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The Chicago Bears kicked off the 2021 season with a disappointing 34-14 loss to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday Night Football, which marked their third consecutive loss in this series.
Overall, it was a rough outing for the Bears, whose defense struggled to contain Matthew Stafford and the Rams’ high-powered attack. Despite scoring just 14 points, there were encouraging signs from the offense. Bears fans were treated to a limited portion of Justin Fields, who left many begging for the rookie quarterback to take the field on a more permanent basis.
There was plenty to digest from Sunday’s game. Our Bears Wire staff is sharing their immediate reactions to Chicago’s opening loss of the season:
I don't think many were surprised by the actual outcome of this game, but there were some pleasant and brutal surprises in the Bears' losing effort. It just wasn't what we were anticipating, starting with how the offense outperformed the defense. We can't start talking about the offense without mentioning Justin Fields' debut, which was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise brutal loss. While we didn't get Fields to the extent that we wanted him, those five plays gave us a glimpse of how Fields can boost this Bears offense, including a 3-yard touchdown run that utilized his mobility. Interestingly enough, Matt Nagy said we would've seen more Fields had the game been closer. While Andy Dalton didn't get off to an encouraging start with an interception in the end zone on the first series, he had an otherwise decent debut for the Bears, where he proved to be an upgrade over Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles. The Bears offense only scored 14 points, but they were able to move the ball and sustain drives with a balanced attack, where third-year running back David Montgomery stole the show. He recorded 108 yards on 16 carries and a touchdown. Despite the loss, there were some encouraging signs from the offense against the league's best defense from a season ago. Perhaps the biggest shock was just how bad the Bears defense was in this game. Many expected Matthew Stafford to find new life with the Rams, but not to the tune of 34 points on a top-10 defense from one season ago. Poor tackling and blown coverages weren't a good look for the debut of Sean Desai's defense. Especially given there was a point late in the third quarter when Chicago's offense had narrowed the gap to just six points only for the defense to quickly give up a scoring drive. If the defense continues playing like, it's going to be a long season.
The Bears’ Week 1 loss to the Rams was a predictable outcome. We all knew this coming into the game, and with the rest of the NFC North also dropping to 0-1, it isn’t the end of the world. But the lack of big plays on offense and the failure to limit big plays on defense are obvious problems. The offense has an easy and logical fix: start Justin Fields. Fields was productive with his limited opportunities and his touchdown run was an example of his ability to make a tough play look routine. The Bears probably would have still lost the game with Fields in the lineup, but it would been much more competitive. The defense — namely the secondary — doesn’t have an easy solution. Eddie Jackson is looking more and more like a fourth-round pick than an elite NFL defender while the misfit collection of cornerbacks had no chance against Matthew Stafford and Rams coach Sean McVay. It was embarrassing. I’d expect some defensive backs to be worked out this week, along with offensive tackles because of the injuries to Jason Peters and Larry Borom. It’s never a fun Monday after a Bears loss, but hope remains with this team. Fields can turn this otherwise average group into a contender in a weak NFC North…if he ever gets a chance to.
Can we make a pact with the league schedule makers that the Bears and Rams no longer play in prime time? It’s been brutal to watch this team get outcoached and outplayed for three seasons in a row with the rest of the country. I think we all knew this Rams offense would be better with Matthew Stafford in tow, but nobody could have predicted how putrid this defensive performance would have been. Poor tackling, allowing too many explosive plays, bad penalties, all of it felt like watching the 2014 defense when teams were putting up 50 burgers on a consistent basis. Nothing went well for the defense last night and we can only hope this is a significant learning opportunity for Sean Desai and his players. On offense, it was as safe as can be. Andy Dalton attempted just one pass of 15 yards or more, which wound up being picked. Matt Nagy took no chances, resulting in a lot of yards, but not a lot of points. But we got to see Justin Fields and that was exciting, right? The rookie scored his first professional touchdown and showed the spark fans had seen in the preseason when he ran the ball in. Dalton’s clock is ticking with every positive play Fields gets when he enters the game. Now 0-1, a cakewalk against the Cincinnati Bengals next week doesn’t look so promising after they defeated the Minnesota Vikings. The Bears will have to fix quite a few holes in a short period of time to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start.
Though I predicted the Bears to lose this football game, I didn’t expect them to lose by 20 points. Some positives, Andy Dalton isn’t terrible. He’s bad, but not too bad. Of course, Justin Fields would have been the better option, though. It’s obvious that Matt Nagy started the wrong quarterback. In Fields’ few plays last night, he showed that he is NFL ready. There is no excuse not to play him going forward. That is the obvious choice. For Nagy, he is now 1-3 against the Rams. Everything has gone downhill since he accepted the Coach of the Year trophy in early 2019. Including the playoffs, the Bears are 16-18 since he walked on stage and accepted the trophy. Add the Eagles playoff game to it and they’re 16-19 in their last 35 games. That is just unacceptable.
>Instant analysis of Bears' 34-14 loss vs. Rams in Week 1> Bears vs. Rams game recap: Everything we know about Chicago's Week 1 loss> People are begging to see more of Bears rookie Justin Fields following debut> Bears rookie Justin Fields completes first NFL pass, then Andy Dalton tosses INT in end zone> Bears finally realized how to use Justin Fields in red zone, and he scored his first NFL touchdown> The Bears lose both left tackles -- Jason Peters and Larry Borom -- in loss to Rams> David Montgomery was on fire in 1st half, scored Bears first TD vs. Rams> Akiem Hicks, Robert Quinn record Bears' first sack of the season vs. Rams
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