Three Takeaways From Bears loss to Lions
|Monday, November 14, 2022, 9:08 AM- -|
For the third straight week, the Chicago Bears continued to play inspired football and gave the fans a glimpse of the future. The only problem is when your defense allows more than 30 points a game consistently, it makes it hard for the offense to win games, as they fell to 3-7 on the season and just 1-3 in their last four games.
With that, the Bears are also winless in the NFC North and fell into last place, .5 games behind the 3-6 Detroit Lions, who are now 2-1 in the Division. Say what you will about the direction of this franchise, but the bottom line was this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Ryan Poles and his group. He was more content with building for the future, and that future appears to be very bright as long as Justin Fields continues to play the way he has and grow as a passer.
Cole Kmet and his sudden resurgence
When the Bears drafted Cole Kmet out of Notre Dame in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the hopes were for him to take over for Jimmy Graham and become the game-changing TE they have been searching for. In his first season, Kmet was only used sparingly at best as Matt Nagy, and his staff brought him into game action slower than most anticipated.
Then came year two, where he started to show more potential as a player, but did so on an inconsistent basis. He still managed to top 600 yards receiving that season, but some felt he left more to be desired. 2022 was supposed to be a breakout year for him, but the first five weeks of the season looked like he was taking a step back.
However, in the weeks since, Kmet has become one of the more reliable TEs in this league and quickly become one of Field's favorite targets, and it has been huge for the offense. Yesterday, Kmet led the team in receiving with 74 yards and hauled in two touchdowns. This was the type of player the Bears were hoping Kmet could turn into, even though it took a bit longer than expected.
The Bears finally have a franchise QB
One of the biggest reasons the Bears haven't had the success of the Green Bay Packers and other teams is because they have lacked a franchise QB for the longest time. Jay Cutler was the closest they came years ago, but even he was not the answer in Chicago.
Mitch Trubisky was drafted in 2018 and was expected to be that guy, but a lack of development and improper coaching ruined his time in Chicago, forcing the Bears to go in a different direction. That direction was Fields, who appears to be the real deal. The inconsistent passing is still a concern, but what do you expect when you don't have a true No.1 WR?
Give him more weapons on the outside, and those passing numbers will improve, which is all you can ask for from a young QB. However, the legs of Fields have turned this offense around as he has nearly 100 yards rushing for the season, with a large chunk of that coming over the last five games.
He recently set the NFL single-game record for rushing yards by a QB and threatened to rebreak that record on Sunday. Having a QB run as much as Fields is not ideal, but why fix what isn't broken at this point? Fields is proving the doubters wrong as he continues to improve each week and show the fans he is more than capable of being a franchise QB.
This team is not that far off
Despite their 3-7 record, the Bears have been much more competitive, especially over their last four games. Although they have posted a 1-3 record in that span with three straight losses, the team is averaging better than 30 points per game offensively, which fans have longed for years.
However, the defense has let them down the past month as they are allowing more than 35 PPG over their last three games. That makes winning very hard, and the Bears are finding that out the hard way. Looking at the NFC North, the Minnesota Vikings are the most talented team in the division, and their 8-1 record indicates that.
Outside of them, no one in the division is better than 4-6, and you have to look at the talent gap in the division. Despite his struggles, Aaron Rodgers is still the best QB in the division, but the gap between him and the rest of the QBs is closing. Then you look at the rest of the rosters, where you could argue that the Packers have more depth, but the Bears may have more talent, especially on the offensive side.
This team may not be that far off from competing. All they need to do is add more depth to the offensive line, add an elite receiver and fix a lifeless defense. That doesn't seem too hard, especially considering how much money they have to spend next season.