Bears News: Cole Kmet in

Bears News: Cole Kmet in "playoff mode" going into Lions rematch

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - Just a month ago, the NFC North looked like one of the worst, if not the worst, division in the NFL. Now, three out of the four teams have a non-losing record and are currently in the playoffs. That one team with the losing record in the North is the Bears, but they are still in contention for the playoffs if they win all of their remaining games this season.

If Chicago is able to win their next four games, their season finale against the Green Bay Packers could become a pivotal matchup in determining who will go to the playoffs. Tie breakers could become important in this scenario, and Green Bay’s victory against the Kansas City Chiefs serves to hurt the Bears since they lost to Kansas City earlier in the season.

However, in the final minute of the game, home-field advantage greatly came into play with the referees failing to call a blatant pass interference against former Packer receiver Marquez Valdez-Scantling and another missed interference on the hail mary attempt. When asked by the media about this play, Bears tight end Cole Kmet gave his take on the hail mary.

“I thought that one was a little obvious, you would think. But, those are tough because they’re going to be physical. Everyone is kind of playing the ball there,” Kmet said. “But, you would hope that if you get shoved or something like that, that maybe the refs would see that and call it.”

While Chicago certainly is not in control of their own fate, they are in control of whether they stay in contention for the playoffs. They finally managed to finish a game against a division opponent with the Minnesota Vikings, and are hoping to continue that trend going against the Detroit Lions on Sunday (Noon / FOX), as well as running the ball effectively.

“I think we’re running the ball really well the past couple of games. You look at our third down and red zone, it’s dropped a little bit compared to where it was in weeks prior. So, we want to get that back up and going. Obviously, the way we (finished) the game against Minnesota, I thought was a positive,” Kmet said. “So, we finish these five out here, and obviously, I’m treating it like we’re in playoff mode now. I think five very winnable games here to end the season and who knows what can happen at 9-8. I’m not looking too big picture, but you take it one week at a time. I think there’s a lot of flex about the bottom of the NFC here, especially for that seven / six spot. You never know what can happen, but you just got to take it one week at a time and we’ll see where it goes.”

Offensively, the Bears most likely do not stand a chance without heavy involvement from elite receiver DJ Moore. Moore is currently leading the Bears in receiving yards with 1,003 yards, making him the first 1,000-yard receiver for Chicago since Darnell Mooney did it in 2021. As Moore is averaging 83.6 yards per game, with five left, he is on track to tie Alshon Jeffrey’s 2013 season of 1,421 receiving yards as the second highest in a single season for a Chicago Bear.

However, as a tight end, Kmet has taken note of Moore’s blocking skills as he is always trying to help the team in any way that he can.

“He’s an all-round just great dude and great teammate. I think what sticks out to me is just how unselfish he is on the field as well and I know everyone sees the catches and the yards after catch that he makes,” Kmet said. “But, whenever you see yourself and I get the ball, whether it’s in the flat or downfield, you look up and he’s blocking his guy already. Those are the things that stick out to me and quite frankly as a guy who’s part of the line at times and pass pro, you know if we got a play dialed up for DJ, you’re going to be blocking extra hard here to make sure he gets that rock.”

On the blocking front, rookie Darnell Wright was thrown into the starting role right away. He has played 797 snaps this season, 99 percent of the offensive snaps, and has been doing a solid job overall.

As a rookie, he may still have a lot to learn, but physicality cannot be coached and, according to Kmet, that is something Wright brings every play.

“He’s still learning a lot in terms of the nuances of the game and seeing different looks and that stuff. But, his physicality and his athleticism is pretty rare, especially at the right tackle position and I look back to the Raiders game. He’s playing with one arm and he’s doing some pretty impressive stuff with one arm on a pretty good pass rusher at times,” Kmet said. “So, he’s been great. He’s been a lot of fun to play next to and he does a good job of keeping it loose out there, but also being a real physical monster. So, he’s been a lot of fun to play with.”

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