Report Card: Bears position grades after win over Cardinals
Matt Marton - USA Today Sports

Report Card: Bears position grades after win over Cardinals

by - Staff Writer -

The Bears began this season with heightened expectations after they finished with a league-worst 3-14 and traded the No. 1 overall pick in a deal to acquire DJ Moore and draft capital. The Bears added exponentially to the offensive line and the defense and were widely anticipating a significant improvement in 2023. However, it had gotten off to an extremely rough start through four weeks. But since then, the Bears have been 6-5 and have balanced some hideous losses with some well-deserved wins.

The Bears, coming off their third 4th quarter-blown lead of the season, bounced back to beat Arizona 27-16 on Christmas Eve.

Here are the Bears positional grades:


Justin Fields was under center for the Bears once again and was up and down. Fields was 15 of 27 for 170 yards and a TD, and he also carried the ball nine times for 97 yards on the ground with a TD as well. Fields threw one interception. It was a solid game for Justin and resulted in a win. The Bears will need to continue to see improvement out of Fields in this system, but I still don’t think anybody is sure about having him replaced.


Khalil Herbert has been back from injured reserve for the last several weeks but finally looked like the ball carrier the Bears chose over David Montgomery for the future. He carried the ball 20 times for 112 yards and a TD and added a catch for 9 yards on the ground. Rookie Roschon Johnson is also healthy and had nine carries for 37 yards, he also had three catches for 16 yards. Former Panther D’onte Foreman has led the way over the last few weeks while the other backs were injured, but he was injured himself. The Bears were the league’s top rushing offense a year ago, but they have not yet entirely been able to unleash their four-headed monster. Expect them to involve this unit continually, and it should also open up the passing game.


This unit was supposed to take one of the largest steps from last season to this one, and it has been up and down this year. Chase Claypool was traded to Miami midyear after being a nonfactor, which has turned the WR room into the DJ Moore show. Moore has been excellent this season, but after getting banged up on the game's first drive, he was pretty quiet throughout with three catches for 18 yards. Darnell Mooney had two catches for 5 yards, and Velus Jones Jr. had just one carry for four yards. The WR room accounted for only 23 passing yards.


He was highlighted by the newly paid Cole Kmet, this group was great. Kmet had four catches for 107 yards, Robert Tonyan had a catch for 14 yards and Mercedes Lewis caught a one-yard TD.


Similarly to last season’s debauchery, the offensive line has been a weakness. However, they were pretty good on Sunday. Fields was sacked just once, and the run game was great. It was one of their best games of the season. A good Bears season and future is dependent on this group improving.


The defensive line was much better in stopping the run, and they turned in one of their best efforts in QB pressure we’ve seen all year. It was just the Bears’ seventh multi-sack game. Justin Jones had a sack, and Montez Sweat was active as well — proving to be well worth the trade and extension.


No Roquan Smith headlining this group, but they are still the defense’s strengths. New additions T. J. Edwards and Tremaine Edmunds have been the bread and butter thus far, and they combined for 12 tackles. They will remain the base of this Bears defense that needs to be better late in games.


The Bears were once again with Kyler Gordon, Jaylon Johnson, Eddie Jackson, and Jaquan Brisker, and they turned in a solid effort. The Bears did not generate any interceptions of Kyler Murray but kept the Cardinals from turning in big plays.


Cairo Santos was 2-of-2 on field goals with three extra points. Trenton Gill punted five times and nailed two inside the 20. The return game was nothing special.


The 15th game of the second season of the Matt Eberflus era was not much better from the play-calling department. According to a newly released metric, the Bears' play calling has been the worst in the NFL — which has been no surprise to those who watch this team week in and week out. Fields was not unleashed, but the Bears did come away with the win.

The coaching staff needs to be confident in Fields like they are on the first and second half's first drive and stick with him throughout the game.

The Bears will look to stay in the win column on New Year’s Eve against the Atlanta Falcons at Soldier Field.

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