with a few good players, and they still have a bad team with a few good players, but one with nine draft picks and $125 million in cap space. The fact that they largely compete with this bunch is pretty impressive. But losses are a natural (and important) part of this process. The worst thing they could be is a bad football that claws its way into a playoff spot and a mid-round draft slot. Thankfully, I don’t think we really need to worry about that.
Next up for the Bears, another offense they’ll have to try to keep up with. The Dolphins, who lead the NFL in passing yards. I’m sure it’ll be fine.