Bears in Brief – Bears lose fourth straight, fall 19-13 to rival Vikings on Monday Night Football

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Bears in Brief is a weekly column by Opinion Editor Anthony Marsicano in which he recaps Bears games and provides his own insight

Anthony Marsicano, Opinion Editor

The Bears suffered a tough loss against the Tennessee Titans last week, but even after dropping their third consecutive game, there was a bit of optimism to be had. After an atrocious outing, head coach Matt Nagy finally relinquished play-calling duties. Both Fans and the media have been calling for this to happen for weeks. First-year offensive coordinator Bill Lazor would be handed the reins to the offense. He would be forced to establish the run game without running back David Montgomery who was ruled out with a concussion. It appeared that veteran back Lamar Miller, return specialist Cordarrelle Patterson and undrafted rookie Artavis Pierce would each see their fair share of playing time.

 

Likes

 

The Bears’ special teams play continues to shine. 100 percent of the team’s points Monday night came from special teams. The most memorable play came when Cordarrelle Patterson took the second-half kickoff 104 yards to the house. With this return, he became only the second player ever to score eight touchdowns off of kick returns. This was the second of his eight career kickoff touchdowns to happen in a Bears uniform. Signing with the Bears prior to the 2019 season, Patterson has brought excitement to returns that hasn’t been present in Chicago since Devin Hester. Aside from returns, special teams continued its excellence. Punter Pat O’Donnell has been consistently solid (though I’d like the team to be punting less and scoring more), and kicker Cairo Santos remains perfect on extra point attempts and hasn’t missed a field goal since week three. With these three guys at the helm, I truly believe that even a slightly above average offense would instantly become a Super Bowl contender when paired with the Bears’ defensive and special teams units.

 

Dislikes

 

The Bears could cut cornerback Buster Skrine tomorrow and I would celebrate the decision. He has gone from turning in below-average performances to being a straight-up liability on defense. The Vikings struck first in this game, quarterback Kirk Cousins found receiver Adam Thielen in the endzone for six. Take a look at the coverage by Skrine on this play. The play begins with him getting beat instantly which happens entirely too often. After this happens, Skrine plays cornerback the same way children do in pickup football; he runs straight ahead with his arms extended and his back turned on the ball, just hoping for the best. Thielen effortlessly snags the ball with one arm, then literally shrugs in disbelief as if it was too easy. Watch this play that started the second quarter; Skrine leaves receiver Justin Jefferson wide open and then misses the tackle after the catch. Later in the 4th quarter, with the game tied on a 3rd down inside the 10, Thielen absolutely destroys Skrine’s ankles, crossing him up for his second touchdown of the night. I buried my face in my hands as I watched the nickel corner replace an injured Jaylon Johnson for a stretch of the game. Skrine consistently misses tackles, gets toasted on routes, gives up big plays, and is the one blemish on an otherwise elite defense. I’d like to see rookie Kindle Vildor take his spot. He may be a fifth-round pick with zero NFL experience, but I honestly can’t see how he could be any worse than Skrine. 

 

Quarterback is a serious problem. We had known for a while that Nick Foles is not the long-term answer, but now it comes into question whether he is the short term answer. He is 2-5 in his seven starts as a Bear. Statistically, he’s been barely better if not worse than Mitchell Trubisky was in his three games played. Ignoring statistics, He refuses to leave the pocket, which is essential for a Bears quarterback to do with this offensive line, and his accuracy has been noticeably off all year. After Foles was carted off the field at the very end of the Vikings game, Tyler Bray suited up and entered the game with Mitchell Trubisky on the injury report. Bray went 1-5 for 18 yards while trying to advance against a prevent defense. Each of his horrible misses may have been some of the worst throws I’ve seen a Bears quarterback make in my lifetime. It’s clear that the Bears need a quarterback by next season, the question is; should Ryan Pace be trusted to make that selection? During his tenure in Chicago, the general manager has acquired a quarterback through every way of doing so, free agency, trades, and the draft. He signed Mike Glennon to a 3-year $45 million in 2017, just weeks before trading up to select Trubisky second overall in that draft, and we all know how both of those decisions turned out. Call it too early to tell, but it’s hard to not look at Foles as a failure just like the other two. There are other factors, but putting up 149 yards of total offense like they did Monday Night does not look good for the starting quarterback, to say the least. At this point in the season, fans may just need to accept the uncertain future of drafting a quarterback again, and they should expect Ryan Pace at the helm.

 

The Bears have their BYE week in between this game and their next matchup against their storied rivals: the Green Bay Packers. The first of two matchups this season will commence on Sunday Night Football. Entering Sunday night, the Packers lead the all-time series 99-95-6. The Bears look for their first win against Green Bay since 2018, as well as their first win since week six of this season. The Packers look to defend their streak in the rivalry but also are hoping to prove themselves as a legitimate contender after losing to the Colts and Vikings in recent weeks. Aaron Rodgers and the supposedly elite Packers offense has been stifled when presented with a good defense like Tampa Bay or Indianapolis, and we’ve seen what happens when the Packers’ run defense is challenged. While I have no doubt that the Bears’ defense can do their part if fully healthy, Chicago just doesn’t have a strong enough run game, especially if David Montgomery does not return. Nothing is impossible, but this is shaping up to be yet another game where the Bears get embarrassed in front of a national audience.