The Chicago Bears lost 34-30 to the Detroit Lions in their Week 13 matchup. It was an embarrassing loss, as the Bears defense once again looked terrible and they blew a large lead. Here are 3 Bears takeaways from Week 13.
It is time to clean house
After an uninspiring Week 12 performance against the Packers, Head Coach Matt Nagy told the media that they were going to give their all against the Lions. That things would be different. That they learned their lesson after last week’s embarrassment. He was wrong.
Nagy’s players once again gave up. Against a mediocre Lions team, they allowed 34 points and did nothing to stop the opposing offense. Quarterback Matt Stafford carved up Chicago’s defense, throwing for 402 passing yards, 9.6 yards per attempt and 3 touchdowns. Veteran running back Adrian Peterson had 2 easy rushing touchdowns.
A Bears defense that is supposed to be special once again looked disheartened.
Part of this falls on Matt Nagy, but Defensive Coordinator Chuck Pagano is also to blame. He has found a way to minimize the Bears star defensive players and Chicago no longer makes special plays on defense. Over Chicago’s 6 game losing streak, the defense has 8 sacks and 0 interceptions by the secondary. Pass rusher Khalil Mack and safety Eddie Jackson, two supposed superstars, are irrelevant, largely because of Chuck Pagano.
Matt Nagy and the Bears coaching staff have proven to be terrible with player development as well. Their mishandling of the development of Mitchell Trubisky is obvious. But this season, former Bears players have done very well on other teams. Nick Kwiatkowski, Leonard Floyd, Trey Burton and Adam Shaheen are all having career years with their new teams, while the Bears organization is thinking “What did we miss?”
General Manager Ryan Pace has done a terrible job building the team. Chicago’s staff cannot develop their players. Matt Nagy and Chuck Pagano look lost out there. President George McCaskey needs to make serious changes to the Bears organization.
Young players are starting to take control
Rookies and young players are starting to emerge for Chicago, particularly on offense.
On offense, rookie Darnell Mooney has officially overtaken Anthony Miller. Mooney is the second receiver on Chicago’s depth chart, only behind star Allen Robinson. While Miller makes mistakes, the 5th round draft pick out of Tulane is the only wide receiver in the NFL to have 60 or more targets and 0 drops.
Meanwhile, rookie tight end Cole Kmet has surpassed veteran Jimmy Graham. Against the Lions, Kmet had 54 snaps while Graham only had 34. Kmet had 5 receptions on 7 targets, while Graham only had 1 target and no receptions. This change makes sense, as Kmet is the superior blocker and has generally played better than Graham.
On the offensive line, rookie Sam Mustipher and second year Alex Bars are now starting at center and guard. Bars, after being a bench player in his first year, took over for the struggling Rashaad Coward. Meanwhile, Mustipher took over for Cody Whitehair at center. It is not a coincidence that the Bears line has performed much better since Bars’ and Mustipher’s introduction into the starting lineup.
On defense, rookie Jaylon Johnson is Chicago’s second starting cornerback. Even though he makes rookie mistakes, he has generally played very well, with 15 pass deflections and 41 tackles.
Get ready for the draft, not the playoffs
Coming into Sunday, if the Bears won and the Arizona Cardinals lost, Chicago would have the seventh seed in the playoffs. Despite their recent struggles, the Bears were theoretically still in the hunt for a playoff spot. Even though the Cardinals lost, there should be no hope a Chicago playoff run. Instead, the Bears should prepare for the draft.
At the rate they are playing, Chicago should have a top 16 draft choice. Fortunately, the 2021 NFL Draft has a deep quarterback class. Quarterbacks Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Zach Wilson, Kyle Trask and Mac Jones are all projected first round picks.
The Bears obviously need a new quarterback. If there was ever a year to get one, this is the year. However, with many recent bad draft choices made by the front office, Chicago will need to be ready.
With six strong quarterback prospects (even though Chicago will likely only have a shot at three of them), the Bears need to be completely prepared. The decision they make could very well determine the future of Chicago football. There is no need to worry about the playoffs anymore, so the Bears must focus on the upcoming NFL draft.
“From Our Haus to Yours”