INGLEWOOD, Calif. – For once on a “Blue Monday” for the Bears, the biggest concern isn’t really their offense.
Look, people are talking about the team’s quarterback play, as Justin Fields had a collection of plays sprinkled in with starter Andy Dalton. The rookie even scored a touchdown, providing the brightest moment in the second half when the Bears were down by just six.
Fields’ time is coming sooner than later, no matter how much the Bears may want to stick with the veteran Dalton. The unit actually had its moments on Sunday thanks to the inspired running of David Montgomery (108 yards, 6.8 per carry, TD), Fields’ touchdown, and some decent plays by the starting quarterback to get seven drives inside Rams’ territory.
While impressive, the unit managed just 14 points on the night, which wasn’t going to cut it because of the biggest concern of the night for the Bears. It’s not one that people are used to discussing when it comes to this team in the Matt Nagy era, but as the fourth season of it begins, the defense is the primary cause for concern after a 34-14 loss at SoFi Stadium.
The struggles can be summed up in one screenshot.
This is a shot of Cooper Kupp making a 56-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter on Sunday, doing so without having a Bears’ player within ten yards of him. Eddie Jackson, Marqui Christian, and Tashaun Gipson Jr. helplessly watch as Kupp gets into the endzone untouched.
It’s a moment that was repeated a few times on the evening by the defense, who had a number of blown coverages that allowed Matthew Stafford to keep the Rams’ offense rolling most of the evening. Van Jefferson had similar separation on his 67-yard touchdown on Los Angeles’ first offensive series that got the defense off on the wrong foot.
Those were one of seven pass plays on the night by the Rams that went for 17-or-more yards, as the unit gave up 312 passing yards and 11.6 per completion during the evening. Along with coverage issues came problems with tackling, as misses piled up through the night and allowed Los Angeles to open up what was a six-point game in the third quarter.
A 3rd-and-13 with 6:40 to go in the game was the perfect example, as Kupp worked around a few missed tackles to pick up a first down that essentially ended the game.
“It definitely doesn’t sit well,” said linebacker Roquan Smith of the performance. “We know that’s not our style. We know we have to come in this week, we all have to look ourselves in the mirror, and we just have to get better from it because that’s not the standard.
“We have to keep the standard the standard.”
To be frank, they didn’t on Sunday, making for a rare Bears loss where it was the defense that was taking most of the criticism.