The Chicago Bears opened the 2021 season with a 34-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles Sunday night.
In many ways, it was a head-scratcher.
If one looks at everything but the scoreboard, this was a pretty even match-up. Consider:
- The Bears had 24 first downs to the Rams’ 18
- Total yardage was Rams 386 vs. Bears 322, largely due to the fact that the Rams had one more possession than the Bears
- The Bears won the time-of-possession battle 35:14 to 24:46, and had 19 more plays than the Rams
- The Bears were 2 of 3 in the red zone, to the Rams 2 of 4
- The Bears rushed for 134 yards with a 5.2 yards-per-carry average, even though they were playing catch-up most of the night
- The Bears punted only once, and they got into Rams territory on all of their first 7 possessions
And yet, the final score.
So, we have some questions:
How in the heck did the Bears score only 14 points?
For most of the night, the Bears marched up and down the field, and seemed to spend the evening in Rams’ territory. And yet, they wound up with a paltry 14 points. The most obvious factor was the disastrous interception in the end zone thrown by Bears QB Andy Dalton at the end of the opening drive. Yes, the ball was tipped, but if anyone can identify a receiver anywhere near where Dalton threw the ball, they should join the FBI. And so it went most of the night. Every time the Bears got in field goal range they eschewed points and tried to convert on fourth down. They went 0-4 in that effort.
Did the Bears’ defense miss the memo that last night’s game was regular season?
The Bears looked disorganized and frequently lethargic on defense for much of the night, never more obviously than on deep passing routes by the Rams upon which the Bears secondary routinely blew coverage.
Has anyone told safeties Eddie Jackson and Tashaun Gipson that, in the pros, you have to touch a player when he’s down for him to be called down?
Does anyone know the whereabouts of Robert Quinn (half sack, 1 tackle, no TFLs, 2 QB hits), Khalil Mack (1 tackle, no sacks, no TFLs), and Bilal Nichols (1 tackle, no sacks, no TFLs)?
We could go on, but you get the point.
The bottom line is that, despite the score, there were some legit bright spots last night. Dalton played reasonably well with the exception of the aforementioned end zone pic. Running back David Montgomery was a force all night, ending with 108 yards on 16 carried (6.8 ave), and the Bears’ offensive line looked at very least competent against a daunting LA front four.
But the only thing that counts is the score. Let’s hope the Bears’ defense decides to show up next week against the Cincinnati Bengals, who looked impressive in a 27-24 overtime win at Minnesota. Otherwise, it’s going to be a grim fall and winter for the Beloved.
Silver-lining alert: The Packers lost worse than the Bears, getting routed by the New Orleans Saints 38-3 in Jacksonville. There’s always a bright side….