Three takeaways from Bears win over Bengals
|Monday, September 20, 2021, 10:58 AM- -|
Things did not come easy on Sunday, but the Bears did manage to pick up their first win of the season, topping the Bengals 20-17. Bears fans got what they wished for in Justin Fields seeing significant time on the field, but it came at the expense of an Andy Dalton injury in the second quarter.
After wowing virtually everyone in the preseason, Fields looked every bit of a rookie yesterday despite running for a crucial first down late in the game to seal things for the Bears. Fields finished with under 70 yards passing to go with one interception as the play calling was lackluster at best. All that matters is a win, and that is what the Bears came away with on Sunday.
The QB controversy is now a real thing
After constantly hearing that Dalton is the Bears starter since the day he was signed, it appears that it is Fields time to shine, with Dalton leaving Sunday with an injury. Although the Bears do not believe it is a torn ACL or season-ending injury, they believe he will miss some time which means it is Fields job unless he gets hurt.
This has 2017 written all over it when the Bears signed Mike Glennon in the offseason to be their starter only to draft Mitch Trubisky No. 2 overall. Trubisky became the team's starter when Glennon suffered a shoulder injury against the Green Bay Packers in a similar situation. The only difference was that it happened in week five, not week 2.
Fields has all the intangibles that you love in a franchise QB, even though he didn't get a chance to put those on display Sunday. The playcalling was very vanilla at best, and you could see the nerves from Fields under center. He looked like a rookie and played like one for most of his outing. He will get better as the season goes on, but if Dalton is healthy and ready to go, the QB controversy will heat up as Nagy will be forced to make the decision fans want him to make publicly.
Defense rises to the occasion
One week after Matthew Stafford and the Rams offense gashed through the Bears secondary, it was the defense rising to the occasion against the Bengals as they put the team on their back in the second half. It was the kind of game that fans were accustomed to seeing back in 2018, but one that hasn't come as often since.
Holding the lead midway through the third quarter, the Bears defense not only forced a fumble, but intercepted Joe Burrow on three consecutive possessions turning that into 13 points to build a 20-3 lead. That is what Sean Desai and this team expect from that group as Eddie Jackson finally looked like the All-pro he was when he signed his lucrative contract extension.
You also have players like Jaylon Johnson continue to prove he is a legitimate lockdown corner while Robert Quinn may have played his best game since joining the Bears last year. I am not expecting the Bears to force four turnovers every week, but this is the type of game the Bears defense is capable of playing.
With a rookie QB in Fields most likely starting the rest of the season, Chicago will look to take as much pressure off of him as possible. That all starts with the defense, as they can take over a game at any moment. They did that yesterday, and should that continue, Fields is talented enough to win plenty of games this season which will help the Bears fight for a postseason berth.
Bears snap counts…— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) September 20, 2021
• Jason Peters played the whole game.
• Lots of nickel for the defense — would imagine opponents that are comfortable in 11 personnel continue that trend.
• Christian Jones made the most of his one snap, setting up a sack for Roquan Smith. pic.twitter.com/8VAiAK6mzJ
Lack of TE production is an issue
One of the biggest components of Nagy's offense is the TE position, as he utilizes that more than most. With guys like Cole Kmet and Jimmy Graham on the roster, you have a guy in Kmet who is the possession TE you need to keep drives moving, while Graham is the Red Zone threat that comes away with touchdown receptions.
Through two games this season, neither one of them has done anything on the field, which is a concern for the offense. Kmet was looked at as having a breakout season, but has yet to do anything on offense. Graham is getting older and is becoming a liability outside the redzone, so why keep him on the roster.
Chicago is fortunate to be 1-1 this season as the offense hasn't looked good through two games. Even Allen Robinson is off to a slow start despite coming down with a touchdown yesterday. If the Bears are to be considered a legitimate threat this season, the TE production needs to start stepping up much like the rest of the offense. Nagy needs to get Kmet involved more to spread the field, which opens things up for Robinson and the rest of the Bears offensive threats.
#Bears TE Jimmy Graham wasn't targeted in Sunday's win. Cole Kmet did have 2 targets (1 officially due to a OPI call).— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) September 19, 2021