Bears in Brief: Bears blow late lead to Lions, lose 34-30


Anthony Marsicano, Opinion Editor

It’s been over 50 days since the Chicago Bears have won a football game. It’s been seven weeks since they defeated the Panthers in Charlotte, and the Bears have dropped each of their six games played since then. This game against their rival Detroit Lions was supposed to be different. Chicago hasn’t lost to Detroit since 2017, and in their third straight game against an NFC North team, the Bears should be as motivated as ever. Both Mitch Trubisky and Matt Nagy boasted undefeated records against the Lions, and with Akiem Hicks back from injury on defense. 


Late in the fourth quarter of the game, statistical experts gave the Bears over a 99 percent chance to win the game. Their offense had delivered perhaps their best performance against this Lions defense since, well, their week one game against this same Lions defense. Chicago put up 9 points in the first quarter and 14 in the second. The halftime score was 23-13 with the Bears on top. They then went quiet during the third quarter (as has become expected) scoring zero points during that time for the tenth time this year. They’ve scored 14 points in the third quarter (the lowest in the NFL) and only six of which came from the offense and not special teams. Their points differential is (-69) in the third quarter, the lowest in the NFL.




Trubisky didn’t exactly play badly. He played the role of the below-average but still somewhat serviceable quarterback. He went 26/34 and threw a touchdown but also fumbled in a costly situation. Other than that, David Montgomery torched the Lions’ defense. He had 113 total scrimmage yards and two touchdowns, looking unstoppable in the first half. Other than that, the poor defensive play and heartbreaking loss overshadowed any other positives from the game. One play I loved, in case you didn’t love him already, was Cordarale Patterson showcased his athleticism by stretching his arm to reach for a key first down. The awareness, the pure athleticism required to make this play just exemplifies how he gives his full effort on every play, and it’s almost impossible not to love that.




Where has Robert Quinn been? The former Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman has gone unnoticed recently, despite being in for roughly 80 percent of snaps on defense. Quinn was the talk of the Bears free agency, their biggest signing both financially and in terms of reputation. GM Ryan Pace inked Quinn to a 5-year 70 million dollar contract with $30M of that being guaranteed. He was the expensive replacement for Leonard Floyd, the Bears’ 2016 first-round draft pick who they decided not to bring back for a fifth year. Floyd was quickly scooped up by the Los Angeles Rams on a 1-year $10M contract. He has 7.0 sacks so far in his first year with his new team, Khalil Mack and Quinn have 7.5 sacks combined. That bad stat gets worse when you see that Mack has 6.5, meaning Quinn has recorded one measly sack all year. He’s just been absent all year after his first game where he recorded his only sack and forced a fumble. Bears fans probably won’t be thrilled to be paying Quinn $14M a year until he turns 35. But does this massive decline in production say more about Quinn or Bears defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano?


The Bears hired Pagano to fill the spot vacated by Vic Fangio in 2019 when he left to become the head coach of the Denver Broncos. Pagano has an extensive coaching resume that began in 1984 at the college level, but fans remember him most as the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts from 2012 to 2017. His initial hire as Bears defensive coordinator was met with a positive reception, but it’s become increasingly clear that he is the reason why his players aren’t performing to the level they were in 2018. Cornerback Kyle Fuller had a league-leading seven interceptions in 2018, and his fellow defensive back Eddie Jackson only had one less. Both players were top 5 in passes defended, and Jackson led the league in non-offensive TDs with three. So far in 2020? Neither of them even reach the top-10 in any of the aforementioned categories. And this goes further than the stat sheet. It feels like Jackson is always trying to catch up to his man, and Fuller seems more interested in going for the bigger, highlight-reel hit than wrapping up to tackle. And while it is exciting as a fan, it’s also selfish and inefficient. You can make the argument that both safety Taushaun Gipson Jr. and corner Jaylon Johnson have each had better seasons than their positional counterparts. Linebacker Roquan Smith is fourth in the league in combined tackles, second in tackles for loss, and he leads the NFL in solo tackles. He’s been perhaps the Bears’ best and most consistent player on defense, he surely deserves a Pro Bowl nod. So why does he never blitz? It seems like every time he does, it’s extremely effective. It’s just another way Pagano and his scheme are limiting this defense’s production during the short window of opportunity.


Next week the Bears take on the Houston Texans. The roster the Bears will see on Sunday will be the worst version of the 4-8 Texans. Key players like Will Fuller V and David Johnson are inactive, and the team has been without superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins since they traded him earlier this season. Still, after this Lions game, I’m not sure this game will be the cakewalk victory I had previously thought. There are only a select few teams in the NFL I think the Bears are capable of beating right now, and I don’t know if the Texans are one of them. With playoff hopes all but gone for both teams, It will be intriguing to see whether the Bears lose enough games to earn a high draft pick, or if Matt Nagy and company will do just enough to not get fired. Either way, the rest of the season should be… interesting.